That is how I feel whenever I am writing. I have always enjoyed, no LOVED, to write, and it wasn’t until a few years ago that I started to make more time to do so. And when I did, I realized how much I missed the creativity and thought that goes into choosing just the right word or capturing my ideas in written form. I am a writer. I always have been.
But I also love math and science and engineering and accounting (don’t ask!). I am a contradiction in so many ways. But aren’t we all?…
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned since becoming my own boss is that I need to honor who I am. Most of us don’t do that. I still struggle to do it from time to time. We waste years of our lives trying to work on our (perceived) deficiencies or force ourselves to do things we hate or beat ourselves up for struggling with certain things. And we are told over and over again that working harder, not necessarily smarter, is the way to succeed.
Culturally and socially, we are rarely encouraged to focus on what we do well, only told to work on what we don’t do well. How demoralizing and depressing is that? And what a horrible way to live.
What if instead, we accepted that we will never be good at ALL THE THINGS and just moved on? What if instead, we valued ourselves for what we ARE good at and worked on amplifying and leveraging our strengths? Doubling down on them even.
It sounds crazy to have to write these words, but what if we just accepted and honored who we are and let go of everything else? Wouldn’t we be happier – and more successful – if we made the most of what we have to offer instead of trying to make up for what we don’t?
I’m in a slightly more philosophical mood today, because writing my most recent series has reminded me of why it’s so important – and why it’s also so hard – to let go of doing everything ourselves. We are encouraged to see suffering and struggle in business and life as the way to earn success, but why is suffering and struggle a more valid experience than happiness and ease?
Why not be happy AND successful? Why not be successful BECAUSE we are happy?
I know it’s not always clear-cut, and we all have responsibilities and rules and pressures and financial realities to contend with. All I’m suggesting is that if we can do things a little bit easier, if we can spend more time leveraging our strengths, if we can try to design our lives to be a little truer to who we are, don’t we owe it to ourselves to do so?
It can be baby steps (for me, that means writing more and not forcing myself to run… I hate running!). You don’t have to quit your job or move to an ashram or become an ascetic or start to meditate 12 hours a day.
Live in the world in a way that makes sense for you. Delegate one thing that you hate doing at home (for me it is cooking) or in your business (for me it is social media). Stop thinking about topics that make you angry (for me this means ignoring the news). Find one way to exercise that brings you joy (for me it is doing chin ups and pilates) instead of following someone else’s plan.
Everything won’t suddenly be perfect and you won’t suddenly be pulled to new heights of success and fulfillment and self-actualization. But we can all take baby steps that compound over time and distance, and the more we do, and the more consistently we do it, the bigger the impact will be.
So what will you do more or less of to honor who you are?