What Does Being Yourself Mean to You?
Twenty years ago, David Whyte published a book titled The Heart Aroused, Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America. I happened to pull it off my bookshelf for the first time in years and found a passage about earning the respect of our peers by challenging us to “remember the simple character of our own voice.”
“Other people’s words may raise from our throats at the drop of a hat…excellence…total quality management…number one…but we struggle to remember the simple character of our own voice. It takes only a modicum of psychological savvy to admit that a corporate culture that constantly repeats the word excellence to itself must still have endless reservoirs of mediocrity on which to draw, and is deathly afraid of facing up to this fact. We open our mouths and too often utter the same phrases and opinions that might be said by a thousand other toilers in a thousand other companies.”
Another one of my favorite poets, e.e. cummings, offered these words on the subject:
“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.” He also wrote, “It takes courage to grow up and be who you really are.”
Conducting a quick search of the term, “Be Yourself,” I discovered a wealth of information that not only provides helpful personal and professional guidance, but also offers solid tips for finding your own voice. As I wrote in a recent LinkedIn post, being your authentic self as a leader may not be for everyone, but let’s hope it’s right for you!
I tend to agree with Judy Garland:
“Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.”
How about you?