So many of us spend much of our lives not allowing our true and full selves to come out. Sometimes, we do it because we are afraid of really going for it and trying to fulfill on our dreams for fear of failure. Oftentimes, we do this in an effort to connect with others thinking they might not like us if they find out who we really are. Does that seem as ridiculously silly to you as it does to me now that I’m writing it? Even if we succeed in achieving our goal of connecting, it isn’t really us who is in fact connecting with those others if we aren’t sharing our true selves.
I remember I used to love playing chess in high school. As you can imagine, that isn’t the first thing I shared about myself when I started making new friends in college. I probably haven’t even shared that with anyone for more than 20 years now! I may not have even played a good game of chess for that same period of time – and in no small part because chess isn’t “cool” according to many. Without thinking too hard about it, I would offer that chess could actually be the most intellectually stimulating and individually competitive game there is. I would further argue that many who disagree just don’t know how to play the game and are afraid of looking stupid if they try it. Isn’t that true of most things that people put you down for and pretend aren’t cool?
Well, I’ve realized a very important lesson time and time again over the past few years. When I try to be something that I’m not, I never seem to get what I want. My clients likely don’t trust me as a consultant, and even if they do I likely won’t be able to keep their trust as I’m not able to honor my commitments and deliver – which clearly isn’t what I want even if I do like selling those big projects initially.
Beyond that, I’ve lost some pretty special people in my life at times by holding back or not simply being me in these relationships. While I may lead a pretty blessed life and be very happy with where I am now, I am confident that many of these experiences in my past not only were not necessary but also didn’t get me what I really wanted for myself and my life.
In the moment, you may be able to get what you want – or at least what you think you want – by lying or withholding part of the truth from yourself and from others. In the long run though, you likely will not get what you want for yourself and your life, so why bother?
It just isn’t worth it! So if from now on you agree to just be you, I hereby promise to just be me.