The greatest part of being an adult is that you get to define who you are. That’s your domain, your choice, and yours alone. Rest and revel in your authenticity. It’s all yours. Happy weekend.
I love this quote by Jon Acuff.
I made a list of all the good things that happen to you when you compare yourself to others.
The world is lucky to have you, just as you are. Be you.
My unfailing honesty and integrity has cost me a lot of potential paychecks over the years, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Our world and our companies needs more authenticity, less BS. I’m doing my part during this interview process, not only for my benefit but for the benefit of these companies and organizations whose time and talent I respect and admire. The fit has to be mutual between a company and a candidate, and the only way to get there is through trust. We build that trust by being upfront and truthful from the very beginning of the interview process. Let’s drop the gloss, and get down to business with grace and dignity. The world needs all of us to be in the right roles and at the right companies that help us to live our best lives. Anything else is a waste of time.
“She remembered who she was and the game changed.” ~Lalah Deliah
Don’t try to fit in. Focus on who you are at your core. Not who the world wants you to be, who your family and friends expect, or who you think you need to be.Put away all the titles and degrees you’ve earned. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Remember who you are. You are enough, just as you are, right now. You don’t need to change anything about yourself to change everything around you. Crawl inside your own authenticity and then live it out loud.
Yesterday I turned down an opportunity for a new job. A great job. A job with a wonderful mission that matches my skill sets and would be the next step on the technology-based product development path I’ve been on for almost a decade. I’ve now done this several times in the past month.
“Why?” you might be asking. The opportunities were great, but not great for me. Sometimes the culture wasn’t right. Other times the team wasn’t right. Often the communication wasn’t right, or non-existent. And most importantly, that path isn’t the one I want to be on anymore. It’s been a great decade. I’ve learned a ton, so much more than I ever thought I’d learn when I started down this road. I’m glad I took this journey, and I’m glad it’s over. Like a good long hike, my body’s tired but my mind is clear and my heart is full. The view is spectacular, and now I’m ready to take another road on another adventure.
That adventure has to be heavily focused on writing, communication, and relationship-building. It has to take full advantage of the business skills I’ve spent a considerable amount of time and money to hone. It has to be brimming with creativity and the mission of the work has to be to build a better world. I think that these kinds of opportunities will be with a socially driven for-profit company or a nonprofit. And as far as location, I’m looking at New York, Philadelphia, and D.C. I’ve spent my life in this Northeast Amtrak corridor. I’ve gone to school here. The majority of my close friends and contacts are in and around those cities. Nearly all of my past employers are based here. I am by all accounts an east coaster, and proud of it. I’m a New Yorker at heart, and I always will be. Once you know exactly who you, you can’t be anyone else. Authenticity and integrity are everything.
I talked to my friend, Chris, yesterday. We talked about how important it is to align who we are with what we do as the key criteria to a happy career. You can only play a role for so long. Eventually, you walk off the stage, you take off the costume and the makeup, and all you’re left with is the person in the mirror. Bare-faced—scars, imperfections, and all. Now that’s the person I listen to. The heart and the gut I follow belong to her. And her time is now. So is yours.
“The price we pay for being who we are is worth it.” ~Eartha Kitt
What does it take to be who we are? Integrity, courage, and confidence come to mind. There’s a dash of faith tucked in there with a hefty dose of honesty. The price we pay for all of this can be steep. Not everyone will like who we are. Not everyone will appreciate what we have to offer. Not everyone will accept us. But consider this: what’s the price we pay for pretending to be someone we aren’t? We live a life that’s less than what’s meant for us, and we deserve better than that. It’s not always easy to be exactly who we are, but it sure beats being someone else.
“The secret to beauty is simple: ‘Be who you are.'” ~Bobbi Brown
This week I’ve been laser-focused on projects that light me up. I’m following my passions and curiosity in many directions. People keep saying to me, “Christa, you sound great. You look great. What’s going on with you?” Friends, it’s about happiness and empowerment. It’s about confidently standing in our own light and allowing ourselves to really be seen and heard. Now is always the time to be exactly, completely, authentically, and unapologetically who we are.
“She woke up every morning with the option of being anyone she wished. How beautiful it was that she always chose herself.” ~Tyler Kent White
There is something so beautiful about people who choose authenticity, who are exactly who they are in every setting, with every person, every time. It feels good to be with these people. They make us want to live out loud.
As you go through life, I hope you find these people, hold them close, and let yourself follow their example. Be who you are. Life is too short and too precious to waste your time trying to be anyone else. And the world needs you, exactly as you are, right now. Surround yourself with people and in settings that appreciate everything that you are and everything that you have to offer. Don’t settle for anything less.
Yesterday I came across one of those clickbait articles about Robin Williams. I rarely read those kinds of pieces, but Robin Williams remains my favorite actor of all-time so I decided to read it. It said:
“When auditioning for the role of Mork, Robin Williams reportedly sat on his head in the interview when they asked him to sit down. The producers immediately hired him because ‘he was the only alien who auditioned.’ ”
So often we’re trying to fit in to a job, a relationship, a community. We don’t show our whole selves at first because we want to test the waters. Is it safe to be weird? Is it safe to be who we are? Am I what they’re looking for?
This story about Robin Williams made me think that maybe we’re doing ourselves a disservice by reeling ourselves in. Maybe we should be exactly who we are right from the outset. And if that means we don’t fit in, then so be it. Authenticity is what matters. And not fitting in can be a wonderful stroke of luck because it encourages us to move on and find our pack.
Let’s not be afraid to be our wonderfully weird selves. Let it all hang out.
“I think the reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself.” ~Rita Mae Brown
This morning I had to send a brutally honest note to someone. It wasn’t rude, but it was direct, clear, and concise. Someone has been trying to push me into doing something I absolutely don’t want to do. I thought about just going along with it for a while, to save any drama and to avoid making anyone else uncomfortable despite my extreme discomfort with the situation for the past few months.
Then my friend, Amanda, posted the quote above and I realized I couldn’t conform against my own authenticity. So I sent the note, and never looked back. I have no idea how it will be received, and that’s not my concern. I can only do things and go places with my whole heart. Anything else is just phony.
And here’s what I learned in writing that note: it’s always possible to be both professional and honest, respectful and strong, dignified and clear. You can’t be worried about burning a bridge that isn’t even there. Sometimes you’ve got to disappoint others to be true to yourself.