Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wanted: The Real You

In my line of work, I run into a lot of pretenders – people striving to impress or woo me by pretending to be that which they are not. 

They want to demonstrate, for a variety of reasons, that they are more successful in business than they really are, that they have more faith than they really do, that their relationships are stronger than they really are, that they have more belief in themselves than they really do, that they have Life “under control” more than they really do, that they like to collaborate and share credit more than they really do, etc.

Whew …. that’s a lot of pretending.  Living one Life well in today’s world takes a lot of effort.  Living two lives well is beyond most people’s ability to do marginally at best.

They project these false pretences in the hope that it will resonate with the things that matter to me or in the hope that I won’t be disappointed in them.

Unfortunately, I recognize this quickly and see right through them.

After all, there was a point in my Life when I was just like them, striving to impress people around me at any personal cost (and personal sacrifice).  It was a pretty painful, exhausting way to live until I discovered the power and freedom that came from being myself no matter what the world thought (or that I thought the world wanted). As noted in the Book of Romans:

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. – Romans 12:2a (NIV)

Unfortunately, living a life of phony projections tends to not get us anywhere but we do it anyway (and often repeatedly), even when our actions demonstrate our contradictory authentic self.

And because of this, we eventually get caught, like the guy in the following story.

A young businessman had just started his own firm.  He had just rented a beautiful office and had it furnished with antiques.

Sitting there, he saw a man come into the outer office.  Wishing to appear the hot shot, the businessman picked up the phone and started to pretend he had a big deal working.

He threw huge figures around and made giant commitments.  Finally he hung up and asked the visitor, "Can I help you?"

"Yeah, I've come to activate your phone lines."

When we pretend to be that which we are not, whether it is to impress someone, to fool someone (or ourselves), to deny something, to hide something or for any other reason, we are denying ourselves an opportunity to be the best that we can be because we are putting more effort into being someone else than into being ourselves.

Such false personas often run out of momentum pretty quickly since it takes a lot of effort to be someone else when being ourselves should come more naturally. 

When we deny ourselves an opportunity to be who we really are, we also deny others the opportunity to see the strengths, gifts and talents that we REALLY have.

And those strengths, gifts and talents are often far more amazing than the ones that we pretend to have or that we prefer to project.

We just need to believe it.

So it’s ok to be you.

In fact, it’s wonderful to be you.

The rest of us find the real you more amazing and more authentic than the fake you anyway. :-)

And you will find that when the energy used in projecting the false you is converted into passion to live the real you, there is no limit to what you can achieve for yourself and others.

In service and servanthood,


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