Same old, same old…

July 22, 2019

Do you ever feel like you’re in a rut… that each day is just like the last – same old, same old? Are your routines and habits starting to feel like prisons that keep you from experiencing new things – same old, same old? Maybe it’s preconceived notions or even prejudices that keep you from meeting new and different people – same old, same old. Maybe you are locked into an unsatisfying job, or personal relationship and don’t see any way out – same old, same old.

worried1At the root of all of those scenarios may be the same cause – lack of self-confidence. Perhaps the reason that the walls of the rut that you feel you are in are so dauntingly tall is that you lack the confidence in yourself to overcome those obstacles and experience new things. Confidence can be a fleeting thing and it came be influenced by others. Vince Lombardi said – “Confidence is contagious.  So is lack of confidence.”

Perhaps you caught your lack of confidence by being around others who were not confident in themselves – siblings or friends.  Maybe you were told as a child that you would never amount to anything or that you looked funny and you believe it because itbully.png was coming from a parent or other adult. Maybe you were bullied and never overcame that fear. It could be that you were not encouraged to try again when you failed at something as a child. Whatever the reason, if you now find yourself stuck in a rut and you really want to find a way out and take a different path in life; maybe it’s time to find your confidence.

The foundation upon which confidence is built is self-love. I’ve posted here a few times about loving yourself before you can love others (see Look within first). The same thoughts that I posted about being able to love others by first loving yourself apply to this-is-mebuilding self-confidence. You can’t be confident in yourself if you don’t like yourself. When I was in Corporate life I took a transactional relationships  course called  “I’m OK, You’re OK” which was based upon the work of Anthony Thomas Harris in his book of the same name. The course taught one how to analyze any social interaction from the perspective on understand where you are coming from and where the other person is coming from. One precept of the course was identifying and accepting yourself and your starting point of view. I would add that you not only need to accept who you are, but also love who you are.

The key to accepting and loving yourself is first to accept the love of God. If you believegods-hands-2 that God loves your and accepts you as you are, nothing else matters. God’s love for you provides the foundation upon which you can base your love for yourself and your confidence in yourself. After all, we read in Romans 8:31 – “If God is with us, who can be against us?” How confidence building is that?

In 1945, Gen. Robert Lee Scott Jr. wrote a book that was later made into a movie titled – God Is My Co-Pilot.  Maybe that is a good way to build confidence in yourself, knowing that God right there with you. Make God your co-pilot and you’ll never lack for confidence. Does that means that we will win or succeed every time? No; but, it does mean that God will give us the self-confidence and strength to persevere and keep trying. It does mean that God still loves us, even if we fail.

woman-prayingTo close the circle on this post; you can get out of the same old, same old ruts that you may find yourself in; but first, you must find your self-confidence. A good place to look for that is in prayer. You may find that like the Lion and the Scarecrow and the Tin Man in the Wizard of OZ, you had it in you all the while; you just needed God’s love to let it out.

Have a self-confident day! Who can be against you?

Find God and find yourself…

October 13, 2017

A recent post to the Jack’s Winning words blog posed this question – “If I am what I have, and I lose what I have, who then am I?”  (Eric Fromm)

If you’ve watched the news lately there have been many examples of people losing everything, whether it was to hurricanes in the Caribbean or earthquakes in Mexico orfire burning home fires in California. There were scenes on the nightly news of people returning to their homes only to find that they no longer existed. More than one was heard saying, “I’ve lost everything.” Many were also heard thanking God that they had been spared their lives.

Some people seem to base their identities largely on what they have accumulated in life – their possessions. Others, especially men, express their identities through their jobs and what they have achieved at work. In either case, life can throw curves at us that take away either or both. Most people eventually gather themselves up and realize that they can replace or rebuild most things that have been lost and start new careers if necessary. They are forced into the realization that life itself is the most important thing and the lives of those that we love. In some catastrophes even the lives of those we love may have been lost. Even in those darkest of hours, most eventually find strength within themselves to go on.

this-is-meIt is important, as I have expressed here a few times, that you have a strong sense of self and that you love who and what you are; not letting your sense of self-worth be based upon possessions or job.  That’s not to say that you should become self-centered; but, rather, that you become self-confident. If your self-examination of who and what you have become leaves something to be desired, then you have something to work upon and not something to be depressed about. Since no one is perfect, you are always on a self-improvement journey to be the best you that you can be (see my post – see my post Don’t give up the chase…).

Perhaps a good way to start each day is with a little personal assessment about where you are in life and what things you might do today to get to where you want to be. It is also a good idea to acknowledge God’s role in your life and to ask for his help in prayer. Iman praying can’t think of a better way to start the day than being square with yourself and with God. Bring it on, world! I know who I am and where I’m headed and I’ve got God in my corner. Talk about self-confidence as you face the day.

Have a great and self-confident day. God’s got your back.

First of all be happy with yourself…

March 15, 2017

“Your value does not decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth.”  (Unknown), as seen so time ago on the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

We have become too much of a “See me” and “Like me” society, always seeking the couple-looking-at-phonesopinions and approval of others to validate ourselves. The self-promotion of many social media sites supports that need to be seen and to receive approval from others. We’ve even become comfortable with asking people to “Like me” on Facebook or elsewhere. We keep score by how many “Likes” we get. Yet none of that really makes a difference if you do not like yourself or your life.

Happiness with one’s life and with one’s self starts with accepting who and what you are and finding some level of peace with you circumstances. That might be very hard for someone who is starving or cold or lonely; however, somewhere, deep within them there is the recognition that at least they are still alive and able to hope and strive for a better tomorrow. Most of us never get to that state where just being alive is all that we can be man prayingthankful for; but, many of us don’t take the time to really think about all that we have and have been given and thank God for what we have, much less thank Him for who we are. God made each of us unique, each with talents and abilities that please Him in some way. He sees our value, so who else really matters? You don’t have to pray to God “See me; Like me”; He already does.

If you can accept that God sees your worth as a human being, the next step is not to seek the approval of others; but, rather, to help others accept that same message and to become happy with who they are, too. You’ll be able to do that because those who develop a good sense of self-worth also develop self-confidence.  Jack Welch said this about self-confidence –

“Giving people Self-Confidence is by far the most important thing that I can do, because then they will ACT.”

God will give you the self-confidence to act, to share your story and to help others find caringself-worth through their belief in God. Instead of wandering through life asking others to “See me; Like me”, you will be able to seek out others to say, “I see you and I like you; you have worth to God”. All of this will happen when you have come to peace with who you are and see the value in your life as your ability to serve God by helping others.

Being at peace with yourself starts by resisting the tendency to measure yourself and your circumstances in life against others and what they have. You are not them and you may never have all of the things that they have. Even if you did have those things, do you really think that would make you happy? Rather, focus upon being the best you that you can be. I jesus-as-lightwrote about that in my post of February 16 – Be the best you that you in existence… and again just two days ago in Be the person that you would like to be. If you can stop worrying about what other think and start acting upon the mission that God has given you to spread the Good News, you will be much happier with your sense of self-worth. After all, one “Like” from God is worth more than thousands of “Likes” on Facebook.

Have a great, worthy and self-confident day! Like yourself first.

Get started, already…the rest will take care of itself.

October 18, 2016

For many people, especially young people or people just starting a new career, the fear that they don’t know enough holds them back, even to the point of paralysis. That is restless sleepparticularly true ion the real estate business than I’m in. It is a fear of getting into a situation with which they are unfamiliar or being asked a question by a client that they don’t know the answer to that causes them to delay seeking or taking on clients.

I recently read an article sent to me by the manager of our local real estate office – Successful people start before they feel ready – by James Clark. It told the story of a young man who dropped out of school and started his first venture – a magazine for local college students. The story when on to chronical how he added a mail order record business, then opened a record store and eventually a record label. Over the next 50 years he went on to start or buy over 400 companies and today is a billionaire. That young man, who just kept pushing into new ventures, whether he felt ready or not, is Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin brand and owner of companies in the music, airline, train and mobile phone businesses, among others. Read the whole article here.

It seems that these successful people do not let fear of the unknown stop them from trying in business or in life. Branson is also a daredevil adventurer. I suspect that they actually thrive on the adrenaline that far brings with it, trusting in their own abilities to overcome adversity. They likely do not fear failure either, since they know that they will learn from boy-jumping-into-lakeeach failure.

Not all of us are adrenaline junkies, but all of us can be more successful in life by heeding the advice not to let our concerns (fear) that we don’t know enough to even attempt something new. I offer two pieces of advice that I gleaned from my favorite source, the Jack’s Winning Words blog and saved for just such a post.

“You know more than you think you do.”  (Benjamin Spock)

“Do not be afraid…for the Lord will be with you wherever you go.”  (Joshua 1:9)

Benjamin Spock wrote the definitive book for new parents – Baby and Child Care. His advice has been followed for decades and one aspect of it was that parents actually know more about caring for their children that they think they do. Some of it is common sense, which is also a big aspect of dealing with anything new. The other skill that most people have, at least to some degree, is the ability to problem solve. In any new venture, set-backs should not be looked at as failures; but, rather, as problems to be solved. Know that you will hit roadblocks or questions that you have not encountered before and be prepared to use your problem solving skills.

The second saying is from the Bible and should be the rock upon which you build your self-helping handsesteem and confidence when approaching new things. If you start with the thought in mind that the Lord will not abandon you in tough situations and will give you the strength to find solutions to the problems that you encounter, how can you go wrong? With that in mind, the second most important thing is to be unafraid of saying, “I don’t know, but I know where to go to find out.” Saying, “I don’t know” does not label you and a failure, so long as you demonstrate confidence that you can and will deal with the situation or question. Tossing off a wrong answer or lying to appear to be knowledgeable will get you into more hot water than an honest, “I don’t know.” Clients will not abandon you for that honest answer, so long as you follow up with the answer, once you have found it.

So, maybe before you start each day in a new job, or in the midst of new experiences, you should pause and say a little prayer like, “Stick with me today God and help me work my way through whatever I encounter.” Then you can walk out the door feeling confident that God is with your and that you are ready to take on the unknown.  You are already ahead of the game because you got started.

Have a great and successful week ahead. Just remember God is with you wherever you go.

Where is your happy place? Do you remember how to get there?

January 20, 2016

From the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes this little piece of advice – “You gotta go to that happy place in your mind and remember–everything’s gonna be all right.”  (Daniel Schetter)  Daniel is that man who continues to surf the waves of Lake Superior all winter long, even with ice on his whiskers.  He believes that cold is all in the mind; so, when he’s surfing the Great Lakes in freezing weather he heads to his happy place and isn’t cold anymore (at least in his mind). He did admit to suffering bouts of hypothermia, but he was still happy.

I read that story in the paper recently, too. I had a tough time imagining being able to get to a place that was happy and warm while surfing in the Great Lakes in winter with ice on my face; but the advice applies well to everyday life. We all face adversities or situations single momthat are not of our own making. How we react to them and our ability to go to our happy place in times of stress or pain determines how well we make it through those times.

The basis for many of the meditative-based religions or beliefs of the world is the concept of being able to get to that happy place and control our bodies and our reactions to things through our minds. It is also a tenet of hypnosis that we have the ability to block out pain with our minds. I’ve been hypnotized at a dentist’s office once and it did work to block the pain of his work on my teeth. I certainly believe that practices like yoga and meditation work to relieve tension and stress.

listening toi musicA key thing that both yoga and meditation focus upon is helping you find a way back to your happy place, so that you can let go of the stress and let your body’s natural ability to heal itself make you well again. Of course there are lots of other things involved, but being able to get to that happy place is central to both. It is also a key to a happy and healthy life, whether you practice those disciplines or not.

So where is your happy place and do you remember how to get there? As children it was easy to get to that place, usually through play. As we matured and “learned” to be adults, we wandered away (or were pulled away) from that place and found it harder and harder to get back to it. We were taught not to waste our time in idle thoughts of happiness, but to “keep our noses to the grindstone”,” be serious” and “get it done”. There was no time allotted for seeking to return to your happy place. Some turn to alcohol or drugs in the false belief that getting a buzz on or getting high is equivalent to getting to their happy place. Both are false and actually add to the stress that they were trying to find relief for in the first place.

How do find you way back to your happy place? You might try yoga or mediation classes ormeditation even seek out a good hypnotherapist. Talk with the instructor/therapist and let them know that you are there to try to recapture the ability to put aside the day’s stresses and get to that place that gives you peace. They will understand. Then, focus upon the process that they take you through to relax and let go and begin your search for that happy place that is still there, somewhere in the deep recesses of your mind. You knew it as a child and you can find it again. When you do find it; you will know that “everything’s gonna be alright”.

For some people, their happy place is a spiritual place, a place that they reach through prayer. They can start each day with a prayer and that means that they start in their happy place, before the day even gets underway. The nice thing for them is that they can pray anywhere and anytime, without even being noticed. It’s all done in their minds, as is the journey to their happy place. For some of these people it is possible to live all day long in their happy place. You know that you have met people like that, because you cannot figure smiling womanout why they always seem so calm and happy. They are at peace with God and themselves and that is a happy place to be, indeed.

An interesting by-product of making the effort to get to your happy place in times of stress is that it tends to stop whatever was going on in you r mind, because you are focusing on trying to find that place of peace. Just making the effort is a big help in coping with the day-to-day stresses of life. Sometimes we don’t have time to make the full journey back and sometimes we may not be in situations or settings where going through our whole routine (perhaps with eyes closed or in a yoga position of some sort) is possible. In those times, just the mental pause that starts the process may be enough to relieve the pressure.

You can make a mental note to go all the way there when you get home, but for the moment, just realize that you have loosened the grip of stress or panic and can go on with what you need to do in a more relaxed and confident manner. You know that your happy happinessplace is out there waiting for you and you know that you can get back to it when you want to – and that’s a good thing …a happy thing.

So, take a moment before you start each day and try to get back to your happy place, so that you carry a fresh memory of it in your mind throughout the day. Then, when stress or turmoil hits it won’t be that guard to see your way back to it for a quick refreshing dose of happiness.

Have a great and happy rest of the week.

Trying to be cool isn’t cool…

June 4, 2015

As I’ve gotten older I’ve become a lot more aware and a little bit more comfortable with the fact that I will never be “cool” in the old sense of that word. I’m neither a fashion setter nor even trendy and I’ve gotten comfortable with that too. smiling manWhile I associate with quite a few younger people in my day-today life, I also realize that they have completely different tastes and, even if I wanted to, trying to “hang with them” isn’t really going to make me cool either.

It needn’t take a lifetime to realize that trying to emulate someone else or compromising your own values to try to fit in with a different group of people is a waste of your time. You need to become comfortable with who you are and stay true to that, no matter who you choose to hang with from time to time. Steve Jobs put it well when he said,

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

 The funny thing is that most of the people who are living the life that you are trying to emulate are following Steve’s advice. You may see them as leaders or just as cool people, but most of them just see themselves as normal people who are pursuing their dreams.

exclusionIt’s true that you will hit little cliques of people (usually younger and many times in school) who have all adopted some set of characteristics, like dressing a certain way or talking a certain way; however, they aren’t really cool. Quite the opposite; they are so insecure and unsure of themselves that they have sought refuge in their charade of being cool. The fact that they band together and often make a show of excluding others is actually proof of how insecure they are about themselves. They almost always quickly become caricatures of the cool people that they think they are portraying.

So, if being “one of them” isn’t cool, what is?  Maybe you should try “being the only one of me” instead. Like yourself first andConfidence isothers will like you, too. Be happy with who you are, with your unique talents and outlook on life. Create your own “style”. Wear what appeals to you, not necessarily what “everyone else” is wearing. Do the things that interest you and don’t worry about “what everyone else is doing.” Hang around a variety of people and try to learn from each person or group. Make decisions based upon your own moral compass, not based upon what everybody else is doing.

Finally, don’t try to be cool. Coolness comes from self-confidence not from being a follower. You might be surprised that others are attracted to you, just because you are content just being yourself.

Follow your heart. That’s cool. Have a great day.

Don’t fear success…

February 16, 2015

“Most people we encounter fear success, not failure” – Brian Buffini – from a post on Inman News.

Brian is founder and chairman of Buffini & Company, a life coaching company. It seems counter intuitive that people might fear success more than failure, but Brian went on to make some points about people not doing what they know they need to do afraidin order to be successful. It’s not necessarily that they are lazy or don’t want to succeed, but rather that success to them actually represents the great unknown in a world of failures that they’ve come to know and embrace. For some it’s a matter of not having anyone to hold them accountable for achieving the things that they claim that they want to achieve; which is, of course, where a life coach comes in handy.

As perverse as it sounds, people who fear success might go into situations expecting failure and welcome it as the outcome because they’ve become comfortable with failure. They take the attitude of, “I know I won’t win”, at the start, so the end is pre-ordained and is usually the outcome. That allows them to wallow in the misery that eeorethey had anticipated to begin with. Do you know people like that? They are the eeores of life. Perhaps, in their cases they have attached this tail of constant woe and failure to their own backsides with an emotional pushpin, sort of like eeore’s tail is attached to his rear.

(Ed. – for those unfamiliar with eeore, click here for more on this Disney character in the Winnie the Pooh stories.)

As we start a new week, are you setting off in search of victories and success or do you begin the week sure that it will bring nothing but five more days of failure?  Do not fear success and do not embrace failure as your fate in life.  Rather look at your successes as grand new adventures, taking you places that you’ve never been before. After all, you’ve seen enough of failure, so there must be a better view from somewhere else.

Success can come in many forms from the many experiences that we might have in everyday life. We might start a successful new relationship with someone by simply saying “Hi, how are you” to them, instead of lowering your heading and hurrying by them. You might have a satisfying success during the week by offering to help someonecaregiver with something. It could be something small; like holding a door open for a person behind you that has their hands full or combing the hair of someone no longer able to care for their self. Maybe success will come in the form of making a great presentation at work or doing really well on a test at school. When those successes occur, embrace them and get used to how they make you feel. That good feeling can be yours more often if you approach everything with success in mind, instead of the fear (or expectation) of failure.

Remember the childhood story of the Little Train that Could. He didn’t succeed by littel train that couldapproaching the hill saying, “I know I can’t, I know I can’t.” You need to approach the ups and down in your life with the same philosophy as that little train – “I think I can, I think I can.” After a while that will change to, “I know I can, I know I can” and then a reassuring reflection of “I knew I could, I knew I could.”  I’ve written here before about believing in yourself – see First Believe in Yourself. If you can get there, then you will not fear success, you will expect it of yourself. See; I knew you could, I knew you could.

Have a great and successful week ahead.

Be the best you that you can be…

January 28, 2015

No, this isn’t a commercial for the Army. For whatever reason I recently started thinking about what Dr. Seuss might have said about trying to be the best that you can be in life. Perhaps it would have sounded like this – “I’m trying hard to do good things you see, ‘cause I want to be the very best me.  I’m no longer trying to be like you and I’m through acting like others, too. Giving that up, now I am free, to work real hard on being the very best me.”

Well it turns out that I’ve written about this topic before and used an actual Dr. Seuss quote – see . That’s OK, I’ve got more to say on the topic.

you aint meWe all have the tendency to spend way too much time trying to be something we’re not in the belief that it will help us “fit in”; instead of focusing on being the best at who we really are. Much of that behavior is caused by a lack of self- confidence or, put another way, because we just don’t like ourselves. I’ve written here a few times about topics like being yourself and learning to like yourself enough to enjoy moments alone. It is important that you get comfortable with who you are and what you bring to things in life. As you try to do that, through self-reflection; you might conclude that there are some things that you need to work on and that’s OK, too. Devise a plan to work on them and set out to make yourself even better and more likable (at least to you). It usually works out that when you like what you see in yourself others will like it to.

One of the side benefits of getting to that comfort zone with yourself is that your confidence in who you are will come out in your everyday interactions with others. Being self-confident, without becoming self-centered or a narcissist, provides you with an aura that believeothers will sense and find reassuring. Leaders are not those who exhibit lots of self-doubt and second guessing of themselves; but you don’t have to be a leader to exude self-confidence, you just have to accept and like yourself for who your are and go from there. Sometimes that starts by stopping something else – beating yourself up over things that go wrong.  Don’t kick yourself when you’re down; instead pick yourself up, try to learn from whatever just happened and move on in a positive way.

So off you go to be the best you that you can be, confident in your assessment that there’s no one else exactly like me. And, that a good thing and undoubtedly true, as Dr. Seuss mewould say, “there’s no one you’er than you.”  Now you know, that, the truth be told, being timid isn’t nearly as much fun as it is be bold; get out there and jump in and help the world to see that the thing they were missing was “someone like me.” Let the world know that you can sing, you can dance, you can draw, you can write and you’ll no longer be held back by doubts or by fright. It’s time to come out from behind the curtain made up of your fears and doubts of that I am certain. So, you be you and I’ll be me and let’s try to both be the best that we can be.

Have a great week ahead and I hope that we meet, because knowing someone like you would really be sweet.

Just be yourself…

November 9, 2014

As a rule I don’t listen to much music anymore. I have lots of it from my past interest in it and I have an iPhone and an iPad and iWhatever’s that I might need to download and listen; but I have other things that are more interesting to do and which take up my time. Listening is unavoidable at the gym that I visit every morning, since music is constantly on in the background. On Zumba days at the gym and on days when there is a group exercise class going on the music is an integral part of the sessions, providing the past-paced beat for the classes.

So, this morning I was going through my workout routine at the gym when a song came on in the background that caught my attention, mainly for its message. It is Joey McIntyre’s song “Stay the same.” The song resonated because that is topic that I have written about in the past, or at least I’ve written about being yourself and liking yourself ( see my three little words post on I like me or the post on “First believe in yourself”). In this song Joey sings about staying the same and not trying to change yourself; but, rather liking who you are.

look in mirorThe journey from childhood to adulthood sometimes takes a tortuous path through the badlands of self-doubt, self-denigration and sometimes self-destruction as developing youth struggle with finding their identity and being happy with what they find. We are surrounded by media images of perfection – the perfect face, the perfect hair and perfect bodies – so, it’s no wonder that many impressionable young minds come to the conclusion that they are not perfect and need to change something, maybe everything. They become enamored with the surface, with what they can see in the mirror, not what other “see” in them.

It is perhaps one of life’s greatest lessons to learn how to “see” beyond the superficial surface in people and find the true beauty of the person within. Equally important is learning how to be comfortable and confident with your own inner person and finding ways to let that part of you shine through. You can easily recognize people who have mastered that life lesson because of their smiles. Confident people often smile, not just because they are happy, but also because they are happy with themselves and they are unafraid of what others might think. It’s not that they don’t care what you think about them; it’s that what you think about them is not going to define them. They do not need your approval to be comfortable with who and what they are. They may seek your friendship; but, not because they need you to validate them.

Many struggle with establishing their own identity during those formative years. Some choose to run with a crowd full of people that they can emulate. The members of their crowd may dress alike, talk alike and act alike. Sometimes that is a at the gymbad thing, if the crowd becomes a bullying clique at school or elsewhere. Sometimes youth become fan-atics, following a particular performer or star in ways that can become obsessive. They may dress like their idol and change their appearance to look more like them, too. Fortunately most youth grow out of both of those options and eventually find their own identity. Somewhere in that transition is where they learn to like themselves, to accept what they look like, sound like and act like.

Both boys and girls (and many adults) may still go through a period of acting or disguising themselves to some extent while they are dating. They may take weight off, learn to make themselves up a bit more, dress a bit nicer, act a bit nicer, go to places that they would not normally frequent and perhaps do things that they would not normally do, all in search of the perfect mate. This is another phase in which just being yourself is actually the better strategy. Too many marriages later dissolve because the charade is dropped after marriage and one or both partners feel somehow cheated with what they are left with, especially if things progressed very fast and the opportunities weren’t taken to reveal the underlying people that were there all along. Marriage is a bond and commitment which should be made between two people who both “see” the other person for who they really are and love that person that they “see.”

accept me as I am So go listen to the song “Stay the same” and then get comfortable and confident with who and what you are. Learn to like yourself. Learn to love having time alone with just you. It will make it much easier to lile or love others.

Have a great week ahead!

Just be you…

September 25, 2014

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”  (Steve Jobs)

I was torn between a few topics that I wanted to comment upon, but this little quote from Steve Jobs kept coming back to haunt me. Obviously Jobs was a person who never lived anything but his own life; but how does this apply to the rest of us?

I think all too often we may become hung up on emulating someone else or trying to be like someone else, mainly people that we thing are cool at the time. We want to be accepted and sometimes we think that this means being like others in the cool, “in” crowd that we so covet being a part of. How sad that we abandon friends at schoolwho we really are trying to live the life of someone else. Of course, we can never succeed at that and it may, in fact, brand us as a loser – a hanger-on who has no life of their own.

It’s better, I think, to spend more time getting in touch with who you really are and finding ways to express that confidently. If that doesn’t fit in with that “in” crowd, then maybe you weren’t meant to be a part of that scene. You have to find your own crowd, one that more closely reflects your interests and in which you are much more likely to be comfortable. Maybe you weren’t meant to be in the jock crowd; but, rather, fit better in the artsy crowd. Maybe you don’t fit in a crowd at all and need to find your own way. Take heart that you are not alone; you just haven’t found your fellow travelers yet. You may even find that there are people who envy you because you don’t run with the crowd.

Sometimes the very young get so hung up on trying to emulate someone else that they end up changing their appearance to try to look like that person. The may dress like them or change tier hair to a style that looks the same as their dream person or maybe they fantasize about becoming a big star. Ironically many of the so-called big stars fantasize about being able to be anonymous again, like they used to be before they became famous. They’d like to be like you!

Steve Jobs lived his own life on his own terms and changed the world a bit through his leadership and influence within Apple. Now Apple has become identified with Tim Cook, Jobs’ protégé and successor. Tim has not tried to live his life like Steve Jobs. He acknowledges and appreciates the work that Jobs did and
happy womanthe mentorship that he provided, but he is taking Apple off on a new direction that is of his making and not that of Steve Jobs. Somehow I think Jobs would approve of that.

Another lesson that I think follows from the Jobs quote, is not to live your life for the approval of others. When we are young we all seek the approval of others – our parents, our teachers and our peers. As we get older it is important to start living our lives for ourselves; doing things that we want to do and not just to win the approval of others. In fact, we may find a mission in our lives to do things not for the approval of others but for the betterment of others. Instead of waiting for them to say, “you did good”; maybe just hearing them say, “Thank you” for what you did will be reward enough. That is not wasting your time, it is spending it wisely.

So, instead of spending time wondering what someone else is doing or would do, get out and start being yourself. Make being you your full time job, not trying to emulate someone else. Enter a room not seeking the approval of someone else or trying to be like someone else; but, rather, seeking to share with others who you are and what you bring into the conversation. Displaying confidence in who and what you are can be one of the most powerful and attractive things that you can do. It’s not egotistical or self-centered, it’s self-confidence. It is saying to the world, man relaxing“Here I am; take me as I am; because, I’m not trying to be someone or something that I’m not.” You may be surprised that some in the room will start to gravitate to you and try to emulate you. They are people who haven’t yet figured out how to be comfortable just being themselves. Maybe you can help them just be themselves. After all, there’s already someone who is busy being you.