My reflection into Ownership and Leveling up seems to have turned itself into a proto-epiphany. While I am a great fan of epiphanies, they seldom seem to come directly out of mid-air but work their way through a longer thought process. We seem to be well into that process.
As I was going through my work today, I realized (halfway into the afternoon or so) that I was having what was, for me, a pretty good day: I was in a good mood, I was making up song lyrics, I was cracking really bad puns, I was being able to give useful advice. On the whole, this is not every workday I have. And it got me thinking - thinking about how I act at work.
My behavior at work, oddly enough, is largely controlled by an incident that happened 15 years ago when a manager whom I respected a great deal told me, after he had noticed me jumping up and down and waving trying to get someone's attention inside a manufacturing facility, that although how one acted should not affect how one is perceived and thus promoted, the simple fact was that it did. And so began a long period of acting at work the way I thought people in my profession should act, which would generally be "professionally" and (frankly) boring.
I suppose I did not think about it for a long time until about two years ago, when I took a personality quiz by Sally Hogshead (www.howtofascinate.com) which related personality types to personal and personnel interactions. What did I get?
Bold. Artistic. Unorthodox. This, supposedly, is my way of being.
And you know what? It kind of is. No, I do not actually have a rock band nor have I ever had one, but I am kind of this way. My personality, especially for my industry, is unorthodox. I am artistic - and, in my own way, bold.
And you know what? I am happiest when I am that way.
Which brought me to the next level of this proto-epiphany: Being The Authentic You.
I am happiest when I am authentic, when what I am and what I appear to be by my actions are as close as possible. When I am being The Authentic Me, even a bad situation can be made better simply by the fact that I am living and acting as myself. Likewise, a mediocre situation can be made much worse by having to act as other than I am.
As I pondered this thought, I came to realize that this is a key concept. Being yourself authentically - making the inner you and outer you match as closely as possible - is one of the ways that things get done, because if we do not feel truly like ourselves we will never be totally invested in what we are doing. Instead, we will be playing role of someone that other people want us to be, working to accomplish things not in the way we would do them but rather how others want them done.
The truly successful people I know - and money does not equal success in every circumstance, just as a reminder - are exactly this way. They simply are themselves in the midst of the situations they find themselves in instead of conforming themselves to the situation. And more often than not, it seems that they are able to bend the light around them such that they can be themselves without having to compromise while accomplishing all that they need to do.
Mark it: Being The Authentic You means the difference between success and failure in a great many situations. The questions then are two: Do you know the authentic you, and are you being that person?