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Individuality; Be Yourself

When I sat down this morning to write about my “next rule,” this one smacked me in the face! During the past week, I dealt with this at least five times. Not kidding. Me personally, at work, my daughter, a perfect stranger at the grocery store; the list just keeps going.

I know we say all the time to others – “Be yourself.” I know you parents out there have probably said something like, “Just because Susie does it, doesn’t mean you need to.” Or “If someone told you to jump off a bridge, would you do it? No? Then make your own smart decisions.”

Those are obvious situations, but what about the more subtle ones. What about when you worry, stress, struggle over adding that additional volunteer job to your already jammed pack schedule? You know that you just don’t have time, but you let others influence you and there goes the guilt trip and you reluctantly agree. BUT you just lost yourself by doing what others want you to be. You aren’t being true to yourself. You want to be a good member of society and you must remember that you are by doing the dozen other volunteer jobs! But you also want to be a good friend, mom, wife, etc. So stay true to those as well. Find the balance – YOUR balance.

Now think about your kids. My fourteen year old, who can barely do a cartwheel, has decided she wants to do tumbling and gymnastics. Why? Because she wants to try out for the JV cheer team next year for high school. My IMMEDIATE thought was to tell her, “There is no way you can learn to do a back handspring and standing tuck by next April! You have never even set foot on a tumbling mat!” And then I thought, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING????” I have a preconceived notion of where she should be today, in 8th grade, to make the high school squad next year. That’s wrong! I am telling her that she can’t. That what I think she should be is the right thing; not what she thinks and believes in herself.

Last week at the grocery store, I got a full, in-depth lecture on why I should not be buying 2% milk! WHAT???? First of all, I didn’t ask for your two cents and second, do you know my reasons for not buying soy milk? NO! Do my reasons even really matter? Do I need to justify my choices? Maybe, maybe not depending on the situation, but they are my choices and I live with them. I respect you for who you are and why you live the way you do. So, please don’t try to make me another you.

I tell you all of these examples because I want you to think about your employees, your family, your residents and prospects. Are you subconsciously trying to make them something they are not? Do you have options already established for them? Are you really drilling down and learning who they are and not what you think they are or should be? What about your employees? Have you asked them their goals and ideas? Or are you just assuming that where they are today is what they always want to do or be? Maybe you should take a few minutes to make sure you haven’t lost yourself to the opinions, guilt and recommendations of others.

Now I’m off to find a beginning tumbling class for teenagers!!! Until next week…


Written by Jenn Cox, COO at Bild & Company.

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