I received the nicest note the other day. I want to share it with you because I don’t agree with it.
I’ve been following you for a long time now and I can’t help but celebrate your drive. It’s massive! I’m indeed excited to have you as a connection and I would like to be like you (in every way). I can boldly say your professional lifestyle is worthy of emulation.
How did you plan your career journey and determine each step? Thank you so much.
I get it. This reader is paying me a huge compliment and I’m very grateful. But I’m also concerned. Because the goal shouldn’t be to be like me. Your goal should be to be yourself.
Each of us is unique. When I facilitate self-management training, I talk about how we’re the same and different at the same time. We’re all human. Some of us share qualities. Like if we took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) some of us might have the same type. (Mine is INTJ). But even if we’re both INTJ, we might probably definitely have unique likes, dislikes, and experiences.
Other people can provide inspiration. I’m a huge fan of reading biographies. Just because I find someone’s life interesting, doesn’t mean I want to emulate it. I might learn something I don’t want to do as a result. Learning about the lives of other people can be inspirational and educational. I do believe they need to be taken in the proper context. Because each of us is unique.
Each of us has a private side. Years ago, I worked with someone who appeared to put their whole life “out there”. I once had to counsel her after she told everyone about her bikini wax during a staff meeting. But I learned that even she didn’t put her whole life out there. Trust me, there were plenty of things she shared. But not everything. Social media has really brought this to light. What a person posts on social media isn’t their whole life.
The reason I bring this up isn’t because I’m ungrateful for the very kind words. I’m touched and sincerely honored. But I, like everyone else, have my ups and downs. I share my experiences here on HR Bartender so people can learn from my good and not-so-great experiences. But don’t copy them.
At a conference recently, someone told me, “I love reading your blog. You know why? Because I don’t always agree with you.” That comment is equally wonderful to me. In fact, on some level, even more so. And now you know why.
Take in what the world offers and make your own path. Be yourself and make sure your goal is decide what’s best for you. Believe me, I’m absolutely delighted when I can be a part of the journey.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby after dinner at Fork and Balls in Fort Lauderdale, FL