Just be yourself
Advice for performers to succeed in their career is ‘just be yourself’. Advice from parents to kids: ‘just go out there and be yourself’.
I’ve said it to my kids to try to make them feel good about themselves. I’ve received that admonition growing up. I’ve believed it when pursuing my career. And now I say it to young performers seeking my advice. Yet what does all that actually mean when it comes to generating success?
I’ve realised that’s the irony though, isn’t it, we can’t control the outcome. So we can’t generate success by being a certain way or thinking a certain way. All we can be is our true self, honouring our instincts, our purpose and our way of doing things.
Then that’s the way the successful outcome will inevitably manifest, the way it’s supposed to – although not necessarily in the way we envisaged – by being authentic. Not pretending to be anything we’re not. By allowing things to unfold as they’re going to, in the greater plan, which we often don’t know or understand until we look back in retrospect.
Think about Richard Branson, Ellen DeGeneres or even Donald Trump. They are unabashedly themselves and they don’t care who likes it or not. They’ve succeeded by being who they are, no matter what.
I can relate to being ‘unabashedly myself’. I’ve been told, mostly in my youth, that I’ve got a big ego. I’ve been described as ‘marmite’ – they either sit in the ‘love’ me or ‘hate’ me camp. People have tried to slap me down, told me to pull my head in, or they’ve competed with me to prove who is more important.
When I was younger I did try to validate myself, to silence the inner doubt, and projected an air of ‘I am Spartacus’ to try and prove any naysayers wrong. That was part vanity and insecure thinking. Yet I have truly always had a healthy sense of self-belief, I’ve always been utterly stoked to be me! My parents encouraged that. I have always focused on what’s going well in my life and felt grateful. And now, from the benefit of time, education and experience, I realise just how helpful that’s been. I’ve had – and still do have – my share of crap over the years, personal failures, and seemingly insurmountable challenges. Focusing on what I’m grateful for and being happy in my own skin has been hugely beneficial.
Anita Moorjani in her incredible book ‘Dying to be Me’ had to die, in a near-death experience, before she literally woke up to how amazing she is, because we are all amazing! But her upbringing meant she didn’t feel that way about herself, she put herself down, she was filled with unconscious self-loathing because she didn’t feel she measured up to what her Indian family, her society, her religious ideals and what she herself expected her to be. Her fear basically created Stage four cancer and, in what would seem to be an impossible situation, she was given the chance to see what she was doing to herself and what she was denying within herself in order to come back and teach the rest of us.
Do you want to die in order to realise just how insanely beautiful and valuable you are, right here, right now? No, me neither.
Why waste any time denying our own magnificence? We are here to live out our purpose and embrace the perfect unfolding of being who we truly are, connecting to every other magnificent human walking the earth, and all of the exquisite nature and living creatures too for that matter.
‘You are here to enable the divine purpose of the universe to unfold. That is how important you are!” Eckhart Tolle
You are unique, your story is unique, your path is unique, your contribution is unique – regardless of how many performers, authors, entrepreneurs, coaches, sports people, journalists, parents, teachers, accountants and philanthropists we walk amongst in this world.
Nobody does it better. Nobody does it half as good as you. Baby, you’re the best at being YOU.
May the light within you illuminate the world around you.