In “Hidden Treasures,” there were quite a lot of messages simply because the mother’s letters each had to include a message for Katie to take away. There is one message, though, that is woven throughout every scene of this story. One idea that is so important and something I’ve found to make all the difference in my life as I’ve embraced it more and more, and it’s also at the forefront of every success story I’ve ever read.
Get to the idea already, DEREK!!
Ok, ok…the idea is this: be… yourself.
Be your authentic, amazing, true, incredible self… always. Unless you’re acting in a play or movie or something… then obviously act away!
Seriously though, in everything we do, I think it’s really important to bring our true selves forward. And to do it as Katie’s mother says in the story, “when everyone understands, and all the same when no one understands.”And maybe this all sounds basic or like a very old idea, but I, of course, have another perspective to look at this from. And here it goes:
The other side of the coin around being yourself is to be the kind of person or to create the kind of environment, where others feel comfortable to be themselves in any way shape or form. Free to be themselves with their religion, sexual orientation, wacky dreams, outlandish goals, ideas, political views—whatever. And again… when you understand them, and even when you don’t.
What’s really amazing though, is how both of these perspectives help us to achieve our own dreams and goals. That being ourselves and being a haven for others to be themselves can truly help make our own dreams a reality.
When we express ourselves truly, and honestly, doors open. And to be more precise—the right doors open, and also—the right doors close. When interviewing for Engineering jobs, I could have lied and talked about my passion for my future there, yet I chose to be myself and be honest. I really have a hard time lying. I just can’t do it. So, I said things like, “I don’t see myself in this field for long, if at all. I don’t have the same passion for your company, that you have for it.” Yea, I actually said things like that… and without a big surprise, I didn’t get those jobs. The doors closed, but they weren’t the right doors for me anyway. And, consequently, it opened up a thousand other possibilities for me. I could have lied, but I’m grateful I didn’t. My life is far better, far happier and more fulfilled because I chose to be myself. When you express yourself truly, and honestly, you’ll attract relationships, whether business or social, that are right for you.
And, if we are a haven for, and accepting of, new ideas and perspectives—new points of view—then we are going to find and be given so many more opportunities and pathways and shortcuts to get where we want to go. Listening to other Podcasts and Audiobooks has made mine better, and given me new ideas to try… like character voices!
I’ve done well and I’ve done poorly on both sides of this coin. I’ve expressed myself truly, and honestly, and I’ve also held back in fear of judgment. I’ve been a haven for anyone and everyone, any idea and any point of view, and I’ve also done the opposite, not on purpose. No one’s perfect, which is why this last point is the most important.
We can’t wait for the right environment to be ourselves. We can’t wait for the haven, created by others, to be there. We can’t wait for the World around us to be ready. It took people like Ellen Degeneres among many others to come out when they weren’t accepted, being themselves when they were both understood and not understood, that created a more accepting and understanding and loving World today. And we know it’s still not perfect, but it’s better. If we wait for the World to change though, before we express ourselves truly and honestly, we’ll simply be waiting for someone else to step out first. You could wait and wait, and you might end up living your whole life just waiting.
So, don’t let your dreams get locked away in a vault for when the time is right, or when you’re sure that others will understand. Don’t let any part of yourself remain hidden from the World, for it’s a loss to you, and it’s truly a loss for all of us too.
Imagine if J.K. Rowling decided that Harry Potter was too crazy of an idea and that she should instead focus on, “getting a real job.”
What? A World without Harry Potter. Blasphemy!! Horrible. Horrible! Take it back!
Imagine if George Lucas listened to the naysayers about his crazy idea of Star Wars.
Stop this Derek. Stop it right now. These are bad thoughts. Very bad thoughts!
Oh, please no more!
Ok… you get the idea I’m sure.
All of them, JK Rowling, George Lucas, Ellen Degeneres, and a thousand other innovators and change-makers followed a very simple idea…