We are told from early childhood “just to be ourselves”. It’s the solution for everything from meeting new friends to getting a job. The ironic thing is that most likely very few of us are actually being ourselves. A large portion of people in the United States are all about keeping up with the Jones’. You just have to look at the mortgage crisis and bankruptcy rates to see that many people were wallowing in debt just to seem like they had what “everyone else” had. Our children compete to get the same grades, get into the same schools, and get the same jobs. We have been following others for so long like good little students, that we have forgotten what we already have learned and know as unique individuals.
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of listening to Michele Woodward, Master Certified Coach and owner of Life Frame Works, talking about this very concept. She was discussing that some of us tend to get into the role of seekers and are hesitant to take the step to accepting what we already know. As a seeker, we grasp for more knowledge, more accreditations, and more titles to show that we know our field. By doing this we often fall into the trap of imitating the moves of the successful people who have become before us. And though this may work to a certain degree, you can’t move fully ahead into success if you are waiting for the next accolade. People are looking to follow a leader, not a seeker. Woodward said once we accept where we are and what we have to offer; that is when a true shift happens in our business, careers, and life endeavors. She mentioned the phrase “Be Your Own Buddha”, meaning follow your own path.
When starting a business or a new career, remember to stay clear of idol worship of those who precede you, they offer a lot of guidance, but you need to be clear on your own knowledge, worth, and individuality. Being clear on your own knowing puts you on solid ground. Everyone is seeking something, but they want to see leadership in others, a distinction between seeing the value in others work and just blindly following it.
Once I looked at the world in this seeker vs. accepter view, I could see it playing itself out all around us. Most recently it made me think of Michael Jackson. Though he may have been wildly eccentric at times, he really did become his own Buddha. As the youngest in his family he could have followed the others in the family and molded himself solely in their image. But through his gift and desire to achieve, he stood out. When his producers tried to tell him how to make an instant hit, he resisted those ideas and created a style of music and video that changed the music world. He began to follow his own way, a path that led to a worldwide following. In a clip shown on TV after he passed away, I heard him say that “the problem with artists is that they try to make the art happen. That’s not the way it is, the art happens on its own, but you have to be there and open to it when it comes”. So while others are seeking, he had the confidence to know that when it came he would know exactly what to do with it.
This technique doesn’t just work with rock stars; it works with anyone who becomes clear about their knowledge. I was coaching a client last week. There are times when you just know where a client needs to go to find the greatest relief and breakthrough.