We have all been told to be true to ourselves. However, this is often a difficult thing to do, especially when we don’t want to let others down. This is where we need help to focus on what makes us uniquely us.
A trained coach can help unlock who we are and help bring out what makes each of us valuable. The bottom line is that a coach guides us toward becoming our true selves through advice, goal setting, and accountability. When we have a coach to support us, we don’t have to worry about being stuck on someone else’s path or living out someone else’s dream. Here’s a story to show how awful that can be:
You have practiced for weeks. You have lost count of the late nights, the cups of coffee, the blistered fingers. Day after day you pick up your violin and practice, practice, practice. You have been looking forward to finally showcase all your hard work at the biggest orchestra concert of the year and tonight is finally the night.
While dressing for the occasion, you hear a knock on the door. You open it and see your conductor standing there and holding a flute. The conductor tells you that he would rather have you play the flute. He tells you that he thinks you are such a good musician and that you have been doing so well in rehearsal, that he believes that you should play his favorite instrument –the flute– instead of the violin. You try to protest but are at a lost for words. He puts the flute in your hand and as he leaves tells you to not let him down. You stare down at the flute in your hand, eyes widened, not having the slightest clue of what to do.
A musician in treble
That night, you walk on the stage with the rest of the musicians, take a seat and a deep breath, and put your sheet music on the stand. The audience is packed and you can hear a pin drop as you wait for the conductor’s cue. The anticipation is killing you. Your heart is beating out of your chest as you raise your new flute to your lips. The conductor motions to start and you begin to play the flute as best as you can. You know the song backward and forwards but feel incapacitated by the instrument you are holding.
As you look around while you continue to play terribly, you realize the conductor and all the musicians are shooting daggers at you. Panic floods through you as you continue to play, everyone looking at you. But no matter what you do, no matter how hard you had practiced before, no matter how great a musician you are, you are no better than a beginner with this flute in your hands.
This sounds like a nightmare, right?
We lose ourselves when we pursue others’ dreams. So what does this (terrifying) anecdote tell you? No matter how talented you are, no matter how focused you are on a goal, if you are living out someone else’s dreams or beliefs, you are doing yourself and those around you a disservice. In the story, the musician didn’t want to let the conductor down. In your life, maybe the conductor is a family member, a friend, a co-worker, or a supervisor. We are afraid of disappointing those close to us, however, when we pursue their dreams instead of going after our own, we soon find that we become inefficient, uninterested, frustrated, and lost. While we take on the characteristics of others, we lose ourselves and our sense of personal identity. It’s as if we are reading the lines of a script instead of being true to ourselves. Or like playing the flute when you are a violinist.
The importance of being true to yourself
As Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken”. When we focus on our strengths, our beliefs, and our dreams instead of living out others’, we reclaim our identity and embrace who we truly are. We can then focus on bringing our one-of-a-kind perspectives and skill sets to the table, helping everyone reach a common goal. When we do this, we also help those around us. When we are true to ourselves, others feel comfortable to do the same. In the story, the horrible flute performance distracted the surrounding musicians from focusing on their own playing. Had the musician played the violin, the orchestra would have been able to play their own instruments in tandem, producing a beautiful performance.
Sometimes we need help to get back to who we are
Shaking off others’ visions and becoming true to ourselves is often a difficult task. We feel pressure to please or live up to the expectations of others, afraid of upsetting or letting down others. Even though we know we are unhappy, we sacrifice our passions to appease those around us. In the workplace, we live out others’ beliefs and passions because we think that we will become more successful or get ahead. These pressures blind or sidetrack us from going down our own true path. The violinist wanted to live up to the conductor’s expectations, but how does this apply in the workplace? Suppose you are up for a promotion in a department that you aren’t passionate about but don’t want to let our boss down. What if you are working in an industry because that’s what your family has always done, but it doesn’t reflect your dreams and talents? What if we are asked to do something that goes against our moral code, but not our supervisor’s? Figuring this out alone can be confusing and frustrating.
How coaching can help you
We may need help at times to find our true selves, to get back on track, and to find our purpose. We often rely on friends or family to guide us, however, what if those are the very people who are unintentionally influencing our course. This is when a certified and formally trained coach is best. Coaches are objective third parties that view situations from multiple perspectives while remaining focused on unlocking your full potential. Great coaches don’t tell you how to live your life but help guide you to useful solutions. They validate your concerns but push you toward improvement. They can help you achieve mutually agreed upon goals by setting boundaries and accountability for success.
We owe it to ourselves and those around us to be genuinely and authentically us. Often we feel like the helpless violinist on stage with a flute, but we don’t have to. At the end of the day, we all need help at times to find our true selves and follow our own vision, our own true passions, and our own unique path. If you feel you need guidance to become who you want to be, contact us to see if we can help.