Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy. ~ E. Nightingale
Who Are You ?
How many times have you been asked this question ? How many times have you asked this question of others? The typical answer that you get or give is that I’m an entrepreneur, investment banker, broker, sales director, CEO & Chairman of XXX Ltd., journalist, a rich man’s son or daughter with a name thrown in… When we are born, most of us are given a suitcase full of standards, acceptable behavior, things to learn,values & a whole load of do’s and don’ts. As we grow and progress in life we keep adding or throwing away some contents of this suitcase. Each of us thus become a product of the choices we have made or that we have consciously decided not to make.
Since childhood, we have our dreams and we want to make them a reality. Part of these dreams is about what we become and that results in the career we choose. However, many of us realize either early on or mid-life that the chosen career path is not one we enjoy or one that is necessarily nourishing to our soul. Sometimes, you are also given a rude shock when you are asked to leave the company. When life throws these challenges, you ask yourself “Who Am I”? You have always associated yourself with a role, a role of a CEO or chef but when life takes a sudden turn and you are not in that role for a period in time or when you are considering changing your career, you struggle to determine who you are?
Let me give you another example, a woman who becomes a mother and gives herself in being a mother feels a vacuum when her children grow up and move away to follow their own dreams. Each of us associate ourselves with being a sister, a father, a wife, a mother and many other roles played in our personal lives or organization or in our own business. These are all about Doing rather than Being.
Identity crisis comes about when roles no longer exist because of change in circumstances. The longest time you will ever live with someone is “Yourself” so it is imperative that each of us are able to answer the question “Who Am I.” This is an important question and it goes beyond one’s position, job, titles or status in society. These roles are “About You” but they don’t define you nor do they tell who you are, the person you are or the values you represent. Our choices determine who we are and who we will be. The decisions we make each day on every aspect that life presents us with, reveals who we are and what we are.
Yes you can choose to do all the best practices to make you the World’s Best Entrepreneur but what about the Being or To Be? How about being the world’s best entrepreneur in that I’ll be a thoughtful leader who helps others grow, develop and bring out their positive potential? You are the choices you make each day be it your reaction to something, or the people you choose to hang around with. One’s environment plays a huge role in influencing who we are and the choice of the environment lies with each of us. It is the festive and holiday season and each of us get to hear our share of Christmas carols and songs at shopping malls, at the gym, parties, restaurants.
I was at my gym for a Christmas Fitathon event last Saturday and as I was enjoying my working out, the song that was being played was Rudolph, The Red Nosed Reindeer. I personally like that song because it is quite peppy and cheers me up. This song got me thinking and I decided to explore a bit on Google to find out the story of Rudolph. Bob May, the creator of Rudolph the Reindeer in some ways told his own story through Rudolph. He was a misfit, an outcast, one who probably didn’t fit the single story stereotype. He had a tough childhood and he knew what it was to be different.
He created Rudolph to be different with his red shiny nose and he was always teased for how he looked. What stood out to me in the story is that Rudolph recognized who he was and used his uniqueness to provide happiness and cheer to the children and many others around the world.
In all this, Bob May in his creation of Rudolph recognized who he was, and used his tenacity and imagination to please his child and at the same time millions around the world for centuries. He didn’t allow his role or his surroundings to pull him down and he worked on his strengths rather than focusing on his deficiencies.
I couldn’t have found a better summary of the Leadership Qualities in Rudolph and the following 7 points is an extract from Rudolph: One of the Great Leaders of All Time!
“1. Rudolph’s story depicts him stepping up in the face of adversity. Without his willingness to do so, there would have been no leader and no Christmas.
2. Rudolph’s hoofed adventure distinguished him as a beacon of light–clearly identifying him as a leader.
3. Rudolph worked with the team despite his recognition (at least in song) that he was a star.
4. Rudolph surrounded himself with goal-oriented, hard-working reindeer.
5. Rudolph was smart; he was clever enough to survive delivering presents in the South despite having to do so during deer-hunting season!
6. Rudolph always maintained a positive attitude while leading the group.
7. Rudolph embraced his differences and turned them into strengths.”
Each of us can take a leaf out of Bob May’s or Rudolph’s qualities
What determines each of us ? Who Am I?
While this list is not exhaustive these are things I have learnt over the years what is most important to me and one I’m comfortable identifying myself with. Early this year, when I quit Corporate life to pursue a new career, a choice I consciously made, I suffered from an identity crisis and the transition from my role in the Corporate Life to what I do today made me want to put my thoughts of “Who Am I” on paper.
1. Being Compassionate
2. Being Gratuitous
3. Try to constantly renew, receive and reflect on life and my own actions and reactions.
4. Being led by my inner self and not by the external environment.
5. Listening so that I understand
6. Being humble
7. Learning from my mistakes
8. Asking the relevant questions
9. Being tolerant to myself and others especially when I’m frustrated
10.Not being afraid to say No or I don’t know when the situation demands
11. Making a difference each day
12. Learning to smile, to laugh, to let go and to forgive
13. Focusing on developing my strengths and that of others
14. Trusting oneself and letting go of self-limiting beliefs.
15. Being positive. Spreading the smile and act of kindness around in whatever I do and in whatever role I play in my daily life
Let me leave you with the Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer song
Merry Christmas to each of you and May the year 2013 be kind to each of us. Best Wishes. Lalita