Today’s quote comes from Kimanzi Constable, who was our guest in Episode 32. If you want to hear his entire show, and learn how he lost a LOT of weight, quit his job, started his own business and then was able to move from Milwaukee Wisconsin to Hawaii, go to MakeYourSomedayToday.com/Episode 32.
Kimanzi says to go at your own pace and to not compare yourself to those around you. Why not? I mean, isn’t everyone compared to everyone else? You can go your own way and be your own person. Or you can be one of the sheep. The choice is always yours.
Don’t get me wrong, I love sheep. Seeing a large flock of walking puffs of clouds over a rolling green hill is relaxing. They are cute (well, at the petting zoo for my kids, they were cute.) They make wool. I love a nice wool suit. And delicious meat (roast leg of lamb is incredible.) And they produces milk for cheese. They are…well, they are animals that graze and exist until we need some part of them.
They are a commodity. An object used to create something else for sale. And just about any single sheep can be replaced with any other sheep. They may have different personalities, but they are interchangable in their role within the drove.
That is a lot like people, in a way.
We are all just a very large, very fast-moving flock of people. Everything we do is a blur. Everything runs together, like a watercolor painting left out in the rain. We are all interchangeable. Oh, it may take some retraining to pull one person out and put a new person in their place, but that is the same as when you introduce a new sheep to the pasture. There are 7 billion people on the planet.
Or maybe there is just one person, but with seven billion different faces.
This is not what I normally write about, is it? Sort of grim. But wait, this is only half the story.
Only one position that only I can fill. One area where I am not a commodity.
As a person, I am the only ME there is. So I need to make the most of it. While many people can do what I do, I am the only person who does it exactly I as do it. I am the only person with exactly my background and history.
That is what makes me separate from the herd. I am a herd of one (to borrow from a US Army slogan.) I use all those experiences to make me a better person at everything.
This realization did not happen overnight. I’m 51 years old and it’s only been in the past couple years that I have started to believe this. As an instructor at the college, it took more than five years to find my voice. There is working “outside your comfort zone” and “learning the lay of the land.” I started teaching in January 2009, and it was not until this semester that I finally decided to remove parts of my mask and show the real me. Just yesterday, a colleague commented on how much more engaged I am, and my only response was I finally feel as though my real voice is taken as valid.
But the point is that I am finally being myself!
Stepping out, seizing your own space, using your own voice, those are all methods of being your own authentic self. And all of those can be intimidating. But until you take those steps, you are just another blurred face in the crowd.
If you don’t use your own voice, if you don’t act the way you truly feel, you are not loyal to yourself. You will change as the powers around you change. You will be a flag in a hurricane, whipping violently in one direction until the hurricane passes and then you will whip violently in the opposite direction.
In doing so, you lose yourself.
“If a man is not faithful to his own individuality, he cannot be loyal to anything.” Claude McKay, Jamaican-American writer and poet (1889 – 1948)
Not using your voice has the same result as not having a voice. Stand up! Be true to yourself. Speak up!
I’ll leave you with a few questions. Please feel free to answer them in the comments.
Who are you? What do you stand for? What do you want?
What do you bring that no one else can? Do you use it, every day?
In researching this essay, I knew the a collection of sheep was a “herd”, but was not sure about any other terms. According to the Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center a collection of sheep can be called a “flock, herd or drove.” I knew that elephants were a herd. Do you know the name for a group of apes? Badgers? Martens? Eagles? Starlings? Toads? Trout? Jellyfish?
(That is the sort of thing that interests us nurses who are guys that have experienced that list of careers above.)
Music composed and performed by Jason Shaw, courtesy of Audionautix.com
Voiceover courtesy of Matt Young. Matt is a professional voiceover artist. If you have any need of voiceover work, for your podcast, radio spot, or whatever, you can reach Matt by a variety of methods. He is on LinkedIn. On Twitter. And Google+. And you can read his really nice, contemplative blog.
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