Being yourself is a tricky topic. In business, Life & deciding what you want t do.
I know <I know>.
Seems like “being yourself” should be simple. Like … ‘breathing’ type simple.
But it’s not. It’s not because there is a constant struggle between an internal part <’who am I’ type shit> and external <figuring out how ‘who am I’ should actually act in public>.
For example … one of my favorite young writers, Jamie, describes herself this way:
I’m a writer, pretty much by process of elimination. I am also a professional aspirationalist.
That’s not a word, but I’ve made it into one, since there was nothing that could quite describe me because I didn’t want to say I’m a “professional dreamer” because that sounds like some hippie shit.
I have aspirations, like, lots of them. If you’d like me to create a TV show, get in touch with me. How about publishing my memoir? Get in touch. If you are from The Ellen Show, I will, of course, accept your interview and would be delighted to dance it out with my girl, so long as she doesn’t prank me by making me eat cilantro. In fact, I want no cilantro in anything.
Professional aspirationalist … not ‘professional dreamer’ nor ‘professional pragmatist.’
Professional aspirationalist is just awesome.
If I could ever vote for a new term that would be it. It’s fucking awesome. It captures the essence of restlessness & hope & striving & unlearning & … well … all the things I believe are good and healthy with a person seeking to be better tomorrow than they are today.
What I truly love about it is that she came up with a term to capture her “self.” I love it because being yourself … and even recognizing who ‘yourself’ is … is hard. And when I say hard … think even harder than maybe becoming a Navy Seal type hard.
It is incredibly hard because the truth is that ‘my truth’ , more often than not, is most likely an evolving tangled web of characteristics which, as it evolves, simply becomes more tangled <rather than untangled>.
Yourself is constantly adapting to new learning … new learning about things … and new learning, and unlearning, about oneself.
That’s why I love professional aspirationalist.
True north on Jamie’s compass is defined. And its not a destination … but rather it is a direction.
Aspirationalist is a moving target. It is restless and unmoving at exactly the same time. It is an adventurer with some pragmatism. It’s not being on Ellen <although she would be delighted to do so> because once that happens … there will always be something else.
Being an aspirationalist means not only having dreams … but dreaming … oh … and doing.
Doing … doing lots of different shit.
That also means … well … increasingly more and different dreams <and aspirations>. And increasingly doing more and different shit. Dreaming and doing. Lots of different dreaming and doing.
In the end … <to me> being a professional aspirationalist means being a restless soul. Restlessly seeking, traveling, doing, thinking … professionally constantly in motion <mentally or physically>.
I love it because it captures my personal belief that becoming ‘better’ as a person is experiential rather than tangible <although tangible ‘doing stuff’ is certainly a component>.
I love it because it isn’t for the faint of heart.
And isn’t what truly being yourself is all about? Having some courage to even suggest ‘I will not omit things just to make you comfortable.’
Professional aspirationalist reminded me of this other quote:
“I am a world that cannot be explored in one day. I am not a place for cowards.”
<from a love letter to my stretch marks>
Being a professional aspirationalist means you are not a place for cowards.
I wish I had come up with this word. But I am not as talented a writer as Jamie.
I like it for its sense of Life’s paradox. Paradox in that it is independent and dependent at the same time.
I like it for it’s sense of Business’s paradox. Paradox in that success in business is a combination of stillness, at the right times, and movement/restlessness at all times.
I like it because at its core it doesn’t mean shunning the world and simply being a dreamer … it has rich & royal hues of reality threading its way through its fabric.
I would like to believe I am also a professional aspirationalist.
To be clear <because Jamie is correct … the word selection was thoughtful to avoid the ‘hippie shit’>.
Pragmatically … we aspirationalists do seek <some> approval and acceptance <ohhhhhhhhhhhh shit>.
Accept what I just wrote <that last sentence>. Don’t fight it <even if you are one of those who say ‘I don’t give a fuck what anyone thinks”>.
Because you do care.
Whether you like it or not … whether you think it is right or wrong … whether you think it is a good thing or bad in that it makes you ‘weak’ in some way …. just get it set in your head – in some form or fashion … we care.
Don’t worry … we all care <not just aspirationalists>. We all care what the people around us think about us. And by ‘people’ I mean everyone from those closest to you <who would most likely accept you in any shape and form you ended up in … but you don’t want to disappoint them> to society overall <there is some value in gaining credit for who you are and what you do>.
Some acceptance from others feeds our self-esteem & self-worth <and all that Maslow stuff>.
Please note I used the word “feeds.” Approval and acceptance is not the only nutrition necessary for a healthy esteem and worth.
It is simply one part of the diet.
Even we aspirationalists need a balanced ‘self diet’. We do not seek sole value from proving ourselves to others. And we don’t accept sole value in and of ourselves.
Being an aspirationalist is … well … the paradox. Independent dreamer with some dependence on external cues as to the value of our aspirations.
We want to fit into the world on our own terms.
What a description:
Professional aspirationalist: I am not afraid of my truth anymore and I will not omit pieces of me to make you comfortable. I am a world that cannot be explored in one day. I am not a place for cowards.
We need more of these people in our world … in Life & in business.
Me? I will continue living life, trying to do good shit in Life & business, as a Professional Aspirationalist.