migrated from blogger – original post dated March 24, 2008

I ran across a quote that struck a nerve in me. David Taylor, author of “The Naked Coach” wrote,

“…that when one is presenting, yes, the audience is thinking, ‘What’s in it for me?’ and ‘How can I apply what the presenter is saying in my life or to help others?’ but, more than these two, they are asking themselves, ‘Does this person really believe what they are saying?’

And when the answer is ‘yes’, then the speaker is not only being more persuasive and having greater impact, they are also simply being themselves.”

I found myself reaching out and tracing those lines and nodding and thinking “Yes, yes, this is exactly the person I want to be!”

Recently I was reading Robert Ringer’s book “Million Dollar Habits” and stopped at the section of the book to answer five questions the book had posed:

  • What do I enjoy?
  • What am I good at?
  • What do I want out of life?
  • What’s the price?
  • Am I willing to pay the price?

Under the first question I had a long list, two of which were quite relevant to the person I am evolving into today—‘teaching others’ and ‘changing lives for the better’. Under the second question, ‘what am I good at’ I found they repeated themselves, ‘helping others’ and ‘teaching others’. Excellent, I was on the right track.

In each answer I had also listed ‘writing’, which as you have probably noticed I do a fair amount of. And then it hit me—I picked up “The Naked Coach” and read the last sentence again.

“And when the answer is ‘yes’, then the speaker is not only being more persuasive and having greater impact, they are also simply being themselves.”

And I had to smile.

I had to smile because I realized I have now exactly what I always wanted to accomplish—the ability to be me. I get to be me every day. I don’t have to pretend to be anyone else; I get to be me, me, ME!

To put into some kind of perspective how deep a change and relief this is for me, I will need to take you back to a time in my life when ‘being me’ simply didn’t seem acceptable.

In my mid-20’s I worked for a distribution center in the customer service department. I was known as a ‘big mouth’ and a ‘know it all’ because when a question was asked of the group of us in general, I was likely to answer. It wasn’t that I was showing off, or answering a question I didn’t actually know the answer to, I was (in my mind) simply trying to help. I knew the answer, why not share it?

On the nights when I didn’t have my daughter to care for I would go to the local bar to enjoy live music and engage in one of my favorite activities – playing pool. I was good at it, damn good for a girl, and I regularly whipped the guys in singles or playing in doubles. I was relatively well-liked there and always invited to play on doubles teams by those who knew me. The guys would ask me “how’s it going” and I would tell them all about my beloved daughter and the latest funny story about her.

One evening, one of the guys I saw regularly leaned over and said, “Christine, you’re a nice-looking girl, and I can see you are a good person. So I’m going to give you a piece of advice. You would get so many more guys willing to date you if you would just not talk so much.”

He couldn’t have hurt me worse if he had slapped me. It was a firm reminder that who I was, the indomitable me, was simply not accepted.

I spent my childhood and adolescence asking my parents and my teachers, “Why do I need to learn this?” I never got a straight answer other than, “Because I said so.” And because of it, I fought learning the curriculum, fought doing what they tried so hard to make me do. I fought them until the day I left home, a mere month before my seventeenth birthday.

In those first few months of freedom I realized one very important thing…I wanted to LEARN. I saw the other teens my age returning home from school and I was suddenly gripped with such a thirst. I wanted to learn and grow and know and be so much more than I was. I wanted to jump up on top of all of the obstacles and stand upon them victorious.

I wanted to help myself to be that person I dreamed of being, and I wanted to turn around and help others who were standing there dazed or clueless or lost. As much as it would be possible to, I wanted to infect others with a love of learning and growth and change.

It took me years and years to get here, to this place where I am today. Despite my thirst for knowledge and change, I still lost my way—sometimes for weeks or months or even years. And I’m far from done; I’ve truly only just begun.

But I was very pleased to realize that I get to be me now. I get to be me, and I find that it is accepted and it is acknowledged, and I am the lucky one for it. Because now I really can help others, now that I’m comfortably myself at all times.

So now it is your turn. Ask yourself the question, “Am I being myself?”

If you answer “yes”, than congratulations, you are well on your way to changing your life. And if not, then don’t you think that maybe it’s time you got started?