We are all different, unique beings, even if we are an identical twin (which I’m not). Why are we made this way? Why are we unique? Most of my life, say the first 35 years or so, I spent a lot of time criticizing my uniqueness not embarrassing it. It wasn’t until I was in my late 30’s that I decided to stop comparing myself to each and everyone in the world. I would always find someone smarter, funnier, richer, more attractive and so on. It wasn’t until I decided that I was enough did my world start to change. At this point in my life, as I am living my 54th year on this planet, not only have I learned not to compare myself to anyone else, I’m starting to love my uniqueness more than ever.
What does it mean to love my uniqueness? What does it mean to fully express who I am versus who I think other would want me to be, or who I think I “should” be? At this point I’m pretty clear that I’m happiest when I’m with people, especially people that I adore and have a close relationship with. If I’m not around any of those people I’d rather be around others than just hanging out by myself. Many years ago I used to think that meant I didn’t like to be by myself, but that’s not true at all. I really do enjoy my time alone, I just don’t need a lot of it. A good friend of mine told me recently that there are introverts, extroverts and then there’s Larry (an extroverts, extrovert).
I’m embracing this quality and when I’m with people that I’m not close with yet I do my best to be my authentic self. That means telling people what I feel and expressing myself fully. In the past I used to worry if people would like me, so I’d try to say things that wouldn’t cause any controversy or wouldn’t make them uncomfortable. In some business situations I might continue to hold my tongue and think strategically about how my words might affect my desired outcome, but for the most part I’m better off speaking my mind. Why should I do anything else? This might cause people to not enjoy the conversation, but that’s OK. I’ve had more people come back to me years later, after walking away frustrated with a conversation I had with them, to say thank you for telling me what I really thought. In the moment it wasn’t enjoyable for them, but it was my truth.
One other thing that I’ve learned is how to present things to people so it isn’t as “in your face” as I had been in the past. I’ve learned to ask for permission to provide feedback. I’ve learned to choose my words carefully when I’m going to be critical and also tell the other person that I might be totally off base, but I felt compelled to share what was happening for me. In the end, I believe most of these instincts are reflections of myself, or my own uniqueness, and these conversations help me as much, if not more, than the person I’m talking with.
So, where does this leave me? When I am truly myself and surrounded by people that are interested in the thoughts and ideas that I am, we can develop a deep and meaningful relationship. I am so lucky to have so many of those relationships in my life. The biggest challenge is that not many of them live within walking distance of my house. So, I spend significant time on the phone and travel to see people for business and pleasure. Over the past 18 months I’ve focused that energy on finding my tribe here in San Diego and continue to meet other like-minded, like-hearted professionals. The community of self-aware, world changing, get shit done dolphins continues to grow and I love meeting other unique souls that I vibrate along the same frequency. Life is amazing when we embrace our uniqueness. I look forward to many more years of being uniquely me and nobody else. If you enjoy me, great, and if not I’m happy to know that as well.
To a life well lived!