Be a Real One
We spend a lot of our life pretending.
As children, it was a game. As adults, it’s living.
We put on a face of happiness. We pretend to be confident.
We fake it until we make it, right?
Well, maybe we shouldn’t.
Maybe we should spend more time on just being real.
Why Should We Care?
I remember getting ready for school one day when I was in middle school, struggling to decide on which shirt to wear. My dad happened to walk by my room as I was switching shirts in front of the mirror. Dad stopped, assessed the situation and brought clarity to the situation for me with one frank comment: “People don’t care what you’re wearing, they’re too worried about what they’re wearing.”
It made sense to me and helped me realize something I couldn’t really articulate at the time, but I knew I didn’t like about myself at the time: I was fake. My struggle to pick the right shirt was nothing more than a futile effort to appease others. My decisions, in more than my attire, were based on what I wanted others to think, not what I thought. Then I noticed it was everywhere around me too.
Now in the real world, beyond middle school, I’ve realized it isn’t any better - likely worse. So much of the time we’re fumbling around as characters in a fictional drama, acting out our next role in the day. An encounter with someone that is authentic is like finding a four leaf clover.
It’s to the point now that if you want to be different, just be real. You’ll stick out like a sore thumb.
We are all drawn to authentic people, yet we work to avoid it ourselves unsure that our authentic self will be accepted. Unfortunately, we fail to realize it’s the authentic that others are looking to accept, not the things we are trying to fix.
The scars, blemishes, and failures that we are constantly pulling the blinds over are the exact things that harden relationships and build trust.
REAL TALK - Action Steps
Being ‘Real’ is clearly not easy, but it’s also not hard. It’s simply a matter of choice. We can choose to allow ourselves to be seen for who we really are or we can armor up and hide the very things that would provide the strongest connection to others. We like to make it hard by hammering ourselves with a barrage of fabricated stories to justify our facade.
Being a real one is one of the greatest compliments we can get from those we lead. It says we are vulnerable, yet confident ... flawed, yet courageous. And, please notice, real is rooted in what we do, not the words we say.
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I'm a teacher, coach, and parent seeking excellence while defining success on my own terms.