You may hear this one a lot. Especially from your parents or teachers or University professors – “Don’t let others tell you who you are. Be unique.” while at the same time society and a majority of those same folks want to push you into this conformity mold. Well guess what, the statement “Don’t let others define you” holds very true. Take me for an example, I use to rap (still do by the way), about a variety of topics and at the same time people involved with me in business who knew or eventually found out, were like “You can’t do this.” I say “why not?” There are two types of people in the world. The “know-it-alls” and the “learn-it-all’s” – I tend to believe I belong in the second group cause I never stop learning about anything and everything and so, there I was and yeah I knew how to rap and I knew how to run a business. I am an entrepreneur and business guy. Its in me.
Rather than listening to everyone else I define who I was for myself. Don’t get me wrong – I highly value the inputs I get during my life’s journey. Be it family, like my wife or parents, close friends and mentors, or folks I can relate too. I love to listen and I love it when people are blunt with me. If everything is dandy all the time then that means in our relationship something is not clicking correctly because somewhere we are bound to have a difference. I have faults! Yes, its true! So I do listen to those inputs and you should listen to those you trust as well, BUT ultimately it is only their opinion. Some you can take to heart more so than others, but they do not know where you need to execute against what your wants are and needs for that matter. Nobody, whether media, friends, professionals, detractors or anyone else should define who you are – you go do that on your own and you stick to it.
Let me reiterate that point again. If there is one key thing I want you to take away right here and right now it’s that I want you to define who you are. Don’t allow anyone else ever define who you should be. If you are a doctor, but you really want to be a cook, than go work in a kitchen and get the experience. If you sit in a cubicle all day, but really want to sing than utilize your vocal chords. If your a web developer, but really want to work with kids than go figure out how to do that. Do not, ever (!) operate your life because someone or something else tells you that is how it needs to be done. If you know what you want, than as in poker go “all in.” Don’t put yourself into a mold because you feel that others have placed you there and they make you feel that that is who you really are – even if you may be good at whatever that is. If it’s not your passion you do not belong in that mold.
You are responsible for yourself. You can fingerpoint and complain, but in the end it’s you. You are the one and only person that can define who you are and what you want to achieve in life. You may asking yourself now, “Hermann, how do I do that?” It’s fairly straight-forward. Be conscious about yourself. Be self-aware. Play with your strengths and go all out and respect the fact that you have weaknesses. If you are a construction worker who has the ability to manage a fish restaurant in an upscale part of town and that is something you want in your life, than all you need to do is do it.
Stick to what makes you happy and the goals that you want to execute on. That’s the bottom line of this whole gist. In the end, it is you’re happiness and no one else’s. Happiness drives everything in life! (Not money. That just makes life easier.) Do not limit yourself to what other people think you should be. Before I close let me give you one great example. I have a really good friend who from the days we were kids was always into planes and flying with the dream of becoming a pilot. Later on after we all moved out of school and life went on and after doing a bit of this and that he got a job as a flight attendant and did that for roughly three years, but his ultimate goal was still to become a pilot. He studied and worked his a** off. Went to pilot school, even abroad and financed it for a majority on his own. He successfully completed his training, got his diploma and the same airline for which he was a flight attendant for accepted him as a pilot. That is drive. That is defining who you are! Today he continues educating himself to fly bigger planes because that is his passion.
That is the bottom line. Be self-aware to know who you should be doing and do it because of you.