It’s important to know who you are. What makes you different? What makes you stand out? What makes you you? Unfortunately, sometimes we are also the people who have the absolute worst perspective on who we are. I heard a metaphor once that really stuck with me—it’s like you’re driving down the highway, and you’re dragging a huge log beneath your car, but you can’t see it. You’re too close to the situation, you’re focused in the wrong direction, but this log is slowing you down. You know your car is going slower than it should be, but you just can’t see why. You also know that you don’t want to stop. You’re in a hurry. And it’s not like the car isn’t working, it’s just not at its full potential. It takes someone else to wave you down, some Good Samaritan to get your attention and tell you, “hey, you do realize that you’ve got a log under your car, right?”
If this happened to you, you’d have to be crazy not to listen to that person. When someone points out something about you that is slowing you down or holding you back in your life or in your career, it’s the same thing. You’d have to be crazy not to listen. So I’m thankful that I have people in my life who will tell me when I’m carrying around a tree that I didn’t even know was there.
One of the “trees” that I’ve been dragging around with me is that sometimes I’m just far too focused on looking forward that I forget to look at what’s happening right now. And I absolutely love my life right now. I’m enjoying every second of growth, friendship and camaraderie that I’ve experienced since moving to Los Angeles. That doesn’t mean I don’t miss my friends and family elsewhere, because I definitely do (sorry, it would take too long to list you all—you know who you are!), but I’m enjoying where I am. I’m taking this one day at a time, working on myself, and soon enough I’ll be where I need to be to succeed. Success happens when preparation meets opportunity. And I’m taking every day to make sure that I’m prepared when opportunity comes knocking.
Another tree I’ve been dragging around with me that I didn’t even know about is caring too much what other people think of me. I’ve been too much of a “people-pleaser,” trying to make sure that everyone else is happy and never focusing on myself. If I’m happy, I’ll be more equipped to help others, so shouldn’t I work on me first? It was pointed out to me that sometimes I answer questions in a way where I actually seem to be apologizing for my answer, just in case I happen to be offending someone in the room. I answer this way because I’m afraid of what people will think of me. It took some time of self-reflection to realize that I keep “playing small” in my answers so that I don’t come across as too “braggy” or “cocky.” But I’ve realized—I don’t need to do that. There is absolutely nothing wrong with claiming my worth as a person. I don’t need to apologize for having talent. I don’t need to apologize for my hard work. And I definitely don’t need to apologize for who I am.
So I’m not doing that anymore. I am a talented, hard-working, driven person, and I’m not going to try to hide it. Come take a look at me.