Four people, four stories. All of them different, but all with something in common. Two are bound by family, two by career, and they stand like four points on a compass; connected opposites. The first person is aiming for a promotion he’s not sure he wants. The second is downsizing his career against all the logic of ambition. The third is constrained by what he thinks his family wants for him, and the fourth has to decide whether or not to have a family of his own.
These are all intelligent, thoughtful, beautiful people facing choices and decisions which need to be made and which, once taken, will steer a definite course through their respective lives. I have spoken to all of them and none of them finds it easy. I am certain, if they were to meet and speak with each other, they would benefit greatly from the experience. And they would surely give each other the same piece of advice: be true to who you think you are.
I was going to call this post ‘Be True to Who You Are‘, but in such difficult situations it’s easy to lose yourself. We convince ourselves that because other people are doing something, we should too. Or because the world promotes a particular way of being, that’s how we should be. But it isn’t necessarily that way. That’s why it is important to reflect on who we are. And if we are still unsure, then reflect on who we think we are. We know ourselves better than anyone else ever will. Eventually we will find an answer and, even if it means taking an unfamiliar, initially uncomfortable option, then that is what we need to do.
A close friend of mine, following the death of a family member, said to me ‘You only live once.’ At the time, I saw his words as a call to seize the day – the kind of motivational cliché which can easily demotivate. Now I hear those words again and I find myself applying it to this very subject. You get one life to be true to who you are. And even if you are not sure who that person is, there is enough material inside to provide the necessary insight to make the right decision. For you.