Be yourself no matter what they say.
You are not a clone.
You are a unique individual out of 7.6 billion people. I love the picture this week because I think of the person looking out over the collected population of the city. He’s a part of the community, but still, uniquely him. While it’s good to model your mentors, senior leaders, parents, and advisers, you never want to clone them. Take the best of each and then strike out with your own unique perspective. I am thankful and blessed with a large group of people that have developed and grown under my leadership and while I love their development journeys, I would never want any of them to be me. Their unique perspective often gives them the chance to be better than me in so many ways.
Stay true to yourself.
We’ve talked recently about being authentic in how you communicate and tell your stories. You can’t expect an animal to be different than what it is made to be. The same goes for you. If you are an artist, don’t give in and become an analyst somewhere because it makes money. You’ll hate it and be miserable.
Protect your uniqueness at all costs.
One of the worst things that you can do for yourself is to allow someone to take your uniqueness away. It’s job one in the military. In fact, the first thing that they do in basic training is put you all in the same clothes and give you the same haircut in the effort strip away the individual and promote the team. Even then they can’t take away what makes you on the inside.
Don’t sell yourself out for a promotion or a job. Those costs are too high for what the reward is. Find a place where you feel comfortable, where you are free to offer your unique perspective and valued for who you are. You’ll be happier, more productive and will be a stronger leader for others.
Make a better tomorrow.