When was the last time you told everybody to shut up?
If it’s been a while, then stop reading and go do it now. No, seriously. Go and do it.
Go tell your boss to shut up. Go tell your husband or wife to shut up. Tell your kids to shut up. Tell all the bloggers and social media gurus to shut up. For you college students, when you go to class tomorrow, tell one of your professors to shut up. For all you Christians, tell your pastor to shut up after service this Sunday (I’m sure that rustled some feathers). If this seems too harsh to do, then I give you permission to comment and tell me to shut up. I’m ok with that.
Ok. I’m just kidding. Not really.
Here’s the thing.
Do you know how many hours a day you spend listening to someone else? Just think about it. Most of us are spending massive portions of our lives being defined and critiqued by the opinions and ideas of others. We spend so much of our lives living like blood-sucking leeches, latching on to every word of every person who seems to know just a little bit more than we do. And there’s a lot of good reasons to why this is a good thing. But what tends to happen is that this becomes the norm. And the result of this is that we all become photocopies and clones of another person’s DNA. We’re striving to be the next Tiger Woods or the next Oprah or the next Steve Jobs. It’s not that our intentions are bad. It’s just that we lose ourselves in the pursuit of finding ourselves through others.
Sometimes I just want to tell everybody to shut up. Or if that sounds too harsh to say, how about “Shhhh.” lol. What I’m discovering is that this doesn’t fix the real problem at hand. The real problem is me. It’s you. Better yet, instead of telling everyone else to shut up, why not tell ourselves to stop listening? Why not block out all the voices long enough to hear ourselves?
There are a lot of things right with us that we don’t even know. We underestimate how awesome we really are and how much potential we really have. Ok, I don’t wanna be another Tony Robbins, but I think we can all take something from this.
Because there’s so much discovery that we miss out on by not listening to ourselves; by not discovering our own voices; by not being authentically who we are. There’s so much fulfillment we miss out on when we live our lives artificially being someone we’re not. Look at how we talk, how we dress, how we act, what we do, where we go… it’s all shaped. By who? I’m not saying go out and rebel against the culture (or maybe I am). What I’m saying is don’t miss out. Don’t wind up on that gurney headed for the dark tunnel called death, regretting your life.
I know what it’s like to have my eyeballs and ears glued to every blog and every book and every bit of advice I could find. It can be addicting. I know what it’s like trying to be the ideal blogger or designer, taking bits and pieces of every successful blogger and designer I can find in hopes that I can be like one of them. I’ve heard all the “how-to’s” and the “5 steps to”, but what I haven’t heard enough of is me. And what you haven’t heard enough of is you.
There’s one thing that I know we are all amazingly great at being… ourselves. We may fail at a lot of things, but this surely isn’t one of them. So my challenge to you (and me) this year is this…
Find your voice. Know your voice. Live your voice. And LOVE your voice. Be. YOU.