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The Single Most Important Thing You Will Ever Do in Life…Is to Know Yourself- Bernie Davies
Let’s unpack this together…take my hand…walk with me a while…
Growing up, I never really fit in. I was the fourth of five children, from a very well respected family established on hard graft, determination and fierce vision. Both my parents were from humble beginnings and were not about to tolerate mediocrity within their household. Hence, they reared a breed of high achievers with the strength and resilience to match. So you can imagine fourth down the pecking order was not a nice place to find myself for a multiplicity of reasons.
Very early, I developed an “and me” personality. I had to figure out how to get noticed, get heard and valued. I quickly discovered the way to do this was to excel. My mother was a University Professor and so academic excellence was a very valuable currency in my world. As early as 4 years old, when we had the weekly in-house spelling and mutiplication quizzes….yes we had them…I learnt that if I won, I would get the current prize AND be praised, noticed….the centre of their attention.
Fast forward to early teens when I started to grapple with not being very well liked in school because of my competitive nature, I use to complain to my mother who would always respond with the same words, ” You need to know yourself”. She even told me in Latin at times…” Temet Nosce.” It took me 37 years, crossing the ocean and changing my Country to truly understand that the greatest achievement I could ever have and the most precious gem I will ever find…is myself!
Who are you? And why does that matter?…When all the voices in your head are silenced…When that whisper in your ear at a young age said, “you will not amount to anything…you’re just like your….” OR “Why can’t you be like?”… OR “We are……that is what we are like for generations and there is nothing we can do about it.”….when all of that is silenced and you are faced with just you….Who are you?
I am the things that move me, angers me and excites me. I am that which I yearn to do, if only those that mattered would be proud and happy for me to get on with it. I am that memory I hold on to that is that safe place I run to when all the world is crashing down around me. I am the pursuit I would follow every day of my life if money were no object. I am that thing that I do so easily and expertly that I take for granted and never for one moment think, ” I could turn this into a multi-million pound earner.” I am who I am and NOT what I do. I am not what others think of me…I am what I would dare to dream I could be…if only I could silence that dissenting voice in my head. I am the fierce passion that ignites within me, when I’m faced with certain people, places or things. Why do those things affect me and not others? These are the clues to who we are, why we are here and what we should be doing about it.
As we manouevre through these unprecedented (yes that word again) times where we have all been given a “time out” from Above…I do hope it has the same effect on you that moving countries had on me. With all the usual crutches, comfort zones and ways of doing things ripped from us in one fell swoop; we have no choice but introspect. There is a lot of “noise” on social media and the temptation is to fill the void social platform hopping. My suggestion is to make use of this incredible opportunity to dream that dream, write that vision down, write that book and publish that blog. But most importantly, silence the noise in your head and shhhhh…listen to that still small voice deep within you…What is it telling YOU about YOU!?!