“Just trust yourself, then you will know how to live.” Goethe
There is an old saying in self help circles: discovery before recovery. I call it discovering and honoring your core essence. The times that I’ve have really gotten myself in trouble were when I was trying to be something that I wasn’t. The example I always gave in classes when I was doing seminars on self empowerment were my experiences as a sales/marketing executive. I always made my sales quota, all my customer were satisfied with my performance and enjoyed working with me and my boss thought I was doing a good job. Everyone was happy except one person: that person was me. Most salesmen are natural extroverts. Extroverts are energized and brought to life by people, whereas introverts are energized by thoughts and ideas. For me, a good book usually trumps an evening out socializing and living it up. Sales and marketing positions require lots of socialization and the occasional wining and dining of clients. Introverts prefer people on a one to one basis rather than large groups. We (introverts) believe that the larger the group the smaller the talk. After some painful soul searching, I acknowledged to myself that I was an introvert and accepted the reality that a sales/marketing position (especially for an organization that had that indifferent and impersonal mentality of a large corporation) was not a good fit and wasn’t consistent with who I was and what I wanted to become. This awareness and courage to “come out the closet” provided me with the opportunity to make decisions that would make my life work better and with more integrity (i.e. making my actions and behavior consistent with my beliefs). I began to pursue a livelihood that reflected the real me. I started a counseling practice (essentially having one on one relationships with people who desired real communication about substantive issues (little room for small talk), writing (a solitary profession) and teaching seminars in which the necessary research and development of ideas energized me and occupied most of my waking thoughts. The more you know about yourself, the more choices you have in life. People who live their lives with true integrity are those fortunate few who have discovered honoring your core essence is one of the basic keys to lasting happiness and a purposeful existence. It’s not always easy but what is?