The Greek philosopher Socrates suggested, “The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.” No one disputes to grow in business we must develop and manage our reputation. Some will say that Socrates’ quote is the same as the modern quips of “fake it ’til you make it” or “act as if.” The inquiry that comes about, for me, is what or who are we faking or acting out that we think we aren’t?
I think the answer is – We are faking or acting out what we think we should be and fearing we aren’t, in relation to our co-created delusions of what society, our friends, and family want of us. The part that can easily trip us up is our misconception of what we think others may want us to be.
Often I see people doing their best only to achieve a runner-up performance of someone else rather than stepping into the champion version of their own authentic self. Between you and me, I would much rather be with the true authentic person I am with, rather than a pretender for someone who is not even there.
Here’s the trap – There are as many interpretations of our reputation as there are people who know us or know of us. Trying to manage all of those from the intellect can be exhausting. To get our energy back, manage it from the heart. The way to do so is by connecting in lovingly and free of fear both with our self and with others. Bring forth our true nature which knows it can handle whatever may come about rather than dancing around avoiding potential imagined upset. Let’s face it, if someone is going to be upset, they’ll do it with or with us; as if we even have that kind of power.
“Connect lovingly and free of fear”
When I catch myself playing it safe…and by the way, safe is a dangerous place to hang out if we are looking to make progress, I am reminded of Rumi’s words, “Run from what’s comfortable. Forget safety, live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious.” That seems pretty much like a 180 degree turn from what Socrates suggests.
Is it scary to take that on? For me the answer is yes. I’ve put a lot of work in to my current reputation and reducing risks and playing it safe. Be notorious? Are you kidding me? How do I do that while serving and not offending others? However, in all the biographies I’ve ever read of people that have had a profound and positive impact on others, they found a way. Should we find our way?
If you are going to offend, offend those who play small and belittle others. Offend them by stepping into your full potential and being so strong that nothing disturbs your peace of mind.
If you are going to forget safety, remember who you really are and what you really have wanted for yourself in this life. It’s not too late. You are bigger than anything that can ever happen to you. The perception of safety is a double yellow line that we think keeps us safe from another car coming in to our lane. If you think you are safe remain aware and ready to react…ready to live. Notice where in life you may have painted your double yellow lines and have lulled into a false sense of safety.
Hunter S. Thomson, an American journalist and author shared this, “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, WOW! What a Ride!”
Whether to the body or the ego, I think we all have a few more story laden scrapes, bumps and bruises and WOWs, ready to be shared with the world.
Make it up, make it fun, and get it done!