I used to think I had to be a bunch of things.
I used to believe I had to emulate a bunch of people.
Like, I had to be like my parents. Then I had to be like my best friends. Then I had to be like some famous person. In college, I wanted to paint like a student whom I admired. In seminary, I wanted to be able to speak like a pastor I envied. Then I wanted to teach like my favorite teacher and write like my favorite writer.
And still today, I think we are subtly told that we have to reach certain benchmarks, do certain things, emulate certain people.
And if we do that, we will be…
The thing about success is that it doesn’t come just from envying the gifts other people have. It goes beyond emulating our heroes. We have to accept that we will not teach like that teacher, preach like that preaching, write like that writer, paint like that painter. (And my God, that’s been a tough lesson for me to learn).
We have to let ourselves become good at being…ourselves. Whatever it is that makes us…ourselves. Because trying to be a knock-off version of other people is a lousy way to live.
It is only when we become good at being ourselves that we ever become the objects of inspiration for others.