Who are you reading? Of course you can always check my “About” page, Google me or evaluate my credentials, but what’s beneath that professional persona? What’s beneath yours? When caught up in the drive to work and to achieve, we can find our selves on empty.
Ironically, by obsessing over approval, over the obsessions to impress, to perfect, to keep others pleased with our performance, we lose sight of our special sparks. We may forget that it’s because of our unique traits that we have been offered the opportunities we have.
What makes you different than other ambitious people around you? Think about it…
What separates you from others is you. So, by taking the time to check in with the parts of your identity that exist independently of your professional self, you are cultivating your potential to innovate, create, to basically run more smoothly and glimmer differently under the same light as the rest. Not to mention, it’s a great feeling knowing that you are so much more than your position at work. You’re a dynamo person. In a sense, by prioritizing your other-than-work obsessions or sanctuaries, you are leading by example. You are disassociating from stress. You are reinforcing your own self-worth and power, inevitably building confidence and ease within yourself and in the workplace.
When I observe myself without work, I see a really beautiful Costa Rican dirt road. Why a dirt road? Because that’s who I am without work, natural, exciting, tropical, perhaps even at a few turns dangerous (remember this is not my work self!). I see myself as a dirt road in paradise because I feel that I constantly hunt for my own paradise; I grew up in a paradise; I travel to paradises (when I have time off and any bit of extra money); I paint, write and lecture about paradise. I’m paradise obsessed as much as I am imperfect, trying to stay true to myself in the midst of all the developing roads and tourists seeking comfort.
Yesterday, when hosting a class discussion on the various philosophies/perceptions of paradise, it occurred to me that the person I’m marrying is also deeply embedded in the grounds of paradise. He’s a landscape architect that grew up near mountains, moved down here to the paradise of our continent and started designing mini versions of paradise through landscape.
When we met, he lived on the beach, on a street near a large park. His studio apartment was decorated with plants, guitars, mini Buddhas and a large poster of his own design, potential plans for an alluding-to-Alice-in-Wonderland garden/landscape. These cool bits about him were wonderful swag on his layers of kindness, loyalty, patience, work-ethic and (not just because I love him!) his incredible charm. My surfing obsession rubbed right off on him, along with my dog. It seems I fit just right in his bungalow.
I was coming off a year dedicated to painting, writing, my dog and not dating. It’s no coincidence that I met him during a time that I was single and fully dedicated to staying single in order to spend some time self-exploring, self-cultivating. Once I paid attention to my authentic self, I met another who was also authentic and befitting.
When I take the time to respect and check in on who I am, aside from work and professional aims, it’s like I’m checking my fluids. Sure, I get to work on time and efficiently, but is my engine in need of anything?
If we don’t take a minute to look under the hood, we might just find our selves struggling to get to where we want to go, or worse, overheated, broke down, done for. Turn off the engine, let it cool, and don’t be afraid to look around, what’s running low? What needs to be replaced? It’s all suddenly coming together, the pieces of my self.
10 Things You Don’t Know About Me
1. I learned to horse back ride when I was five in the Dominican Republic, where my family and I took long expeditions. We stopped at water falls, galloped through pastures and trotted through creeks.
2. I got my first smart phone last year.
3. Spanish was the first language I learned, though born in the states. My parents knew what they were doing because now I’m fluently bilingual.
4. I won a geography bee in second grade; I beat all the grades above me and below. I knew more than the eighth graders about the earth.
6. I won The Miami-Dade County Youth Fair Haiku contest in fifth grade.
7. I won The Miami Herald Haiku contest in grad school.
9. When I was little I got one ear pierced, and I thought it hurt so much that I decided not to pierce the other one for a few years, so I told my friends I was a pirate.
10. People call me a dog whisperer.
What’s ten things your colleagues might not know about you?
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