Sometimes staying true to yourself is the most difficult thing to do. The irony is that this is also sometimes the biggest compliment you can pay yourself.
I was at a wedding of good friends this past weekend. I had only known the bride & groom for a little over a year (my wife and the bride became friends at varsity and reconnected a couple of years later), so I wouldn’t pretend to know everything about either of them.
I had an interesting experience though, as I heard so many guests say something similar to “That’s so her!” in referring to the bridal gown, the complimentary jacket the bride decided to wear, the decor and pretty much everything else.
Initially my reaction was to realize that I obviously didn’t know the bride this well. But then I realized that the bride’s long-standing friends were paying her the ultimate compliment; they were congratulating her on executing a wedding that was true to herself.
Society shapes us. Different situations influences the way we act. The people we’re with have different requirements of us.
It’s hard to consistently just be yourself when you are being pulled in so many different directions. But that’s also why it’s the ultimate compliment when you do the things that are true to yourself.
Imagine a designer with a signature style; isn’t it great to recognize that style in a new design that they release?
Or that developer that seems to have this weird, but very successful way of solving pretty much any problem.
What about the CEO in your business? Surely you want the CEO to be consistent, fair and ultimately lead the company in a way that is true to the vision of the CEO / company / team.
We have developed a culture that rewards being fake and being aspiring wannabe’s. We seem to have lost the notion that our inner-most needs and values (as individuals) are still important.
I’m not discounting the fact that there’s best practice for pretty much everything that you can take on today. That said, best practice needs to be the best for others and the best for you. Otherwise it’s just practice.
So if you’re designing something today, design it with your signature style. Write every line of code in the pursuit of solving the problem you’re faced with in your own way. Lead and follow by being true to yourself.
Most importantly: Live your life in your own, unique way.