“Will the real me please stand up”
I have been an avid reader and writer all my life. Into what category that goes, I wouldn’t have a clue. I had loads of pen pals all around the world. I loved writing, sometimes their letters were one or two pages, and mine were 5-10! I always had so much to say. I think it came from that dream world of mine, where I imagined so many different things, not understanding what they all meant. I remember getting sent to my room, how boring that was! I would get out my pencil and paper and write down unsolicited nonsense!
I've been told in the past that I am a wordsmith. I didn’t even know what that meant. I know I was a bookworm. I loved reading and acquiring knowledge, and learning new things, especially stuff that interested me. I read and read, and read and read. I went to school and flunked miserably. I didn’t really care, and always had an awful sense of who I was on the inside. It’s no wonder I flunked!
As the years rolled by, and they did, I came to a place in my life where it was a new journey, a new life. And all those years of dreaming, and reading, and writing, and flunking at school - came back to me as I tipi haere’d off to Australia, to go to college over there to study and learn. I read even more and more and more, I had to, or else I would flunk my exams! Can't have that happening.
I read just about every book I can think of on personal development, relationships, interpersonal stuff, leadership, groups, everything; and when I got hitched, increased my library on everything to do with Venus and Mars! I purchased volumes and sets of all kinds of books, dictionaries, commentaries, and the like.
Among the many books I read, I remember: “Will the real me please stand up”
and “Why am I afraid to tell you who I am?”
- John Powell.
These books, in particular, gripped me and took me on a journey that evoked emotions that I had not experienced in many years. I wanted them to mind their own business and go back where they came from! As if. The following are the key points that I recall:
- The real me daren’t stand up!
- I am afraid to tell you who I am because you might not like me, and it’s all I've got.
- Who am I? How would I know?
- I couldn’t make sense of any of it, I just knew that it was true.
I have discovered in life, many years later, finally reaching a place of acceptance of who I am regardless of the past, or of what anyone else thinks of me. It was a long hard road and not always a pleasant one.
What has this got to do with business?
It’s like this, if you are in business you need to ask: Who am I? How do others see me? How do I see myself? How do I want others to see me? If I value myself, does that extend into how I treat myself, and others? Upon what do I build my integrity, and my business?
You are the life of your business - you're it.
If you are a sole-trader (like me), you are it. Your integrity is on the line at all times, and you better be ready for those darts and demons that come your way to remind you of those inner voices and emotions that you tried so hard to keep in their place, for so long! They come in many different forms. A letter, a text, an email, face-to-face, a book, TV, music, anything. What is your answer to those questions and how do they impact you as a business owner?
You are the backbone of your business
- you have got to believe in yourself and in your business. It is a reflection of you and all that you stand for, in the form of your products and services, delivery to your customers. Your customers? - that’s right. Your customers, how do you treat them? Do you value them? Like, seriously, value them and appreciate them - not just say and do all the right nice things because it’s your job to, or you are expected or required to do, because if you don’t you won't make any money! When it’s called for, be prepared to stand your ground and not be defined by another person’s reaction. Draw the line and don’t let anyone cross it!
You are the brain of your business
- you are going to encounter situations in business that are trying and difficult, and recurring. Sometimes an old demon will rear its ugly head (and yes, very ugly), and will come back to haunt and taunt, and say: “Please others, you don’t matter. Don’t rock the boat and don’t dare say what you really think, keep the peace and be obliging, and all will go well.” The words I have in response to that would not be fitting on this professional platform, but you can imagine! Your brain functionality needs to be alive and well, and active, and knows how to deal with any and every situation, person, place or thing, that you will encounter.
People don’t know who you are until you stand up for who you are
- that’s right, now, the real me better stand up and declare: “This is who I am, like it or not, this is it.” Fight for your rights, fight for your integrity, how others see you is a reflection of how you see yourself; and if you don’t like their reflection, as much as you want to tell them where to get off, you actually need to tell yourself, “Get out of my way, I've got a job to do!” I have to fight myself on a regular basis. I am my biggest obstacle. I want to blame everyone and everything else for getting in my way, I forget to go back to my mirror, eeeeeeek!
“Ahau, i nga mea katoa” - I am everything
Lenna K. Millar (Director)
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