Our stories and our contributions are as diverse as we are. Society is filled with amazing individuals… some with the ability to do what they love… and others making the daily decision to love what they do. Is either group misguided in their approach to happiness, to contentment, to relationships, to vocational and professional choices, to life in general?
Viewing ourselves as inferior, we struggle to bridge the gap between our performance and that of the so-called “superstars” in our world. Like much of the entertainment media we expose ourselves to, we seem to have nothing better to do than to tear ourselves down at the altar of a select few… while the world watches.
Why are we so insistent upon comparing ourselves to one another? Why do we assume that there is only one way to be truly successful or to obtain genuine contentment? What is it within us that makes us think that everyone else’s path, their stories, are the only ones’ worthy of recognition – and that our path, our story, is somehow… invalid?
Of the individuals I mentioned earlier (those with the ability to do what they love… and those making the daily decision to love what they do), I firmly believe that each is more valuable than they believe themselves to be. We find people in both groups rising and facing the wonders and the challenges of every day on purpose – both making a difference in their world and that of others – and both contributing to the endeavors of the other; much of the time without even being remotely aware of their profound impact on their world.
Unfortunately, our society rarely (if ever) rewards them equally. We tend to applaud the squeaky wheel or the loudest voice in the room. We ascribe accolades to the shiny objects or the most visible endeavors; relegating the support roles (what I call the “quite warriors”) to live in the shadows of the hype. Because our society only highlights or acknowledges the few, our perceptions of our individual contribution are malnourished, at best.
Everyone has a story – and every story is valuable. Our stories make us who we are, but their potency is a matter of perception. That’s why comparisons are literally a waste of valuable time, energy, effort and brain cells. Let’s stop comparing our stories, our journeys, our victories and our tragedies. Let’s bring what we have to the table with the intention of sharing and mixing with others, for the purpose of making something new – together.
There is one, obvious, barrier – Attitude. Notwithstanding the narcissistic among us, when we begin to ascribe value to our own contributions, we are likely to more readily appreciate the stories and contributions of others.
“The great thing about an attitude is that it’s yours and you can change it. – Joyce Meyer, Christian Author
Leading Edge: We are not responsible to make others acknowledge or believe that they are valuable, but we can express our views toward them… giving them a glimpse of what we see and opening up the possibility that they are valuable. We should not be surprised to find ourselves in a position to engage in constructive critique and instruction while simultaneously acknowledging value… but as leaders, we can be a model to follow. If we can embrace the reality that we are all valuable contributors: to the process, to the organization, to each other and to our world – I dare say, we will accomplish so much more than we ever thought possible.