Be Bold, Be Amazing, Be Yourself!

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”   Marianne Williamson

What Are You Afraid Of?

Why is it so hard for us to be ourselves?  What are we so afraid of?  We’re afraid:

  • people won’t accept us as we are
  • people won’t like us
  • that we’re not good enough
  • that we’re not enough.

So what.

Who are you trying so hard to please and why is that important to you?

If you’re a writer or artist who waters down your art to appeal to the masses, do you honestly think that everyone will like what you create?  Do you like everything that everyone creates?  Whose art do you like and why?  Your answer to ‘why’ probably has something to do with how the artist expresses him/herself in a unique and genuine way that doesn’t appeal to the masses.

If you work in a corporate environment, you probably work hard to please your boss.  Do you do this by doing what you’re told, keeping your head down and blending in?  Or do you consciously think about how you can be different from everyone else?  If you’re looking for a promotion, would your boss want to promote the person he/she can’t differentiate from anyone else in the department?  Or the person who pushes the boundaries and does something different and amazing that helps the company?

If you’re in a service industry, you want to please your customers.  Do you do this by doing what you think the customer expects and nothing more?  Or do you deliver your services in a completely different and unique way?  Which experience will that customer remember?  Will every customer appreciate your alternative methods of delivering your service?  No, but the ones that do won’t leave and will spread the good word for you.  And you’re better off letting the rest go.

In your interactions with friends and family, do you go with the flow and do what others around you are doing or what you think they expect of you?  Or do you do things your own way because you know it’s a better expression of who you are?  If you’re doing life the way that others expect you to, how happy are you?  You may be accepted and liked but what are you giving up for that?  Do you want to be like your friends or do you want something different?  If you want something different, it may be time to find new friends who will support you in being yourself.

Being Liked Is a No-Win Game

Humans are social creatures who thrive in groups.  We’re naturally drawn to people like us.  With seven billion unique individuals on this planet, no one will ever be liked by everyone.  Not even Mother Theresa.  We’re liked by other people in our groups and the smaller the group, the more meaningful the connections and levels of acceptance.

Working to have someone like you means giving up your version of your life to follow a script written by the other person.  When they don’t like or accept you or say that they’re disappointed in you, it’s because you’re not meeting their expectations.  You didn’t write their rules but you’re making sacrifices to adhere to them.

When we pretend to be someone other than ourselves or purposely hide our true selves, we rob ourselves of the ability to connect deeply with others.  And it’s these connections that make life so meaningful.  Brené Brown has done extensive research on how being open , vulnerable, courageous and uniquely you allows these connections to enhance our lives.  Check out her amazing TED talk here.

Rather than tip-toeing around in fear of that one person who won’t like you (they will always be out there), open your eyes to the group of people who love who you are and what you do.  Play to that group in your own unique way and watch yourself and that group grow.

Banish the Demons

Next, let’s address the internal demons of ‘not enough’ and ‘not good enough.’  Where the hell did these come from anyway?  In my opinion, most of it comes from our school systems that expect everyone to be the same, learn the same things in the same ways and have the same results.  And because our parents want us to do well in school, those same expectations are reinforced at home.  How utterly impossible is that!

We’re judged as “not good enough” if we don’t meet all the standardized expectations.  Standards are based on massive generalizations of people who, individually, don’t meet the standards.  They’re either above or below them. By default, 99% of us aren’t “good enough.”

Good enough for what or who?  What is enough and who decided it?  Who wants to play that game?

The system tells us that our grades in subjects that are irrelevant to us and our future must be good enough to get a “good job” doing something that we’ll hate in a couple years.  Then we’re judged as failures if we want to do something completely different.

As kids we internalize “getting good enough grades” as “being good enough.”  Our society teaches us that what we do is who we are.  We take these beliefs into adulthood without realizing it and beat ourselves up for not being like other people.

A New Beginning

What if we did what we loved from the beginning, without being compared to others and standards?  What if we could use our own unique strengths and passions to create a life that’s uniquely ours?  Our focus would be on how we could best contribute to others by offering our unique gifts.

There would be no fears of lack of acceptance or being “enough” because we wouldn’t compare ourselves to anyone.  If everyone did their best at being their best, there would be a lot more happy people in this world.

Let’s work together to give our children this new beginning.

Simple Steps

  1. Identify where you’re playing small in your life or where you’re not being yourself: relationships, work, personal expression, etc.
  2. Take some time to write, in infinite detail, all the ways you think, things you do, ways you limit yourself or censor yourself in each of these areas.  Know that you’re limiting yourself if you’re not getting the results you’re after.
  3. Write how you feel about that.
  4. In each area, write how you would do your life differently if no one ever judged you.  Go into as much detail as possible as if you’re writing the script for a movie.  Don’t write about what you wouldn’t do or what you would avoid.  Write in the present tense how you would do things and how you would think.
  5. Write how you feel about that.
  6. Find one, small aspect of what you wrote in step 4 and implement it today.  It may be an action or a way of thinking.  For example, if you have been thinking about taking an action but haven’t because you’re not sure how it will be received, do it today and release the judgment.
  7. Every few days, refer back to your movie script and implement one more aspect of it into your life.  Make sure the actions are small (unless you’re ready for a big leap, then more power to ya!).
  8. Every six months, repeat all of the above steps.

All you have is the present moment.  The past is gone and can’t be changed so forget it.  What you think and do right now is creating your future.  What can you do, who can you be, right now to create the life you want?

Acknowledge your awesomeness!  [Tweet this]


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23 Responses to Be Bold, Be Amazing, Be Yourself!

    Fran Sorin
    Commented:  07/29/2012 at 3:39 am

    Paige….For years I felt terrible because I watered myself down in order to fit in. Once I realized that in a lot of situations that i was ‘too big for the room’, it gave me a sense of my core being AND it helped me to be more selective about the environments where i placed myself.

    Some of the most talented artists say that if there isn’t controversy over their art, they have failed. I read somewhere that Paul Simon that if an album was too successful he knew that he had failed. His best work only was embraced by a selective audience. Talk about having a sense of yourself and confidence in who you are. xxoo-Fran
    Fran Sorin recently posted..50 Inspirational Quotes About Play That Will Jump Start Your CreativityMy Profile

      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  07/30/2012 at 11:12 am


      That’s awesome that you recognized your own awesomeness and nurtured it instead of trying to cover it up. As the saying goes: We’re the sum of the five people we spend the most time with. I’m so grateful for my friendship with you.

      I don’t know of any great artist that appeals to the masses. Those who work for massive appeal have to water themselves down. I recently read Stephen King’s book, On Writing. Although he’s wildly successful, he talks about how much hate mail he receives.

      We all need to be true to ourselves in all aspects of our lives to feel good. And there will always be a group of people who doesn’t like us for that because we either don’t share similar tastes or they feel threatened by people who have the courage to be themselves. Bullies are usually the insecure people who need to pull others down to feel better about themselves.

      Keep on being your own amazing self Fran!

      Big, Big Hugs!!!

    Commented:  07/29/2012 at 9:27 am

    i loved that quote
    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure” \
    thank you for the inspiring post Paige :)

      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  07/30/2012 at 11:13 am

      Thank you for being here Farouk! I love to read that quote when I feel like I’m playing small and need to turn my mindset around.

      You’re awesome!!!

    Nancy Shields
    Commented:  07/29/2012 at 9:49 am

    This is an amazing post and I love The Power of Vulnerability video – I have shared it and will share your article.

    We are the story tellers – like the video stated, a story is data with a soul. So write your best story in the best of your ability – living a life of abundance through joy, love and more love.

    Thank you for sharing your inspiration with us,

      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  07/30/2012 at 11:16 am


      Thanks so much for sharing! If we’re not creating and expressing our own best stories, we’re simply copying the stories of others. And what fun is that?

      I love Brene’s message at WDS that it’s cool to be uncool. We can’t connect with others if we’re busy trying to be cool/someone else.

      Big Hugs!!

    Tyler Tervooren
    Commented:  07/29/2012 at 10:34 am

    Hey Paige, great prompt. The one thing that’s probably changed my mind the most is realizing that most people don’t actually care about how I live my life as long as it doesn’t get in their way. It’s really freeing to not worry about judgment.
    Tyler Tervooren recently posted..Field Report: I Wrote a Novel in 120 Hours (And So Can You)My Profile

      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  07/30/2012 at 11:21 am

      That’s so true Tyler! Most people care much more about how they look to others to have the time to care much about others. They live in constant fear of judgment and play small as a result. I know I spent much of my life in that camp and it sucks.

      Loved your last field report! We can all achieve amazing results following the steps laid out there.

    Sarah | Holistic Hot Sauce
    Commented:  07/29/2012 at 6:29 pm

    As always you express my exact sentiments so eloquently Paige. Plus you’ve started with one of my favorite quotes of all time! I’ve wasted far too much of this life stressing about who likes me, who doesn’t, why don’t they like me, etc. etc. I’d be dishonest if I said I’d completely ditched that thinking – but now I’m starting to notice what stories are going on inside my head and making my choices based on the instincts from my heart and my gut, and not monkey mind’s ideas of how to best please others.

    Recently I’ve noticed that when I do things I’m sure certain people won’t like, they actually like me BETTER for it. And that’s because I’m finally embracing who I am and being authentic to my own self. I know that I am DONE following other people’s scripts. I’m writing my own story now because indeed who am I NOT to be brilliant, fabulous, talented…?

    Love your simple steps tool This is a bookmarker. Thanks again Paige!
    Sarah | Holistic Hot Sauce recently posted..Action Makes Anything Possible. Here’s Why I KnowMy Profile

      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  07/30/2012 at 11:27 am

      Thanks so much Sarah! You’re definitely on the right path with your “uniquely you” writing. I love your style! I completely identify with how the monkey mind can take over and lead us down the slippery slope if we’re not careful.

      Like you, I can’t say that judging mindset is completely gone but it has much less power over me than it used to. I replaced worrying about what others might think with focusing on how I can help others, regardless of how I may look. Boy, does that feel better! I’ve also learned not to take things personally. Other people are coming from other places and I can’t control how they think or what they do and that’s OK with me.

      I absolutely loved your last post. Totally inspiring!!!

      Big Hugs!!!

    Vidya Sury
    Commented:  07/30/2012 at 10:38 am

    I loved the steps you outlined, Paige. I practice them .Success and progress, however, come only when we are brave enough to ignore what others might think. :-)

    Nothing truer than that quote about our fear.

    And: “It’s not what you are that holds you back, It’s what you think you are not” (Denis Waitley)

    Very inspiring post! Love, Vidya
    Vidya Sury recently posted..Book Review: I, Rama Age of SeersMy Profile

      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  07/30/2012 at 11:31 am

      Love that Dennis Waitley quote! Sometimes I like to imagine what the world might be like if there was no judgment and people only acted from their hearts. It’s a beautiful place! And you’re definitely living that way. I’m so blessed to have you as a friend!

      Big, Big Hugs!!!

    Commented:  08/01/2012 at 11:15 am

    Hi Paige –

    I found you through TB. I lurk a lot in those forums and truly leave a comment when I feel I can contribute or add value. Anyway, truly enjoyed this post. I especially like “When we pretend to be someone other than ourselves or purposely hide our true selves, we rob ourselves of the ability to connect deeply with others.” Ain’t that the truth. I’ve finally come to realized that loving myself and becoming my ultimate best is the BEST way to serve the world. I truly resonate with Marianne Williamson’s Return to Love’s famous quote:

    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
    ― Marianne Williamson, Return to Love

    Thanks for sharing.

    P.S. Enjoyed all the comments too! =)

      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  08/01/2012 at 11:35 am

      Thanks so much Shenz and so glad you found me!

      I completely agree with you: “loving myself and becoming my ultimate best is the BEST way to serve the world.” Nothing amazing and awesome ever happened from people following the crowd and trying to be someone else. I love getting to know people better by asking “heart questions” – those questions that get people excited and talking about what they love. And you can’t fake that.

      Big Hugs!!

    Commented:  08/02/2012 at 6:37 am

    Just what I needed to read at the moment, thanks Paige :)

    My first time on your lovely blog too, going to pop along and read more now.

    Emily recently posted..Fabulous four (my love list)My Profile

    Angela Artemis|Powered by Intuition
    Commented:  08/04/2012 at 8:16 am

    Hi Paige,
    Love this topic. I don’t think we ever stop to examine hoe much pressure we’re put under to conform to the norms of society. It usually becomes apparent when we realize we’re not happy with what is and start searching for the deeper meaning of our lives. That’s when we realize we are in a self-made prison.

    It’s not easy to “break-out” of either. But, one of the biggest hurdles is to stop caring about what others think of what you’re doing. Once you do that – creating a life that is authentic to you is much easier.

    Thanks for the great post!
    Angela Artemis|Powered by Intuition recently posted..How Community Service Serves You – Not Just the CommunityMy Profile

      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  08/05/2012 at 12:02 pm

      Thanks Angela! The more I study the topic, the more deeply I find the early societal programming of people goes. The first time I saw The Matrix, I thought it was an interesting concept. After much research, I think it’s a lot closer to reality than most people think.

      Societal programming includes a lot of fear for not following the norms. Once we look behind the curtain and see those fears as the made-up stories that they are, we realize that we can live our lives as we want.

      The more authentic we are, the more deeply we can connect with others because others see that we’re being honest in how we’re presenting ourselves. What you see is what you get.

      I love how you’ve shed your programmed shell to express your True Self and help so many people in the process!
      Paige Burkes recently posted..Simple Living Is About More Than De-ClutteringMy Profile

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