I’ve started to describe myself as a truth-teller for a few reasons.
Many years ago, at church, I had a group leader share with me something he told someone else about me: “Mary Rose will tell you the truth.”
I can’t tell you how much that meant to me. No one had ever said it to me before but as soon as his words hit my ears, I realized how much it confirmed who I was. I am someone who will lovingly tell the truth, as often as I can.
Now anyone who knows me knows that I’ve never met a personal development assessment I didn’t like. So when I took the online assessment through a code given in this book, and then read in the book the description of my primary strength, I was stunned.
My primary strength is called “The Equalizer” (visions of Robert McCall is dancing in my head). From the book:
You are a level-headed person. The world is best for you when it is in balance. What tips the world out of balance for you? When people don’t tell the truth. Politics and finessing are anathema to you. You feel strengthened by the truth and you tell the truth. Sometimes quite bluntly.
Only those close to me know that I can be blunt. Usually I’m as gentle as a kitten with those who are acquaintances. But it made me finally understand why I felt like such a corporate misfit for so long.
I tell the truth and I like it when others tell the truth. But hardly anyone tells the truth in the corporate world. The description above is accurate – it’s mostly a lot of politics and finessing. And quite frankly, finessing bores me.
I like to get things done. I like it when people tell me they really don’t want to do something and here’s the reason why rather than string me along with a “maybe.”
From my observation, the reason that most of the time things don’t get done is because individuals are more concerned with “finessing” or playing politics than actually making decisions that will move a company forward.
I am also an artist.
Yes, I can draw and even write some halfway decent love sonnets, but as an artist, I realized that my creative heart was expected to stay under lock and key in the corporate world.
I stayed in a stupid, menial job for eight years for a worldwide insurance brokerage company simply because I didn’t have the guts to face that truth. And that was with a college degree.
I was trying as hard as I could to fit in with my understanding of success; which was find a job in a large corporation and move up the ladder.
Except once I got on the ladder, I realized I was stuck on the first rung. I was trying to convince everyone I was worthy to be moved up the ladder but yet failed to realize that I was on the wrong ladder to begin with.
It has taken me a long time (and quite a few jobs) to discover 1) what I really love to do 2) what I’m good at doing and 3) how to make money doing it so I’m not eating ramen noodles the rest of my life.
Srinivas Rao, for those of you who don’t know him, has created a beautiful book called The Art of Being Unmistakable: A Collection of Essays About Making a Dent in the Universe. I’m just getting to know him, myself. For some reason, this book is hitting me like a ton of bricks.
I feel like I’m a kindred spirit to Rao. However, I’ve gone through the same gauntlet, trying hard to fit in with the ideal corporate mold and then wondered why I was so miserable and why it wasn’t working.
The book is a collection of essays that talk about being a non-B.S. version of you. It’s about taking your signature and putting it on things, as only you can do. It’s about being authentic and finding your own unique gifts and then sharing them with others.
I know some of you have heard those words before. But maybe we all need to keep hearing them so that we do it.
Since launching my freelance copywriting business, I have noticed a few things.
First, I have never been happier in my life.
Second, there are a lot of mimics in the world.
And third, I think my gift is helping people not be a mimic in their business but to find their “true North” where they will be authentic and transparent about what they, and they alone, can bring to the table.
As Rao says in his book:
If you try to mimic, copy, or emulate anybody else, at best you will be a pale imitation.
This is the copywriter’s challenge: to find that hidden gold of who a company is and then wrap the service offerings with the right kind of emotional trigger points for a specific target market.
But without that hidden gold, it’s all for naught.
Anyway, if you’re reading this right now, and wondering if you may be a corporate misfit, I have a few suggestions.
Then, don’t let it sit on the bookshelf of your mind, collecting dust.
Act on it. Start asking yourself a lot of questions. Start to understand what makes you unique, what you love to do, and what is meaningful to you.
I wish I had these two books when I was in my twenties but alas, I didn’t. They would have saved me a lot of time. I would have realized that there was another option between becoming a corporate mimic and a starving artist.
It just took me a little longer to get there. So what about you? Are you ready to be unmistakable? Remarkable? An artist?
Go for it.