In this blog post, I’ll share a story with you on how to stay authentic.
Wow. This man is full of confidence, I thought to myself. If I could only be like him. He has everything under control. Strong. Intellectual. Authentic.
I looked at the car as it drove away and stayed there for a few minutes. This man was everything I wanted to be. But I was shy. I was quiet. How am I to be like him with no experience? No money. And most sadly, I have NO faith in myself. That night I went home and turned on my computer. After searching for a few minutes online I found out, that the man I saw today. He was the Vice President of the biggest Utility Vehicle Import Export Company in South East Asia. I read everything about him that I could find and absorbed every article written about him. Thanks to technology, information is at our fingertip at all times.
In the next 5 years, I was working on myself. Everyday. I woke up thinking of my idol and worked hard to gain the respect that I had for this man. Every meeting when I was about to be quiet again I forced myself to say something. Anything. Most of the times it was valuable. Every time somebody tried to take advantage of me I made clear that I am not tolerating this anymore. I know, people knew me as the shy and nice person who always says Yes and Amen to everything. Even though that’s not what I wanted I never dared to say No. I never did what I wanted for myself. All wanted was to be liked and to be part of the group. Whether it was in school, on the football team or in college. It was hard at first and I had to practice daily to go after what I wanted. A lot of friends have turned their backs on me. Thinking about it today I know they weren’t real friends. Real friends would have supported me. Even my family started saying that I changed. There were times that I wanted to go back to the old me. Saying Amen to all there is. Pleasing everybody. Everybody but myself. Then I thought of that moment, 5 years ago that changed my life and I decided to be me, myself and I – Every day.
15 years have passed
December 13th I was sitting in the back of the car while the driver took us to the meeting of my company in a joint venture for a new business opportunity. My brother and I stomped this business out of nothing and made it big. It took us years to make it happen but we finally did it. I entered the room as I saw the man I saw 15 years ago. I immediately recognized him. He was older of course but he had the same energy. The same Power, the same Look. I went up to him and respectfully introduced myself.
“Mr. Banks. I am pleased to meet you in person finally. You may not know me but you have changed my life. As a young man, I saw you on 5th Avenue. That glimpse of a moment showed me the way that I have to go. I have been working hard on myself to be just like you. For years. And now that I have the chance… I wanted to ask you a question. It was on my mind in the last decade. Mr. Banks, what is your secret? What is it that makes you be this respected among all your business partners and family members and friends?
Mr Banks looked at me. He started smiling as he said: “There is no greater way of being successful in life than being real. All I ever did .. was being myself.”