Many years ago, when I was just beginning my career as an educator and speaker, I had the opportunity to hear a gentleman by the name of Charlie “Tremendous” Jones. He was the most positive, upbeat, enthusiastic, and exciting speaker I had ever heard. He was also a noticeably big man. Not only was he big in physical stature, but his personality was also bigger than life. He was just as dynamic off stage as he was when he was on stage. There is no way I can adequately put that experience into words. Needless to say, I was extremely impressed with “Tremendous” Jones.
He had gotten his nickname because he used the word “tremendous” so often. Whether someone asked him how he was doing, how his business was going, or how his family was doing, his answer was always the same… “Tremendous!” That nickname seemed to characterize his entire life!
Charlie had made a fortune in the world of insurance and was a great salesman, but the thing that impressed me most was his genuine love for people. I admired him and wanted to be like him in many ways, but something inside of me told me that I would never make it. Besides, I was not even in the world of insurance sales.
A few years later, I had the opportunity to hear Zig Ziglar, another man who amazed me with his verbal skills. He was able to tell stories and communicate fascinating truths in concepts that clearly stuck in my mind for long periods of time. I wanted to emulate him, to be like him. But, since he was older and more experienced than me, I knew that I could never be like Zig any more than I could be like Charlie “Tremendous” Jones.
Then something happened that greatly affected my life. I was listening to a preacher by the name of Ron Dunn. He talked about how as a young preacher he had wanted to be like Billy Graham. He said he even practiced Billy Graham’s mannerisms and vocal tones so that he could be just like him. But, regardless of how hard he tried, he seemed to fail because his own voice was higher and “squeakier” than Billy Graham’s. He said many times he had gotten on his knees and asked God to make him like that great preacher. One day God spoke to Ron’s heart and said, “I don’t want you to be Billy Graham. I want you to be Ron Dunn.” At that moment he could not help but think to himself, “Who in the world wants to be a Ron Dunn?!”
Turns out, Ron Dunn was one of the best preachers, speakers and communicators that I had ever heard in my life! As he shared the story that day, something clicked inside my head. I decided I no longer wanted to be Charlie Jones or Zig Ziglar. I thought I would just try to be Robert Rohm. After all, he was probably the one I had the best chance of being like.
I think the best person you will ever be is yourself. It stands to reason that you were designed to be the best version of who you were meant to be! There is nothing wrong with learning from other people. There is nothing wrong with improving yourself and your own skill set. And, if some of the methods and techniques of other people fit you and your personality, it is certainly permissible to use some them, but they must fit you and not be inappropriate or fake. The key is to fully be who you are!
So, if you have not enjoyed being you in the past, why not take a whole new approach this week? Learn to enjoy being “in your own skin” and be the best you that you can possibly be. The world is waiting for you to show up! I will not be a bit surprised if you turn out to be the best you that is possible!
Tip: Don’t be a second-rate version of someone else!
Reprinted with permission from the "Tip of the Week".
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