It's perfectly natural to be influenced by our surroundings. The places, things and most of all the people we surround ourselves with can have a great affect on what we do.
In a competitive world, it's sometimes hard to remember that the only commodity we have 100 percent control of is ourselves. We can't control the weather, the economy, the political climate (at least not directly) or anything else for that matter. We are all prisoners of our own times. But we can be ourselves, and we can decide how we will approach each day.
We all admire people who do something new, different and unique. There is no praise for counterfeit, but sometimes we find ourselves mimicking or following the people we want to be like. And while there are some eternal truths, such as returning calls, being on time, and treating people with respect, each one of us has a unique story to tell and a unique way of telling it.
You are unique, you are different, and you are you. And like your fingerprint, there's no one just like you out there and there never has been. Here are three things that can help you be the very best version of you.
1. Stop chasing other people's dreams.
It's the only way you can achieve your own. Sometimes we only want things because they are hard to get. Ferraris, large homes, jets and even simple things like a better seat at a concert are not always what we really want, but it feels great to achieve them because it validates us and conveys our success to the world.
There is nothing wrong with any of these things, but they can be such daunting goals that we find ourselves flustered trying to attain them. The trick is not thinking about them.
I never chase money. I chase success. If your business model is sound, do the work and the money will fall into your lap. Plant your seeds and the crops will yield.
2. Be comfortable with you.
This doesn't mean show up to work in your pajamas and drop table manners. It's about being you. Accept your failures along with your successes. It's ok to be wrong sometimes. Your ego will do more to tear apart your business relationships, whether it's partners, clients or vendors you depend on to make your venture successful.
The Beatles are arguably one of the most successful bands of all time and while each member went on to record their own albums and had varied levels of success, most of them kept singing old Beatles songs. People wanted The Beatles. Egos get in the way and destroy what would otherwise be successful ventures.
Find out what makes you tick. What do you really like? Play it out in your mind and ask yourself, what would your perfect week look like? Be idealistic, dreams are achievable. You might be surprised to discover that most of your favorite things are not hard to get or expensive. I found that when I actually had the money to buy something I thought I always wanted, it was often enough to know that I could buy it if I wanted to.
3. Convey the real you.
If you can find out who you are and be yourself, you will be happy. Happiness is the easiest and most natural thing to communicate to others. Happiness is contagious. People spend all of their lives looking for it.
No one will care about how much your shoes cost or what type of car you drove if you're not nice. My favorite poet, Maya Angelou wrote: "People will forget what you say and will forget what you do, but people will never forget how you made them feel." As I read that for the first time as a boy, my heart sank and I realized that I had not been the person I knew I could be.
Sometimes in life we become someone we never imagined possible or that we never knew we were, even though we have always been that person from the very day we were created.
As I sit here now and consider my life and my small place in the world, I recognize that we all have something to learn and I hope that I will continue to find myself and become the very best version of me, Nate Holzapfel.