I woke up this morning before the sun started to rise and got dressed for my morning three-mile run.
There is something incredibly peaceful about running through the mountains of Utah before the sun rises that has left me feeling energized and eager to roll out of bed in the morning. As I look out in every direction, the only thing that I see off in the distance are the snowcapped mountains blending into the horizon.
Recently on my runs, I have been finding the motivation I need to start my day by listening to Gary Vaynerchuk’s podcast series “Tea With GaryVee.”
But today’s episode was one that stood out to me more than usual. It was actually an episode from over the weekend, but still, the meaning and insightfulness from it had captured my full attention.
In a conversation with a listener, Gary was asked, “Is there anything you feel I can do to differentiate myself from everybody else?”
It seems like a pretty common question, one in which almost all of us have surely thought about in the past. But it was Gary’s response that stuck with me more than the question itself.
Without any hesitation, Gary responded by saying, “Of course, by being your honest self. There is only one of you. Like your insecurities and sharing that with the audience, only you can do that. The way your voice sounds, only you can do that. The way you play it, only you can do that.”
Vaynerchuck goes on to say, “I’m me in a world where I watch people trying to be somebody, anybody besides themselves.”
There Is Only One Of You
The reason why this line stood out to me, is because of the truth that it holds.
We live in a world of social comparison. Until we have achieved more than the individuals around us, we don’t let ourselves rest. Until we have more possessions and belongings than everybody else, we don’t allow ourselves to find a sense of happiness and gratitude for what we already do have. Until we feel like we are on the top of the totem pole, we will always feel insecure about the decisions we make and the struggles that we encounter.
What we fail to realize is that the only way to be different is to be different.
Everybody else is out there trying to be just like somebody else. What we should be doing instead, is trying to be who we truly are as an individual. There is only one of you that has the ability to influence the world in ways that only you can. There is only one of you that can clearly speak your thoughts. There is only one of you who has the ability to be sincere and completely transparent, and that is you.
Why is it that we try to hide our true selves from the world? Why is it that we are afraid to cast our greatness into the community that we live in? Why is it that we try to be somebody we’re not instead of being the person we were born to be? Why do we not let ourselves shine in a world that so desperately needs it?
Personally speaking, the reason why I tried to be somebody I wasn’t for so much of my life is because I was scared. I was scared that others wouldn’t like me for the real me. I was scared that my struggles would overshadow my strengths. And I was scared that if those around me didn’t like and love me, then I would never be able to like and love myself.
While it took me a while to figure out, what I finally realized is that in trying to be the person I thought others wanted me to be, all I was really doing was giving up my greatest strength – being the individual that I was born to be.
Did I fear that I was going to be judged by others for being the real me? Did I question my ability to succeed or ever amount to the expectations that I had set for myself? Did I doubt if I was ever going to be liked or accepted by my peers? Yes, yes, and yes.
At the same time, however, I didn’t feel as though my life had much purpose and meaning by trying to be just like everybody else, so it was a change that I was slowly but surely willing to make.
I also realized that if I wanted to stand out in this world, if I wanted to live the absolute best life that I could possibly live, and if I wanted to inspire as many lives as I possibly could, then there was simply no other option but to be my true authentic self. I needed to learn how to love myself for who I am, to be kind to myself every single passing day, and I need to let my light shine because there isn’t anyone else on this planet who can shine their light on the world in the same ways that I can.
Saying this doesn’t mean that we are better or worse than any other being. It simply means that we are all different and that we all have a unique way of impacting the world around us. This is something we should feel proud of, not ashamed of.
The world doesn’t need another Gary Vaynerchuck. The world doesn’t need another Michael Bonnell. The world needs you, and the world needs you to be the individual that you were meant to be.
You are never going to be exactly like anybody else, and nobody else is ever going to be exactly like you. Instead of trying to fight that, learn to accept it, learn to embrace it, and learn to love yourself for all that makes you different because there is only one of you and that will always be your greatest strength.