...and the rest of us fall somewhere in-between.
I found myself in search of inspiration so I had decided to explore the streets of downtown Vancouver. I liken Vancouver and its people to a bottle of concentrated Ribena: it’s a small city packed full of colorful people from all walks of life, and if given the right outlet to express themselves, a sort of conscious osmosis occurs and their creativity reaches and inspires others.
I had bumped into an old friend of mine who I hadn’t seen in over 4 years, so the last time he and I connected, The Lion’s Life was still a passion project and the life I live now was just a pipe dream. So we decided to go for a beer and catch up.
Catching up with old friends is one of those random joys in life, especially when so much time has passed and you can feel the measure of personal growth and development. When we’re taken back to a specific moment in time, it’s not long before we face the truth of our personal development and questions like these rise up to the forefront of our consciousness:
“What have I really accomplished in the last few years?”
“Am I truly happy with my life today?”
“Am I living up to my full potential?”
...and so on.
Although this didn’t happen during our conversation.
Listening to how my friends’ success unfolded, I had picked up on a significant behaviour we had both learnt to develop, we had both started to express, and be comfortable with, our truths. Over the last four years he and I had spent more efforts on trying to be authentic, and had made significant improvements on presenting our most authentic selves. From personal relationships through to professional pursuits, we had both made several advances from where we once were. We both feel incredibly successful yet the size of our bank accounts and online following just didn’t matter, and those details felt trivial to what we were describing and how we were feeling.
It dawned on me that we can really class individuals by a level of authenticity, and that perhaps success and fulfillment correlates with where individuals fall on this spectrum of truth:
I started to reel back on things I’d learned/am learning about people through my life coaching practice, and how often people primarily contact me because of an inability to face their inner truth alone.
The more truth that is suppressed the more life feels restricted and unfulfilling. What’s even more astounding, is how few opportunities there are for people to feel like they can express themselves honestly and openly, in their everyday lives. I suppose this also gives insight to the relationship/dating struggles people are facing in this city, and around the world even, because my international clients experience very similar difficulties... but that’s a blog post for another day.
I’ve always argued that success is never about how much wealth or popularity we can accumulate, because that version of success is merely an ideology. An idea that wealth and popularity will give us the adequacy we desire, and that we can buy our way into self-actualization. Which is ironic because to be actualized, one does not expect nor require validation from others.
I believe true success is tied to the feeling of complete fulfillment, and genuine fulfillment can only be achieved when we live true to who we are, and can express confidently how we feel. That trivial pursuit of wealth and popularity is really a yearning for acceptance and validation, which is counter-productive to what we’re truly aiming for, which is liberation. We should ask ourselves what it is we’re being accepted for, if we’re constantly moulding our identities to get ahead, fit in, and shaping our lives to appear more fulfilling than they actually are.
Just imagine how much more successful we all would feel and be, if we could unapologetically self-express, feel safe and secure enough to present our most authentic selves, and communicate to each other honestly and openly.