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You Must Lead Down Your Own Path

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Sometimes, in the course of trying to be like someone else, we lose sight of who we are. It can get tough when you see so many worthwhile role models whose path or history seems to mirror our own lives. We look to those persons for guidance. We look to those persons for inspiration. And, in the ultimate form of flattery, we mimic their movements and decisions as we use those actions as the map towards our own success.

Unfortunately, what we sometimes forget is that those things are just guides or references or examples of what others have done to get to their destination. These actions do not necessarily have to be yours.

Now, listen, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t follow these actions. A lot of us have mentors that we turn to for guidance and direction. Their words of wisdom and the wealth of their experiences can be a valuable source to help you make the decisions you need to make in your life.

But don’t lose sight of who you are in the process. You are the one that is special and will make a path for yourself.

For all of you out there (and you won’t like that I say this but listen to how I say it), there will never be the next Barack Obama or the next Donald Trump or the next Oprah Winfrey or the next Caroline Kennedy! More importantly, there should never be a Barack Obama, or Caroline, or Oprah, or Donald! The only thing that should be is the first you!

Before you start calling me a hater, listen to how I am saying what I say. When people ask me, “Are you proud that Barack Obama is president?” My response is “I’m happy that he is president but I’m prouder of how he became president.” He did it in a very unique way. His campaign was grass roots. He catered the small money as opposed to the big money. His way was different (and this isn’t a political point so I’m not going to address the fact that it helped that we are in a tight economy and funky time). My point is that he did it very unique.
Sometimes, we spend so much time wanting to be like someone else, we lose sight of the fundamental uniqueness of ourselves. We get upset because we are made to feel like we should be doing something like someone else. We are made to feel insecure if we don’t know the people we are supposed to know. We kick ourselves when others have walked a similar path and we don’t understand why we are not as far along as they are.

Unfortunately, the answer is quite simple. In our haste to believe we have to do what someone else did to get to a particular point, we forget about the uniqueness of ourselves.

For years, I have trained in a very special form of Martial Arts called Upkudo. No, it’s not UPKUDO Karate, it’s just UPKUDO. The U (between K and DO) stands for “Unique”. One of the many lessons that my teacher has shared me is the importance of being “unique”. In her words, she would always say, “So many times, people spend so much energy focusing on copying on one someone else is doing or getting mad at themselves if they can’t do what someone is doing. The simple fact is the one thing that gives us an edge over the next person is that there is literally only one of you. So focus on finding out what works for you and not what you can duplicate from someone else.”

Don’t think that I’m special because I have on many occasions kicked myself because I’ve looked at my friends situations and wondered why I’m not further along. I’ve gotten angry because I questioned my own decisions in light of my career. I’ve wondered whether I’m doing what I’m supposed to do.

Then, after a few fun filled conversations with friends and family, I realized one powerful point. I am exactly where I’m supposed to be, doing what I’m supposed to be doing, which will in turn take me where I am supposed to go.

Remember, it’s okay to look to another person’s actions, choices, and opportunities as a guide for you but don’t try to duplicate their path. They already have their castle. You’re trying to get yours.


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