The Real World vs The Real You

23 Jun

What comes to mind when someone sarcastically makes a remark or reference to “the real world”?  Hard work and low pay?  Settling for less than you think is out there?  The true story of seven strangers… picked to live in a house to find out what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real?  (Hint: If you picked the last one, then congratulations, because you more than anyone should be on my website right now.)

KindaSortaKiddingButNotReally…

Say it:  “The real world”.  It’s one of those awful terms that somewhere along the way got smacked with an unforgivingly negative connotation.  Because there is a real world, and you’re living, working, and in an ideal scenario, THRIVING in it.  But how about that last one – are you truly THRIVING?  So ask yourself this: You’re living in the real world.  But are you living the Real You?

Real…authenticity…not fake…in line with your true core values, drive, purpose,  passions, talents and interests for your life.  There’s a common misconception, particularly with “entering” the real world via entry-level status — i.e. “I hope you enjoyed that free burrito at the dining hall!  Here’s your building pass; you have 30 minutes for lunch.” – that you need to check your true self at the door to make a living or be successful.  The same concept presents itself even if you’ve been in the ‘real world’ for a couple years, or even a couple decades.  Are we really expected to tie the tourniquet and suppress all the desires and visions we creatively constructed from our life experiences over twenty/thirty-something years?

For everyone answering “Yes…” to that question… that’s just one more person putting me out of business.  Please reconsider.

Most of us probably have chosen to sacrifice those things at some point, and still do, and congratulations to us, as we just landed a seat next to that guy who you think works for marketing…or HR…but you really don’t even know because he never talks and is miserable all the time.  He also followed the rules.  Sounds like a great time…  You know where playing it safe got millions of people in 2009?  Still laid off.

Arguably, it’s not about fun.  Fun hopefully becomes a shining factor in the professional mecca, but the bigger picture is really about fulfillment.  Are you going to wait around in an uncomfortable, unfulfilling, unsatisfying (but arguably “safe”) position until you one day find yourself enjoying a sympathy cocktail and reaffirming yourself that the layoffs were “really a blessing in disguise”?  What a waste of valuable time!  Don’t get me wrong – sometimes it makes complete sense to hold steady and make the best of a less than perfect   situation –  if you enjoy the company and are working your way up, building valuable experience, or building your network.  There IS a such thing as career stepping stones.  But make sure what you’re stepping on is actually a rock and not a pile of….

It is important that no matter your objectives and regardless of outcome, that you understand that your every decision is a conscious choice.  If you are unhappy where you are, every day that you remain there is a conscious choice to do so.  Not settling for anything less than what you know you were meant to do in this life, and committing to doing whatever it takes to get there – that’s a choice as well.  AND A DAMN GOOD ONE, NO?

Fulfillment comes in many forms, and it’s a wonderfully tangible thing that manifests differently for every person.  That is because we all come into our lives and our adulthood with different values, different wants, different expectations, experiences and talents.  But the process of SHIFTING ourselves to a more positive and fulfilling place in our lives, no matter where we’re coming from, and no matter where we’re going, remains the same.  And what’s that?  It’s this.

So digest this food for thought again: You’re living in the real world.  But are you living the Real You?

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