Updated: Jun 9, 2019
All my life I have talked. I mean, I HAVE BEEN TALKING! If you know me or have spent time around me then you absolutely are aware that I have lots to say about everything, anything and nothing at all. I speak what speaks to me. Recently, someone was watching one of my dance fitness choreography videos and said to me, "You talk a lot!" Now, this friend didn't say it in a mean way but more so poking fun at me for talking when I should be dancing. I thought to myself, do I really talk too much? It is not the first time someone has said such a thing to me. In fact, one of the helpers at an event I was recently at kept expressing how much I talked when people came to our station. Again, tongue in cheek? I really wasn't sure one way or the other.
I then thought about 2015 when I first came to Washington where a good friend of mine had been taking a yoga class in one of the neighboring cities. This friend is an early riser and can be a bit bubbly early in the morning. At the studio she went to, the owner was a self-proclaimed non early riser. In fact, one of my favorite statements by the owner was "I can't be ON this early!" To say the grumpiness was in full effect would be an understatement. My friend eventually left the studio in part because her bubbly grand energy was too much for the owner to handle. Was she (my friend) being too much? Is that the same in the way I have been talking? After some deep thought I came to a realization.
Be yourself! Yes, that is it. That is the revelation. Yes, I'll add much more because writing is talking and, like I said, I like to talk. In any case, all my life people kept pointing out my faults, my shortcomings and my ability to yap. I wasn't trying to be anything special or act more important than any one else. I just like to talk to people. Hell, I talk to myself when I am alone at home which, if you ask me, are grand conversations. Like my friend who is bubbly and full of energy at six in the morning I am a talker and communicator the moment my eyes open. That is my truth.
It has taken years to understand that what is natural to my heart and spirit will be there no matter where I am, what I am doing or who I am with because it is naturally me. The problem, however, is not that I am a talker. It is that people want to change that in some fashion to fit what they wish it to be. Within that lies a secondary problem we all face when dealing with others who feel we should, in my case, shut up or, in my friend's case, be less bubbly or turned off. Why does that person or persons opinion matter? Truth is, it rarely does but it does not stop others from sharing those opinions.
Someone will always want you to be a better you but in the way that they see you being better. Now, that isn't a negative thing per say but it can be if it stifles the authenticity of who you are at your core. Wise people, mentors and leaders want to help you be a better you while supporting that thing or things that make you unique and are your natural assets/abilities. Very few people have succeeded trying to be someone else.
I have surrounded myself with people who help me harness my ability to talk to people, my ability to motivate and my ability to bridge social, economic, racial and other divides. They don't want me to shut up. No, they want me doing what I do best just like I helped my friend realize, be myself.
My friend now uses her bubbly personality to help people and in that people flock to her classes and offerings because of that very thing the other owner of the studio disliked. Her authenticity, drive, focus on others and energy have helped many bridge gaps from doing nothing or believing they couldn't do anything to not only doing it but in many cases growing as a person from it. She is happy to not have let someone else stop her from being who she was because who she is now is so much grander than ever before.
As for myself, I don't talk for the person who has heard me 1000 times. I talk for the person who might stumble across what I said, wrote or recorded and could use the information. What the guy at the event didn't realize was that my talking brought in lots of business not just for myself but the rest of the crew too. In the end, being myself was the right thing, is the right thing and will always be the right thing to do. I talk. It is what I do and frankly I am really, really, really, really (my English teacher friend is hating all those right now) good at it because people talk to me. This is a reminder to me to be that one thing that I need to be more than anything, myself.
If you made it this far congrats because here is the pearl of wisdom I will try and pass on to you. Everyone will have an opinion of what you should and should not be doing with your goals. More often than not you will hear about all the things you shouldn't be doing. Take those things with a grain of salt. Listen to criticism, take in all suggestions and filter out what works for you and move forward. Be you. Do you. Do those things that you do naturally and work on those that do not come naturally. Never let anyone shut you up for being you. Know the difference between doing something for the sake of doing it (to keep up appearances and such) and doing something authentically for you. Be willing to understand when and where to be fully you, partially you or (self chosen) muted you. There is nothing wrong with taking a few steps back to respect where you are or who you are working with but there is a lot wrong in not being true to you.
So shut up already you naysayers because I got something to say. Just A Thought!