“Happy talk, keep a-talkin’ happy talk;
Talk about things you like to do.
You gotta have a dream; if you don’t have a dream,
How you gonna have a dream come true?”
This cheerful song, published in 1949 by Rodgers and Hammerstein, is featured in the musical South Pacific. Its words, though simple, are inspiring and true.
So much is said about attitude and gratitude, and so much is said about transparency and authenticity. At times those two phrases may seem to be at odds with each other. If I’m truly authentic and transparent, shouldn’t all my flaws be obvious? Should I make apologies for what I am? For who I am? For how I look or act? Or is that just being authentic?
Again, am I stuck there, just because that’s my current status or situation? If I live in a house, does that mean I can’t move? If I’m unhappy with my job, does that mean I have to stay there? If I have made plans, does that mean they are set in stone and I MUST follow through?
Sometimes, but not always.
To believe we have no options is a lie.
The secret here is not “who I am,” but “who I am, and who I am capable of becoming.”
A company has been criticized for saying “Fake it ’til you make it.” I’d like to take another look at that phrase.
We are–literally AND figuratively–children of Heavenly Parents. We are capable of becoming as they are. So if we are content with our current status, situation, state of being, attitude, position, etc., are we being authentic or are we just deceiving ourselves?
Marvin J. Ashton said, “Set your goals. But don’t become frustrated because there are no obvious victories. Remind yourself that striving can be more important than arriving.”
My own experience has taught me that my best path forward is a path that allows for slight deviation, but continues in a certain direction. I can allow for delays, for discouragement, for detours, but if I can envision the direction I’m headed, I can strive for that eventual destination.
I have also learned that I can change my mind about the destination I seek, and how best to get there. Often as I pursue my path, I see a better destination. I can be grateful for the path that brought me to the point where I could see a new goal. And when I change my mind, it’s OK. I have the divine right to create and follow my journey as I grow and become.
No one else has that right for my journey. And no one else has the responsibility for walking my path but me.
One woman grew up thinking she would become an attorney, following in her father’s footsteps. She pursued this path through college, into law school, and three years of practicing law. At that point she realized she was miserable. Her whole life, as she saw it, consisted of looking on the dark side, finding faults, seeking out mistakes and errors and litigating them. Forgiveness and joy eluded her. Her path did not reflect who she was and who she wanted to become.
So she tried using her melodious voice on radio. She found joy in realizing that her positivity could make the day brighter for countless thousands of people. Her path led her to a new path; one of greater joy and satisfaction.
Were her thousands of hours spent as a lawyer wasted?
No, because they brought her to a place where she could become more of who she was, recognize she wanted a new endpoint, and fulfill her greater dream to bring joy to others. The challenge for her was in making that great shift, that great change in vocation. But the courage it took to allow the change is again sending her in the direction of her ultimate goals.
“Fake it ’til you make it.” It’s not a cliché telling us to be deceptive about who we are and where we are in relation to what we want to be. It’s just telling us to know who we are, know where we are going, and practice as we are getting there.