Today, in all randomness, I watched a literature play reading in London, showing parts of the work by Dickens and Tolstoy. Tom Hiddleston was one of the actors on stage. I was touched by his performance, so I watched a subsequent interview, where he was asked to give advice to people. Humbly quoted Shakespeare, which he said is better than any advice he could give.
“To Thine Own Self Be True” – William Shakespeare
The more authentic and honest you are in your interaction with the world, both professionally and personally, the better you will be placed to do the kind of work which will touch others and move their hearts and minds. This is honestly the best interpretation I’ve heard. I was really touched and inspired by the truthfulness of his words.
Two weeks ago, in a leadership development workshop, several of us who were coaches for the cohort were given questions by the participants. One question really made me ponder – “what was your biggest failure in life.” Looking back at my journey, I answered that the biggest failure for me was when I first went to Germany and out of the feeling of inferiority (due to language and culture) I bowed and put on a corporate mask. For three years I have suffered, of not finding the true purpose of my work. Until I started my inner quest to find my meaning and purpose, to find the avenue where I can be most useful to this world. It really doesn’t have to be anything grand, but it needs to be true.
To show up and be true to oneself should not be taken for granted as an easy step for everyone. We all have hopes and fears, and we all have our vulnerabilities. To show up as who we are takes courage, to accept the imperfect nature of me as a human being, to acknowledge that there are wide spectrum of ways of life out there, and to be ok with myself and whoever I’m interacting with. And life is not a straight line, there are always obstacles and tests on my way to test exactly how much do I mean it. And also uncover blind spots that I was not aware of before.
Perhaps watching Tom Hiddleston today was not entirely random. Every now and then we all need a little reminder of the values we stand for:)