Thursday, March 10, 2011

Can you tell the real ones from the fake ones?

The authentic self is the soul made visible.~ Sarah Ban Breathnach (Simple Abundance)

I have been reading several writers' blogs. These are people I consider my mentors. They have huge followings, are on the speaker's circuit, highly respected and widely- published. They come from all over the country, and they all have something in common. No matter how widely published, how educated, how prominent their names, they all express having felt a tad inadequate and amazed when they were asked to present/mentor to those in higher positions, to those with more credentials, more publishing credits etc. "Moi?" they ask in surprise.

Truth is, one's profession, level of education or position in life does not make one a writer anymore than having taken math classes makes me proficient at numbers. Each of us has something to offer. We should recognize our strengths and honor our God-given talents.

At presentations, during interviews and in person, everyone puts on their best face, shoves their best foot forward and sometimes, we put others off by not being ourselves. Are you amazingly cool while your stomach is quivering and your knees are knocking? Have you mastered the art of wearing the mask of the moment for your performance on the great stage of life? Or do you display your authentic self? Do you allow strangers to see past your bravado and give them a glimpse into our heart?

My late mother left behind few material possessions, but she bequeathed to me a wealth of wisdom. It began when I was a toddler and she sent me to Sunday School where I learned the song, "This Little Light of Mine". She always encouraged me to let my light shine. She told me that regardless of the intitials before or after anyone's name, neither they nor I were better or worse than the other, and respect must be earned. No one is unapproachable because of their title.

When my step-dad injured himself and was disabled for a couple of years, Mom, at nearly age fifty, applied for a job at a factory, having had no work experience. At the interview she was asked how many years she had been in industrial cleaning. She replied, "My husband worked, but I have been cleaning for forty years, and although I only weigh a hundred pounds, I can sling a big mop, and I will do my very best."

Not once did she use the fact that her husband was disabled and she desperately needed the job. The boss told her that she was chosen over several more qualified applicants because he thought she was authentic.

Authentic, sincere, real ... do you really allow your light to shine?

Believe in yourself more than anyone else does. Don't be intimidated by anyone. Each of us has something valauable to offer. Start with a smile!

18 comments:

Odie Langley said...

A thought provoking statement Linda.

June Freaking Cleaver said...

I will be back to read this when I get a phone call for a job interview...thanks for this positive message!

Susan said...

Good post, Linda! Your Mom must have been an amazing woman. I try to let my light shine in the world. I really try and that counts, right? Susan

Chatty Crone said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful mother who taught you some wonderful and postitive lessons on life. I think you do let your light shine!

Sandie

Sioux said...

What a great outlook your mother had. Too bad there is a larger-than-we-want percentage of young people who do NOT think the same way...

Shanae Branham said...

How long have you been gone from Alaska and what do you miss most?

Lynn said...

Good food for thought.

Bobbi said...

Wow. I'm so glad I randomly clicked on this blog. This post was encouraging and inspirational. Thank you for letting your light shine!

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

Great post! Being a writer is all about being honest and telling it like it is. I'd say you've definitely arrived!

Clara Gillow Clark said...

Your mother sounds a lot like my own--from the Sunday School jingle to becoming a factory worker after my father died when I was six. Now that she's gone, too, I think of her hands so often--how capable and how strong.

Linda O'Connell said...

Hi everybody,
I thank you for stopping by. I hope you take away something from my post, as we all have gifts and we should freely share.

sylviamorice said...

Hi Linda,

Thanks for commenting on my Microfiction Monday post this week. Love your latest post and will be back to read more...I too learned "This Little Light of Mine" in Sunday School when I was a little girl...it is certainly worth remembering that we all have the power to shine, even if our light is 'little'. Your mom sounded like a very wise, caring woman.

Tammy said...

You got me thinking too and they were positive thoughts on top of it all. Very inspirational.

Friko said...

You speak the same language my Dad spoke.
He taught me to understand that I am as good as anybody, anywhere.
I believed him.

Karen Lange said...

Be yourself. These two words are ones that I try to heed. Sometimes easier said than done, but like you said, authenticity is important. Good food for thought!
Happy weekend,
Karen

Debora said...

What a mom you had! I love that story you shared about her. And thanks for the inspiration. I knew I was a teacher long before I entered the profession; and of late I'm just having the courage to call myself a writer, though unpublished.

Linda O'Connell said...

Hi,
I felt the same way about being a writer. It took me a long time to tell people I was a writer AND a teacher. I do the best that I can with what I have. Thank you all for stopping by.

jabblog said...

Wise words indeed!