City or farm? Most of us can answer immediately. Regardless of where we grew up, we have a tendency to gravitate towards either the slower life found in rural farming communities or the hectic pace of cities. I hear some of you say, “I like both. I like to live in the country and visit the city.” Still others say, “I like both. I want to live in the city and visit the country.” I get it. Me too.
Some of you may have the means to have homes in both. You work during the week in the city and then go to your lodge or 2nd home on the farm. Or you may have a flat downtown but spend the weekend with family who has a big home on the shore. Still yet, you may live in a remote wilderness cabin and visit the city twice a year. That’s awesome! But in the end, if you had to pick one location to spend the next 10 years, would you select a quiet farming community, sleepy village, or the non-stop, 24×7 glamour of a major city?
My family and I were in Boston. A great city: History. Food. Arts. Science. Sports. Boston has a bit of everything from the Red Sox to the Boston Tea Party to MIT and Harvard. We did many “touristy” things. We also experienced some of the local foodie spots. We walked, rode, and ate our way through the city. It was magnificent! Boston is near the top of my family’s list of great cities. If you have a chance, please visit. If you’ve visited, you already know what I mean!
Boston does the city “thing” well. It’s NOT a great farming community. It’s NOT quiet. It’s NOT slow. It’s NOT laid-back. Boston is a city. It’s fast-paced. It’s exciting. It’s always got something going on. Now some of you are saying, “But it’s not as exciting as London or New York or Tokyo or Los Angeles or Hong Kong or Sydney.” Perhaps. But that’s not my point. I’m saying that Boston falls within the city “category.” And it does it well. Boston knows what it’s about. It doesn’t try to offer a farm experience. It’s comfortable in its own skin (okay, there is that rivalry thing with the Big Apple but you know what I mean).
I think we can learn something from Boston. We can learn to be comfortable in our own skin. We can accept ourselves for who we are. We can accept how we’re wired. How we’re built. How we think. How we look. And how we “do us.” But if you’ll allow me, I’d like to add a twist. I’d like to suggest that you should “Do You” but with a twist. Hear me out.
The twist is some area of improvement to “you” as you are. Let’s go back to Boston for a minute. Boston should never try to be a rural farming community. It’s a city. “Doing you” for Boston means being a great city. “Doing you with a twist” for Boston means improving itself, but as city not a farm. Maybe they could improve parking downtown. Or improve public transportation to Logan (their airport). Or reduce crime. Or improve public education. See the difference? They don’t accept their status quo. They add a twist. They accept that they’re a city but they still seek to improve. They strive to be a better city. They’re NOT trying to be a better farm. Because, at the core, they’re a city.
I’m a BIG believer in self-improvement and professional growth. But some of you are trying to be something you’re not. You’re reaching TOO far. Now I’m not saying have small dreams or narrow vision. I’m saying start where you are and make a step. Don’t try to get “there” all at once. And in some instances, you may, indeed, need to adjust your dreams or vision. For example, if you’re 5 feet tall, it’s “possible but not probable” that you’ll play in the NBA.
“Do you – with a twist” means accepting where you are, being comfortable in your own skin and then adding an area of improvement. Become a better public speaker. Develop your gardening abilities. Increase your critical reasoning. Improve your rhetoric skills. Expand your musical taste. Enlarge your network. Add new genres to your reading list.
Remember to celebrate your uniqueness. If you’re a city, rejoice. If you’re a farm, cheer. An introvert, awesome. An extrovert, fantastic. But do remember to add a twist. Take a step or two forward or side-ways. But don’t stay static. Grow. And be the best city or farm you can be.
Hope you have a great week. Do you – with a twist. Be comfortable in your own skin. But continue to grow.
Dr. Robert Gerwig is an agent of change and is able to balance the needs of the business and the needs of people. Dr. Gerwig believes and practices the values of performance and delivery of business metrics while simultaneously developing and growing people into leaders. You can contact him at RobertGerwig[at]LeadStrategic.com.
Photo by Author