Sammy Davis Jr sang these lyrics, and as my thoughts progress on this subject, my hopes are they will take on meaning for all of you.

I've Gotta Be Me

Whether I’m right or whether I’m wrong

Whether I find a place in this world or never belong

I gotta be me, I’ve gotta be me

What else can I be but what I am

 

I want to live, not merely survive

And I won’t give up this dream

Of life that keeps me alive

I gotta be me, I gotta be me

The dream that I see makes me what I am

 

That far-away prize, a world of success

Is waiting for me if I heed the call

I won’t settle down, won’t settle for less

As long as there’s a chance that I can have it all

 

I’ll go it alone, that’s how it must be

I can’t be right for somebody else

If I’m not right for me

I gotta be free, I’ve gotta be free

Daring to try, to do it or die

I’ve gotta be me

 

I’ll go it alone, that’s how it must be

I can’t be right for somebody else

If I’m not right for me

I gotta be free, I just gotta be free

Daring to try, to do it or die

I gotta be me

Yep, I got to be me and you got to be you, try it the other way around and we are assured to mess up the entire plan set up for us in the first place!

A new friend, and person I admire very much, Dave Anderson, wrote in his bestselling book, How to Run Your Business by The Book – Pursue the Gifts you Have, not the Gifts you Want, that even though he enjoys trying to sing, he has no talent for it.

It started me thinking about gifts in my life, that I either have or don’t have. When I was a kid I wanted to be a closer for the Cleveland Indians, no Cleveland jokes please, I grew up there so I understand I set the bar pretty low. I would dream of coming into the game, bases loaded, bottom of the 9th, 2 outs 7th game of the world series and we are winning by 1 run. I stride to the mound , the fans on their feet going crazy, I stare down the other teams best hitter and throw three fastballs right past him and the celebration is glorious. Pretty cool dream, right? One problem, I played first base because my arm was horrible!

As Dave points out in his book that not having a talent at something doesn’t mean you can’t get better at it, practice could of course improve most anything we try, but alas, no amount of effort or time spent getting better would help me become talented in an area in which I have no talent.

Using our time well, developing the gifts that God gave us, will fulfill us the most and allow us to be a better employee, spouse, friend.

In the late 70’s I got my first management position in the car business at a big Chevrolet dealership, started at the bottom of the management ladder and watched and learned from the general manager who hired me.

He was always dressed like a million bucks, impeccable in every way, younger beautiful girl friend that became his wife, lived in the right zip code. To look at him, he was a man of power… he also was the meanest, most imitating manager, I’ve ever seen in the car business.

This man could yell and get in your grill like nobody I had ever seen, I must say it was pretty effective, we sold a bunch of cars and made a bunch of money. He was my mentor and I wanted to be just like him!

Long story short, after a couple years he left and I took his place and guess who I tried to emulate? Like to guess on how that turned out? Seven months later I was gone and landed another big job running another pretty good sized dealership near my home, managed it the very same way. Sold 5 times as many cars as this store had ever sold… two years later I was gone.

Got hired by another, even bigger group, managed it the very same way yet again and sold a mess of cars and 9 months later… I was gone

I spent 75% of my management career trying to be somebody I wasn’t and not using the gifts I was given, wasted time practicing to be another person I could never be, and shouldn’t have been to begin with.

Back to Dave Anderson for a moment from his book and I quote.

Use Your Own Armor

The seventeenth chapter of 1 Samuel explains that, when Saul was counseling David concerning fighting Goliath, the king clothed David in his own armor, put a bronze helmet on this head, and also clothed him with a protective coat. Verses 39 through 40 tell what happened next: “David fastened his sword to the armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. And David said to Saul ‘I cannot walk with these, for I have not tested them’ So David took them off.

Then he took his own staff in his hand, and he choose for himself five smooth stones from the brook and put them in a pouch that he had, and his sling was in his hand. And he drew near to the Philistine.

David couldn’t do his job by trying to be someone he was not or by using gifts foreign to him. Nor can you.”

Emerson wrote “To be successful, first you must see success” and I agree with that quote 100%, but make sure of the success you are seeing is the one that you have the gifts for and is within your purpose, not somebody else’s.

Take the talents you have, understand them, embrace them, laser focus your time and energy on those and you will be a true leader in whatever you do.

Got to sum this up by going back to Sammy

What else can I be but what I am

I want to live, not merely survive

And I won’t give up this dream

Of life that keeps me alive

I gotta be me, I gotta be me