The Price of Being You

By Thomas Hubbard.  
Published on Monday, August 12, 2013

I read an interesting comment from a guy I admire in the world of business. It was about “the price of being you.” To paraphrase, he said “being yourself is free and costs you nothing, and yet some people still can’t afford it.” Needless to say, he received many likes and shares on this post—including one from me. I found it to be clever, and in many ways, true. That is, until I continued to analyze and deconstruct it. (If you know me or have been keeping up with my Monday Unleaded series, you know I do this with just about everything).

The real truth is that being yourself is NOT FREE and will often cost EVERYTHING. Oh, there may not be a price up front, but you’re gonna pay in the long run with interest rates north of anything affordable, the loss of friends and “investors,” and possibly even legal fees! There’s unquestionably a price of being you. In a society that’s overtly political, most people simply can’t afford it.

When the “price of being you” is just too expensive

So we go with the flow. We purposely overlook the duplicity of those we consider friends. We dare to stand up to that snobby boss when confronted with illness or bereavement. The idea of having something over nothing at all has been drummed into our conscience since we were children. But like hypocrites, we bash our elected officials for being the very things we are in our personal and professional lives.

Many will excuse themselves with replies like I have a family to feed, or I’m just playing the game, I didn’t invent it! But you’re still being a puppet and not your true self. You know deep down inside there were times you should have stood your ground, or spoke out on an issue you were passionate about. There were times when you knew the answer to a question but took the low road, in fear of a boss or friend who might have thought you were trying to show them up. Perhaps you’ve been ridiculed for being too ambitious and have since learned to “dumb it down.” Perhaps that the price of being you?

If so, I can certainly relate. My own price has cost me countless contracts and seats in the boardroom, and not because I was brash or rude. I just refused to play the game, whether that meant kissing someone’s ass, suffering in silence, or compromising my morals or integrity. But after so many losses, revising your strategy certainly begins to make sense. You begin to focus less on being yourself, and more on selling yourself. It’s an equally honorable stance where you offer no apologies for who you are, while offering the people exactly what they want. Same morals, same integrity, and same kick-ass attitude.

As radical as some of my topics are, posts like Karma Can Kiss My Ass and I Need New Friends must have gone through hundreds of revisions until I felt they were tame enough for the masses. Does this mean I’m not being true to myself? I’d argue otherwise; that I’m selling my true self and am willing to modify my strategy to do so. This requires greater discipline and skill.

And now it’s your turn! Be your true self, but modify your strategy! As you seize your work week, keep in mind that being yourself is expensive and will likely cost you everything. Selling yourself, on the other hand, is just as genuine, and has a greater return on your investment!

Either way will cost you, upfront or in the long run. It’s simply the price of being you.

This is your Monday Unleaded for the week of August 11, 2013. Have a productive week!

Song of the Week

Umma Do Me – Rocko


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