For those of us fortunate to live in Western society, I can’t help but wonder how many people around me are truly satisfied with their station in life.
It seems as though we are always working harder, working smarter, or working towards something. We build up the dreams of our youth and set ourselves upon a path truly believing that we can achieve anything. Then we sit back and we measure our accomplishments through some pre-determined invisible scale metered out by our perceptions of “success “which undoubtedly has been manipulated into us through the passage of time , where we deemed others to be the shining example of what we could become.
We work hard to get there – then we wait for someone to tell us we have arrived.
And yet as the passage of time greets me, I find more often than not, there are no shining examples of how I should model success and certainly no-one that I have found to admire enough from a career perspective or who truly practices authentic leadership to tell me that I have indeed arrived.
Authentic leadership is an approach to leadership that emphasizes building the leader’s legitimacy through honest relationships with followers which value their input and are built on an ethical foundation. Generally, authentic leaders are positive people with truthful self-concepts who promote openness (source: Wikipedia)
Leadership in the form of compassion, integrity, accountability and servitude appear to be in deficit, in all forums these days.
Perhaps that’s why employee engagement in the workplace is declining, or perhaps what is truly missing in our workplaces is a source of inspiration that helps us to justify a life spent working our average 40 hour work week from the ages of 20-65 for a total 90,360 hours.
That’s 90,360 hours of your beating heart- spent away from family, away from other pursuits, away from ourselves.
So as I find myself reflecting on the meaning of all of that I have worked towards, I’ve decided to stop chasing the Unicorn.
The Unicorn for me is a metaphor that describes the pursuit of something unobtainable. I used to think the unobtainable was what drove me to succeed. I now understand that this drive is taking away from what is most important – my life, on my terms, my authenticity.
For how can I be authentic – if I don’t take care of myself first?
I will never be the perfect mother, perfect wife, perfect friend or perfect HR expert- and I don’t have to be – those are unicorns. Rather, I think I will settle for authentic me.
Are you chasing Unicorns?