“The game is not about becoming somebody, it’s about becoming nobody.”
I remember reading this quote a long time ago and having absolutely no idea what it meant. I had just gotten a job at a large law firm, I was making great money and I thought I had finally arrived at a place in my life where I had finally become “SOMEBODY.”
However, after fifteen years of practicing law, I felt unfulfilled and I decided to abandon the profession and focus on a career in consulting and coaching. I was really starting over. I had only a few clients and I was unknown in the industry. Around the same time, I helped organize a charity event to introduce children to the idea of giving. At this event, one of the mothers said, “wow, what a group of heavy hitter moms we have here!” She proceeded to go around the room naming every woman and their accomplishments. Everyone that is, except me. I was dumbstruck and felt as though I was floating in air with nothing to hold on to. A knot in my stomach formed and began to grow. What had happened to everything that I had worked so hard for over the years? Who am I without my accomplishments?
I sat with these thoughts for many days and I began to realize how much I had been using my outside achievements to define who I was and how I felt about myself. Maybe it was time to get comfortable with myself without clinging to the outside world’s view of me to make me feel better or worse. So began my journey to get comfortable with being a “nobody.”
The most interesting part for me was that the more I sat with my “nobody” the more I found that I was freer of the strings that used to control my emotional ups and downs. I began to really understand that the insatiable need for validation from other people was a losing battle because I couldn’t control what others said and thought. However, once I released my dependence on how the world saw me (the philosophy of Maybe helped a lot!), I got to know what really makes me tick and who I really am. My “nobody” was a place inside me that was okay no matter what was happening around me. My “nobody” is not a place where I am worthless, but instead is a place where I am always valuable. It is enough just to be here, to love, to breathe and to be human.
I still have big goals and I have accomplished a lot since that day, but I start each journey from a different place. My life is less of a race to the top and more of an experience of living life. My “nobody” gives me a continuous awareness that there is more to me than what I am experiencing in the outside world and more to life than what I achieve.
I still enjoy life when I am quoted in the newspaper and my readership increases on my blog. But I also enjoy life when one of my blog posts that I think is insightful gets very few views. I truly appreciate those few views and I do not feel badly about what it may mean for my career and how I value myself. It is all an experience helping me to understand my true nature.
I now believe that we can all relax into life and become happier, more giving and more peaceful without all the outside pressures affecting how we see ourselves every minute of the day. We can give up one identity to find one closer to our hearts and less reactive to the outside world.
Maybe by being nobody is really when we become somebody – our true selves!
This piece was written by Allison Carmen