Everything You Need to Know About “NOT” Being Yourself

Warren Bennis was brilliant when he said, “Becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself.” But what if you’re a jerk-hole?

Perhaps you shouldn’t always ‘be yourself’. I’ve been told, for example, we should write the way we talk. (Be yourself.) But what if you’re a boring windbag when you talk?


Sometimes I'm at my best when I'm being like someone else.

A beginning:

Sammy Davis Jr. sang, “I’ve Gotta Be Me.” The lyric goes, “What else could I be but what I am?”

The way you were born doesn’t reflect the person you could become.

It’s one thing to accept a genetic disposition toward alcoholism, for example. It’s destructive to embrace it.

Sometimes I’m at my best when I’m being like someone else.

Perhaps you don’t gotta be you. But how?

Emulate others:

I enjoy being like people I admire.

I remember the slow painful recovery after my accident. One day I looked in the mirror and saw my dad looking back. (Not literally of course.)

When I looked in the mirror that day, I admired my own toughness. That’s when I realized that the grit in me was dad-in-me. It still feels fantastic.

When I’m like the people I admire, I affirm my best self.

It’s fulfilling to be like someone who has strength where you have weakness.

I practice humility by reflecting on humble people I respect, not by following natural inclinations.

I learn to connect with others by reflecting on the great connectors in my life, not by doing what comes naturally.

I learn wisdom by emulating the sages.

Necessary skill:

Choose carefully when choosing people to emulate.

Show me your influences and I’ll tell you who you will become.

  1. Move from admiration to emulation.
  2. Being impacts behaviors and behaviors impact being.
  3. Listen to things that rub you the wrong way. They expand you.

How might being yourself not serve you well?

How has emulating someone made you a better person?