Let me be clear: I am a die-hard advocate and believer in learning from others and being inspired by others. I think one of the best tools out there for realizing your dreams, achieving your goals, and growing as a person – i.e., seizing your passion- is learning from other people. Whether it be role models, mentors, coaches, your kids, your peers, or a story about a person you don’t even know, learning from others is one of the best ways to learn about yourself, to become your best self, and to achieve personal growth. Especially when it’s someone you respect and admire, someone that has achieved something you too want to achieve, and/or someone that simply inspires you to want to become better and do something about it.
But, to be equally clear: what I am not a fan of, what I dislike with a passion (I won’t say hate, but I will say dislike with a passion), and what this post is about NOT doing – is blindly following others; and drinking and buying someone else’s lemonade instead of making your own.
In the space of personal development and personal growth especially, it is so easy to fall into the trap of drinking, buying, and even re-selling someone else’s lemonade instead of truly being inspired by them, which by my definition of the word entails being empowered to create something that is your own, i.e., making your own lemonade, drinking that, and by all means then selling that.
It’s so easy because there are so many thought leaders and coaches and mentors and gurus out there that have made some pretty incredible lemonade. And they themselves believe in it so much, and love it so much, and are really really good at selling it. Well-intentionally too. (Of course there are also countless frauds that are just trying to sell you their lemonade for no purpose other than to sell you their lemonade. But, for now let’s just deal with the righteous and authentic ones out there that really want to sell you their lemonade because they truly believe it will help you).
Here’s the thing, though, and what I’ve learned to be true. I don’t care how delicious anyone else’s lemonade is or how fabulously it has worked for them, it is NEVER going to be the same for you. I don’t care how detailed their step-by-step guide is to mimicking what they did and how they did it, it will never turn out to be the same coming out of you.
Here’s why: each and every one of us has our own unique and individual personal legend to fulfill. (That language is me practicing what I’m preaching, by the way. I re-read The Alchemist recently so I’m using my inspiration from that book and some of its ingredients that make up it’s own recipe of lemonade to make my own new lemonade here). In other words, or in my words, each and every one of us is on a journey to become our own unique, true, and best self and to seize our passion. Whether we are aware of it or not. And someone else’s best self is never going to be the same as your best self, and your best self is never going to be the same as my best self, and so on.
Blind allegiance will never work. The trick is to continue to be inspired by others, learn from others, and take some of their ingredients – yes. But, at the same time, listen to your intuition (it’s smarter than you, I promise), find your own recipe within yourself and make it your own. Even if you don’t add or create any new or different ingredients. Just understanding that the way it mixes up inside of you is always going to be different, and you can learn and grow and be inspired from and by others, but please – don’t just buy, drink and re-sell someone else’s lemonade. Your lemonade is within you only. Make your own lemonade. And then, by all means go sell that to help inspire others to do the same!
Rachel Ellner Lebensohn, Proud Creator & Founder of Seyopa
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