Free Spirit, Authentic or Contrived Performer? Implications for life and business….
I’ve just finished reading City of Joy by Dominque Lappier. It’s a true story of life in Calcutta during the time of Mother Teresa. I can’t remember if I read the book 20 years ago,when I received it as a Christmas gift or not.
Just the other day, the book called to me (they call to you too- I assume?) on my way to a late night cycle at the gym. A few moments later sitting on the stationary bike I opened the book and found myself staring at my mom’s handwritting. Only it wasn’t her normal handwriting, it was her ‘after cancer’ handwriting, her handwriting after the cancer spread to her brain, 20 years ago before it took her life.
As my eye’s teared up, I smiled. Of course. Mom wanted me to read this book; here, now at this intersection of my life. And how befitting, for the woman that taught me more about joy than any person since to gift me this incredible book so filled with life lessons and real life examples of charity and inspiration.
I have so many thoughts to share with you and yet I know the one I must share.
The conversation in the book that inspired today’s blog post, ” Free Spirit, Authentic or Contrived Performer” is one that took place between the Polish Priest, Kolvoski and a young physician, Max. On a quick respite from the slum Kolvoski takes Max out of the city to regain his spiritual equilibrium. They flee to a garden paradise outside of Calcutta. As they sit and watch the birds flit, sing and fluff their plummage the two men discuss the nature of the birds. They comment on the natural comings and goings of the birds and animals in the wild and compare the animals in the wild to curious, uninhibited, joyful children; the children in the City of Joy the children in the slums. The two adults conclude that children and animals in the wild are the epitomy of authenticity. They are authentic free spirits.
Max and Kovalski go on to discuss how the authenticity and freedom so depicted in animals in the wild and children contrasts to that of adults. Herein lies the nuggets I find myself chewing on. Nuggets, pearls of wisdom that impact not only business but all of life and relating.
You see, authenticity, liberation, transparency in being and relating is attractive, disarming, and immediately builds trust. When one invites us into knowing them as they are, we find ourselves connecting and relating in a manner that is entirely divine. This is the reason we find ourselves so captivated by those who seem unaffected by their surroundings, those who choose to stay true to the song within regardless of the audience or the songs around them, to free spirits that live authentic lives.
The birds flits and sings her song. Regardless and unaffected by the onlooker. The bird is not watching. The bird is living, being. The bird in the wild is not a parrot regurgitating and reflecting what I want to hear. Rather the bird sings because it can not, not sing! It was born with a song. It’s purpose is to sing and so she goes about her day being quite true to who she is; flitting, cleaning, pecking and singing.
Children can be similar. Although, as they age they grow increasingly like us adults, most businesses and marketing departments; contrived performers. Contrived performers have all but lost their connection to their free spirit, to the song within. So consumed have they become with the onlookers, the results of their song, the impact of their being.
Watching, looking, adjusting one’s way of showing up, being for the sole purpose of providing a more pleasing performance forever changes us. Now instead of authentic free spirits expressing our creators brilliance we are contrived performers insatiably obsessing about how changing ourselves might lead to greater recognition, love or rewards.
The trouble with contrived is it’s just not as attractive as authentic and worse yet it usually repels rather than attracts. And so the contrived performer becomes caught in the never ending cycle of working for that which no one else can ever provide; approval to sing the song within to be free and authentic.
I wonder what would happen if individuals, families, friends and companies were to become less concerned about the onlookers and more concerned with being true to the song within, to throwing themselves and their teams into the most authentic, free spirited representation of what they believe and who they are.
Authenticity is singing the song you can’t not sing, it’s singing the song you were made to sing. It’s unleashing the free spirit within.
Free spirit, authentic or contrived performer. It has implications for all of life and business. And your thoughts oh wise one?
Make a life, not merely a living!
Seattle Business Coach
425 218 5864