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It's okay NOT to be someone else

January 19, 2011

How often do we see our friend or colleague pursuing or possessing something and think, "I should be doing that"?

I bet you can think of a time when you felt like you weren't doing enough in your career (or marriage or family or spiritual life) because you saw your buddy succeeding in an area that's not your strong point.

I am here to say, it's okay. You don't have to be just like the guy next door (or in your percussion studio, which is the route I'm taking in this entry). It's okay to be YOU, and to pursue what you believe is right. Don't get me wrong, in percussion, it is highly valuable to be skilled and knowledgeable in many areas of the craft, and I don't mean to make an excuse for working hard to fill empty voids in your or my skillset. I simply mean to say that each person is unique and has a specific purpose or path that is highly individual, and to compare every facet of professional skills and accomplishments can eat away at you.

Maybe it's absolutely best for Colin to pursue a doctorate in music, but that doesn't mean it's best for me to pursue the same. Maybe Mike is a fantastic Latin percussionist, but that doesn't mean I'm a failure as a percussionist because I only know some basics. Maybe while Kyle is tearing up the orchestral scene, I am following a calling to compose music (instead of practicing xylophone excerpts). Kyle is Kyle. I'm not.

Consider the skills you do have. You have a certain set of abilities that makes you YOU, professionally. (Probably some that your colleague doesn't have, too.) So you take what you have, build on it, and fill in weak areas as you go. Don't try to be someone you're not. Again that doesn't mean to quit learning, growing, trying new things, etc.  But walk the path that allows you to best be who you are. Hopefully you'll find that success comes a little more naturally when you're not trying to be someone else.


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