Tuesday, December 28, 2004

You Just KNOW

I'm just beginning Tom Peters' latest work Project04: Snapshots of Excellence in Unstable Times. Every time I read something by Tom Peters, I'm inspired. I found out, in this latest book, that he and I share a literary hero: Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Like many areas of my life, it's only been recently - in retrospect - that I am beginning to understand why I've been drawn to certain authors, philosophers, books, thoughts, songs, people. I've never been confident enough to trust my own knowing about anything, and have sought desperately, for as long as I can remember, to find others through whom I could express my own thoughts and beliefs.

Emerson has been one of my heroes since my sophomore year in college when I read "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." He's also the one who said "Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiam" and "Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow."

Ironically, he even said "Man is timid and apologetic; he is no longer upright; he dares not say 'I think,' 'I am,' but quotes some saint or sage." Is there a lesson in there for me?

I find it incredible that he lived and wrote in the mid-1800s and I find so much wisdom today in what he lived back then. In fact, Tom Peters says that Emerson's "Self-Reliance" is Tom's view, circa 2000, of Brand You.

No wonder I'm drawn to both of them.

Self-Reliance and Brand You both require us to know ourselves - really KNOW, deep down. Once we know and trust who we are, we are able to get beyond quoting some saint or sage and sharing our true essence - that which no one else can share.

"Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you you are wrong. There are alway difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to the end, requires some of the same courage which a soldier needs." -Emerson

"Brand You is not about ego-centrism, at least in a pernicious way. It's about recognition. Recognizing that lifetime employment is dead. Perhaps recognizing that lifetime white-collar employment wasn't that great a ride to begin with....It's about recognizing that there is no alternative except to grab the reins of one's career - grab the reins out of the hands of an inconstant employer! We may stay with that employer, but no longer with a naive belief about the perpetuity of our 'employment contract.'" - Tom Peters

I really do KNOW it when I hear it ... now the challenge is to KNOW it without having to hear it from someone else.

Thanks for the inspiration Tom - and Ralph. You're both my heroes.


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