The moment you become embarrassed of who you are, you lose yourself. I changed my house, the way I dressed, the way I ate – for what? For nothing
– Reuben, Oceans 13

It took me 23 years to learn this lesson, and today I finally learned it in full. The minute you become ashamed of who you are, what you believe…you lose yourself. You lose everything. You start acting differently, you dress differently, you change what it is to be you down to your core. Never be embarrassed of who you are and what you represent.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been thinking about this really interesting concept. It is about what it takes to live happily in the world and with others around you. I spent, once again, 23 years of my life reacting to what other people want, what they think I should be, who I thought I should be for them…and then a very good friend of mine let me borrow some discs with an awesome lady talking about relationships with those around you…and it hit me like a sack of potatoes.

Instead of reacting to the world…let the world react to you.

Woah right? But what does this actually mean? This means that instead of morphing yourself into someone that you think everyone else will like (usually the immediate circle of people around you)…you just be yourself, be exactly who you are and don’t try to be someone you aren’t. The people who like that will come to you and those who don’t like the real you will leave.

Now, I know that this could be kind of rocky for some. I can hear it now, “But that means that many people are going to come and go!” True, things get shaky for a while… I went through this myself recently. But why spend time with people who don’t care about the real you? Just seems silly to me…but like I said, I lived this way for the longest time. Reacting to everyone else and neglecting the gifts you have been given. You were given these shoes to walk in, don’t try to hide what brand they are.

Vulnerability. Vulnerability is at the core of courage. The ability to say, “I am scared shitless, but I am going to battle through anyways.” I’ll give you a perfect example. On the mountain today at Sugar Bowl, I saw a sign that said “Double Black…Experts only.” I knew exactly what I was getting myself into. I had been looking at these chutes for the last couple of days…enclosed by rock on both sides…there would be no more than a few feet of space on each side of me after I fully committed. I paused for a minute before even entering the roped off area…and started down the chute…and yes, I was pretty darn scared. I am an experienced snowboarder but still…down there? I had the option to back out…but I told myself, “Okay…you are scared…but do what you know how to do and you will be great.”

Hop, turn, whoosh. Perfect.

For the rest of my life I will be able to say I did that. I can carry these moments with me…the ones where I had more courage than fear. And that is where I want to get the people I work with. To realize that yes, it may be scary if people leave, if you have to call up people who you haven’t talked to in a while, if you have to face your deepest fears…but don’t worry…because I will show you the dark, but I will carry the lantern with you. Feed your faith and your fears will starve.

Evan Sanders
The Better Man Project