Then you realize you have everything.

My friend Betsy always says, “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.” I know I’ve heard that many times in different ways over the years. The words haunt me because I’ve never been terribly proud of who I am. I have three super smart, talented, loving sisters, but we’re a ragamuffin bunch with parents who, let’s say, opted out of parenting before they both opted out of life altogether.

I always wanted to be one of those kids from a family with a mom and a dad and a dog. I wanted to wear the in-style clothes and get invited to sleepovers. That ended up not being my life. See picture below showing me “looking” cool.

We’ve all managed to find our way, but I entered adulthood not sure of all the rules. The more I tried to learn the guidelines of propriety, the more I bucked the system. Somewhere in my 20s I decided that I wasn’t sure I agreed with the people who made up the rules about how to plan a wedding or how to set a table. I went rogue and made a hobby out of discarding all the rules.

That worked to some extent until I ran into a few jobs that kind of liked people who colored inside the lines. I like to say I bottomed out for all the right reasons, but the more I explored the benefits of my social self righteousness, the more I realized that I’d traded social visa on principle and lost my seat at the bargaining table. There are reasons for the rules and there are appropriate times to break them, but if we’re going to accomplish our work as ambassadors in the marketplace we have to learn our boundaries. Let’s not call them propriety; let’s call them “executive presence.”

Be who you are, but don’t use your calling as a sword. Celebrate who you are made to be in the context of what you are here to do. God has put you exactly where you are. Be all there.