Dear High Achiever:

ONE OF THE THINGS I love most about the profound musings of Ralph Waldo Emerson is how much conversation can be generated by just one of his insights or, in this case, four words.

“Be, and not seem” may or may not seem so profound to or for you, but the instant I read those words they made so much sense. I immediately put the manuscript down and began to reflect back on earlier times in my life when I use to “seem, and not be.”

Many of you already know that I wake up around 4:30 AM each day and head out to the gym. One of my other daily morning habits for the past 15 years has been to read a chapter from a personal development book. I read a lot of books this way and through the years Ralph Waldo Emerson has emerged as one of my favorite authors.

But I didn’t always practice what Emerson preached. One of my early mentors espoused, “Fake it ‘til you make it” and, for some time, I actually thought that was good advice.

We’ve all been in that uncomfortable place where we’ve felt just a little out-classed, under-educated or out-cultured.

It was in those moments, that I’d put my game face on, or my best suit on, and fake it to “seem” like I fit in. I became very adept at asking open-ended questions so I wouldn’t have to reveal my true level ignorance on a specific topic. I remember the gnawing, gut-wrenching feeling of anxiety that use to come over me.

I hated it. I was trying so hard to be something I wasn’t. In my ignorance, I didn’t realize how transparent and obvious it must have been to everyone but me.

But I’ve come to realize that faking it keeps most people from real achievement. Faking it means you are not “in action.” You’re “acting.” Personally, there were areas in my life where I couldn’t fake it anymore.

Case in point: Not so long ago I was on stage telling people how to get motivated, improve their lives and be more positive, yet I was overweight, sluggish and not demonstrative of whom I said I was.

How full of crap was I? (No pun intended.) I had no right telling other people what they should be doing or how to do it. I needed to do it myself.

FYI IDEA IN ACTION: I lost 28 pounds of fat, gained ten pounds of muscle and transformed my body because I wanted to “Be, and not seem.”

To “Be, and not seem” I actually needed real credibility … steak to go with the sizzle … action that produced real results

Deep stuff? You bet it is. In my opinion this strikes at the core of personal development: Building your self-esteem and self-confidence.

To “Be, and not seem” is to be one hundred percent present where you are and with who you are. It means being congruent with the universe, your values and your beliefs.

It’s about being OK with the most important person in the world, YOU. When you occupy that space you realize that it’s not necessary to seem like you know and understand everything because, hey, who does?

I’m a life-long student of sales, public speaking, personal development, psychology and human behavior. I’ve got a pretty good sense of it and I know when a speaker isn’t prepared, doesn’t own his/her material and is winging it from the platform.

• You can’t talk in depth or detail about the intricacies of sales unless you’ve actually sold something.
• You can’t talk about leadership unless you’ve actually been a leader.
• You can’t talk about fitness, nutrition and personal development unless you live it.

You can certainly have topical conversation, use other people as examples and allude to certain aspects of any discipline, career or science. But I believe, for your message to be 100% transferable, you have had to been on the field, in the game. When you’ve played the game and lived the experience, it becomes believable, tangible and alive, whether it’s for an audience of one or one thousand.

FYI Takeaway: I strive every day to “Be, and not seem” in every area of my life. I encourage you to embrace Ralph Waldo Emerson’s philosophy and you, too, will see your self-confidence, self-esteem and overall happiness improve more each day of your life.

Go Out and Make This Your Best Year Ever!

Author's Bio: 

Eric Taylor is the Chief Inspiration Officer of and founder of New Jersey based Empowerment Group International. He delivers more than 100 energized and interactive keynotes, workshops and seminars each year to corporations, associations and tradeshows. He is the author of the Energy Passport, Co-creator of the Best Year Ever! Success System and Co-author of The Complete Sales Training Encyclopedia. To get complete details about Eric’s background, his products and services, visit Eric Taylor’s Blog and review Eric Taylor’s Profile.