I Just Want To Be Myself

Years ago I found myself staring at the wall above my desk. People outside my office ran by, stressed and eager to please their management, dressed by the code and walking the talk.

My employer at the time was a financial institute where I was hired as ‘Marketing Manager Internet Related Products’. Only three years earlier had I quit my career as a Snowboarding professional and here I found myself being quite an odd character in an environment consisting of people who thought more about how to get a raise than actually doing what they wanted. Grey. That’s how I would define that place.

I put my pen to a paper and wrote ‘I just want to be myself’ and then nailed it to that grey wall.

People stopped by my desk later that day and asked, “what?!” and I answered – I just want to be myself, do the things I love and pursue my passions in life. I don’t want to dress in a suit and tie just because that’s how your supposed to dress. I want to wear a suit cause I like it. That’s what its all about, staying ‘me’. Shortly after I left for a job with 1000€ less a month, no company car or other freebies. Just a fun job!

Stay true to yourselves

Now years later I’m here. I’m doing what I love every day. I’m pursuing my passions. I’m working with great people, great clients and I control every minute of my day.

People who know me from way back don’t really understand what I do for a living. Even members of my family can’t really explain to other people what I actually do. When my kids ask me “Dad, what do you do for a living” even I have a hard time explaining. My answer is – “I’m drawing things, making up stories, create ideas, solve problems, teach people about the future and I’m having fun while doing it”.

I’ll never grow old. I’ll never stop being curious. I’ll never stop loving what I do. I’ll never stop being me.

That’s my promise. To myself.

What’s your promise, from personal or a brand point of view?

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  • I have a speech bubble at my desk, in which I have written: “I’m not antisocial. I just have a really low tolerance for suck.”
    That, however, is not how I tll my kids to live their lives – yet 🙂

  • Wow. I now feel even more comfortable with being where I am, just starting out in a new life of being myself. Not because of this promise of passionate work – I’m already there – but because I’m now sure this intoxicating autonomy and flow of creative insights by doing what I love everyday will not go away for many years to come. Thank you for sharing!

    And nobody knows what I do for a living either 😉

  • Hey Per my friend! Just love how people seem to share these thougts. We’re living in times where big companies will have a hard time attracting big brains cause big brains aren’t in it for the money, they’re in it for love!

  • Inspiring Johan, some great truths in this post. Do you think snowboarding helped open your eyes wider than the suit & raise folks, or is this outlook ingrained in your DNA? 🙂

  • Good and inspirational post:) I’m still studying PR&Marketing but try to live by what you spoke about in this post. I believe at least half my studies consist of what I do besides schools (radio, tv, practical marketing, social media etc.) which imo is much better than chasing a higher grade and also makes my life more interesting pursuing what I feel is relevant.

    One of my favorite quotes is “a good traveler has no set plans” – Lao Tzu
    It’s more important with directions and visions then specific goals

  • Absolutely. When people ask me about these things I actually say exactly that. That snowboard turned things around for me. Partly because I went for a sport nor my family or other people really grasped at the time and I became good at it. I learned to follow my dreames and listen to my heart 🙂

  • I’ve been cyclist for 19 years and was pretty good at it in Sweden. But the challenge is to get the same feeling in life after the career. I’m paying back to the sport as a driven chairman of the board in Smålands Cykelförbund. But it doesn’t pay my bills.

    I’m sure of that there is more money in big companies than there is ideas. I’m full of ideas. Disturbed by life now…

  • Hey,

    Just start sharing your ideas. On a blog for example. Sooner or later
    someone will acknowledge your passion if you’re passionate enough.
    It’s not an easy ride but the again, who said things would come for
    free 🙂 I know of quite a lot of people who have pursued their
    passions and succeeded, however, what they all have in common is the
    fact that they didn’t put a time limit, they just started sharing
    their ideas.

  • Thanks Claes and you’re absolutely right. Every now and then I’m
    qouting the secret voice in the Field of Dreams with Kevin Costner
    “Build it and they will come”

  • +1 Johan. Great to hear that – I´ve continued jumping from the cliff and get more and more opportunities to follow my passions every week since. Will keep you posted – it´s quite a story when you actually open that door and start recieving! But it IS really hard to explain what you do sometimes – for the moment I´m just setteling with that it´s about digital shamanism. 😉

  • Hey welcome to the world of “scanners”, I recently discovered I am one of them!…
    Maybe you already know about it, if not more info here http://bit.ly/beig4g (no selling I promise). Really good post. Thanks

  • Grymt bra post. För de som inte lästa Gary Vaynerchucks bok: Crusch it! rekommenderar jag den starkt. Om man känner idag (läs söndagar), nej, imorgon är det måndag igen, då bör man byta jobb. Börja med något som man brinner för and money will follow.

  • Wow! Your article made an impression that lasts and I really need to connect with those who dares to go their own ways in life with Passion as you do. I recently chosen to leave IBM after an interesting journey during 7 years and restart my own company.

    My promise is to follow my heart and work with passion and compassion!

  • Thanks for this comparison. I have also wondered how efficient hand dryers really are compared to paper towel. Unfortunately we often don’t have a choice which method we use. Most public washrooms are only fitted with one or the other. Still knowing the environmental difference can help establishment owners choose the appropriate method. I wonder what the price difference between all of these options is.

  • Nice post. Last night I listened to a presentation about installing a call center where the big cheese commanded a finish date with no prior experience. The presenter marched to the tune, worked 24/7 for months, had lots of crises due to incomplete preparation and planning, but completed the project on time, even if there were still many issues. She said to me as we left, “I could never imagine doing what you do (freelance consultant/ contractor).” I thought, “I could never do what you did.” Too often in organizations the power dynamics keep individuals from being able to “just be me.” I’d love to hear stories about organizations that allow people their individuality.

  • Hey….i dont know you, nor do you know me….i liked your post…..am so depressed for i have been pretending to be happy from last two years even though i am not…..so i googled “i just want to be myself” and found your blog….so…..i know, i am writing my personal things at a public page….but still, am impressed my the blog and i feel i am in a similar condition…i have not been what i really am, people know me as a jolly guy, always happy though i cry every single night…..and in the morning, theres a fake smile on my face…..whatever, i dont wanna take much of your time…..bye

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