IN SELF HELP BOOKS, THE AUTHORS OFTEN WRITE ABOUT “US” as if we were generic beings, treating us all the same, with blanket suggestions for everyone, as if we all had the same talents and goals. There’s the You Can Do It! mentality, which exhorts us all to be workshop leaders, inspirational speakers, and top-selling authors, building our “platform” for success, fame and fortune. But is that truly what we all want? Maybe that’s why self help books can be so ineffective—we are all so different, with different skills and different goals. One size does not fit all.
It is said that our number one fear is public speaking, more so than death. And yet we are encouraged to become public speakers, as if this deep-seated fear is just a little glitch to overcome on our path to fame and fortune. The thinking goes along these lines—you have to be a public speaker in order to address large groups and build your “platform”—i.e. add to your fan base and e-mail list. This equals success. But many of us have no interest in speaking in public nor in teaching workshops—we prefer to leave that to others who have a true talent for it, such as people with the Teacher, Actor and Performer archetypes—they feel right at home on the stage in front of an audience. Maybe we are Scribes and Poets, and prefer to communciate in a more intimate way. It’s a completely different type of energy, as anyone who has attempted to be a teacher without having the Teacher archetype has found out — it’s exhausting and eventually soul destroying. Teachers are born not made.
Not only can we not all be like Oprah, most of us would not want to be Oprah! Few of us have the particular gifts and talents that she has—I, for instance, would rather have a root canal than be on stage in front of a TV camera. And this is okay—it’s okay for me to reach my audience through books and a blog and personal contact, even if it might be a smaller audience. It’s all about knowing who we are—we all have different gifts and will shine in our own way. So don’t let yourself be bullied into thinking you should be this or should do that—do what’s right for you. Just go within and ask for guidance that will lead you to the right path, the path that’s right for you.