It sounds like a strange question for a mental health blogger to ask, I know. I’ll be honest, it’s not a question I ever imagined myself asking. And yet, here we are.
I’ve just watched a TED talk about résumé virtues vs. eulogy virtues. It’s 1 o’clock on a Friday morning, and here I am sitting down to write because of course I get inspired to do so at some ridiculous unsociable hour!
Here’s the thing; occasionally I read or watch something that truly resonates with me. This TED talk is one of those things. Think about it; do you think more about how your résumé looks, or how you’ll be eulogised when the time comes for you to leave this world? I know for me, it’s most definitely the former.
I panic about my threadbare CV. I constantly search for ways in which to pad it out. Anything to make me more employable.
But when you think about it, what’s truly more important in this life? Being employable, or being a good person? Because I can assure you, these two things are not one and the same. That’s not to say that they’re mutually exclusive, not by any stretch of the imagination, but they’re worlds away from being identical.
For me, I strive to be the best person I can be. Despite this, the thing that keeps me awake at night is still how to be a good employee, or at the very least, how to be a good businesswoman. The truth is, I always strike out a tad on being a good employee or businesswoman. Being a good person, whilst being at the back of my mind, always seems to overpower the urge to come across as “successful” in my field.
So, that’s the story of how I often make a loss on the items I sell via the shop on my website.
However, despite the obvious financial issues this can cause, I don’t let it bring me down a whole lot. The things I sell have been designed to help people, and presumably, they’re successful in that, or they wouldn’t sell. That, for me, is the biggest marker when it comes to measuring my success.
At the end of the day, I don’t want people to look back and think of me as the girl who had a list of qualifications as long as the day. I want people to look back and think of me as the woman who fought tooth and nail to ensure that people had access to resources that would aid them in their journeys with mental illness.
I want to be remembered for the time that I battled through anxiety in order to stand in front of people and be entirely honest about my mental illness so that others knew they weren’t alone in what they were feeling. I do not want to be remembered as the person who manipulated these things to make a quick buck.
Now, I’m not naive, I realise that at some stage I’m going to have to pull myself together and think about how I’m going to make a living doing these things that bring me so much joy. I’m working on that aspect of it all. But, the main thing for me right now is that I’m doing what makes me happy, and I’m helping other people find their happiness in the process. What could be more important than that?
As it stands, my CV doesn’t look too good. I have my mental illnesses to thank for that. And like I say, it does bother me. However, I’m going to make a promise here and now to try to put those fears aside and focus on what I’m trying to achieve. Nobody will pull out a copy of my CV at my funeral and say “well, she tried, but the truth is she didn’t get a whole lot done” – at least, I hope they won’t!
I guess what I’m trying to get at there, is that there’s far more to life than the bits of paper that tell others that you know your stuff. Aim to lead a life that can’t possibly be summed up on the recommended page and a half that makes up your résumé. I know I can list far more collaborations, events, and achievements than I could possibly fit on those pages. And ya know what? The vast majority of people that I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to and even working alongside, well, they seem to see more value in those experiences than in a lot of qualifications being taught in educational establishments.
Now, don’t get me wrong; there is value in formal education. I’m sure that it does make it easier for people down the line, whilst applying for jobs and such, and I’m hoping to find that out for myself in the next few years. I’d just question whether the real value lies in formal education or the education that we all receive just by picking our way through this slightly crazy experience that we call life. I think that form of education is often enormously undervalued by the vast majority of us.
I’m going to finish up by asking you – will you stand with me here? Let’s promise right now that we will refrain from judging those around us who value experience over education, and let’s also vow to stop being so hard on ourselves. Whether we did our best but didn’t quite get the grades expected of us, or we just didn’t see those pieces of paper as priorities, that’s okay. Because we’re going to focus on being the best people we can possibly be. And if anyone judges us, we’ll shoot them a smile and get on with being beautiful people.
How does that sound?
Until next time,