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#23: It’s not what you think!

It’s somewhat pessimistic. I just barely made it out of negativity to a positive ending. That’s how I felt about the last Freedom Letter.

And then came the feedback. One reader comments that he had given up reading the Letters for a while, but serendipitously opened the current one. Another reader writes that in her eyes, it was the best Freedom Letter to date.

Impostor Syndrome hits me again and again.

In school we used to talk about my English teacher Mr. Theodorescu: “He speaks seven languages, but none of them correctly.” It wasn’t kind and completely ignored the reality that all over Europe and large parts of the rest of the world, this man could ask for directions, order from more than photo menus in restaurants and master practically all everyday situations with confidence.

That’s impressive!

I really admired my friend Mario. We met on a dark field, both of us pointing our telescopes to the sky, photographing stars, planets, and distant galaxies. While I had half a dozen other pursuits, Mario devoted all of his time to this one hobby. And he got good, damn good. Much better than me!

I’m not the best photographer in the world. I’m not the best keynote speaker in the world. I’m not the best writer in the world. I’m not the best pilot in the world. I’m not the best coach in the world.

By directing my attention to different interests and professions, there remains room for improvement in each area. But this universalism has something magical. My experience as a pilot makes me a unique coach. My experience as a photographer makes me a unique public speaker. My experience as… well, I’m sure you get the point.

The more that comes together, the more unique I become. Whether you are perfect at one thing or excel in an unparalleled combination of skills (now called skill stacking) – YOU are valuable to this world!

I am the best Ulrich Christopher Beinert in the world. And you are the best YOU in the world. Right now, find a mirror, look at yourself and say, “I’m the best [your name] in the world!”

Completed? No? Come on! I’m serious!

When I tell people how important it is to love yourself, some of them mistake self love for selfishness. For me, love means unconditional acceptance, not only of the good things, but also of your (supposedly) bad sides.

Who decides what is good and bad? I wasn’t very happy with my Freedom Letter and others thought it was great! This can also work the other way around: You think something is great and others criticize it.

Does that mean you have to change something? No!

Be aware that there is self-perception and the perception of others and that they are not necessarily the same.

It is striking how often we evaluate ourselves and others. At school we have first contact with grades. In our jobs, we get appraisal interviews. And please rate us on Google! The joy of a good rating, the fear of a bad one – unconsciously (and sometimes very consciously) we adjust our behavior accordingly.

Is this freedom?

We all want to grow. I suspect and hope that is why you are reading these Letters. In my opinion, however, permanent assessment prevents free growth. This requires honest, loving and value-free feedback.

You don’t give feedback unsolicited, you ask for it (like I always do in the Freedom Letters – I appreciate your feedback). Feedback is always from the observer’s perspective. Thank those that give it to you.

You are allowed to grow from it. You may also decide: I have a different view and don’t want to change anything. Self-perception vs. perception of others.


Yours, Ulrich

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