Chapter 2 The Freedom To Be You, The True American Dream
Author quotes from Chapter 2
“The American Dream might therefore be more accurately described as the right and freedom to be who we want to be, and do exactly what we want to, providing it does not infringe on the rights of others.
This understanding of the real promise of the American Dream is a cornerstone of learning to soar. The freedom to be who you want to be reinforces the philosophy that permeates these pages: ‘Above all, to thine own self be true.’ The most significant challenge life presents us with, however, is how can we be true to ourselves?
To begin with, you must be truthful in defining what it is you want for your life. You must assess what success means to you. Consider the following questions:
Whom do you know who is successful?
Why would you regard them so?
How would you describe success?
What feelings would you associate with success?
What are you willing to do to achieve this success?
What are you not willing to do?
When considering what it is you want the future to hold for you, it may be necessary to shift your thinking to a whole new level: understanding the distinction between career and vocation. Career is goal oriented, but vocation focuses on the purpose for you life. To put career ahead of vocation points to being primarily concerned with upward mobility, advancement, and progress. This can lead to maneuvers that on the surface appear clever and smart, but often are manipulative, lack integrity, and inevitably come back to haunt you.
To be true to ourselves a career should be planned within the context of our vocation or calling. In no way does this limit us. Choosing to focus our talents toward what we truly love and believe in brings forth the creativity, energy, and commitment that are key characteristics of any successful career. You will discover that your career goals are much more readily achieved when you are working on purpose.
If the primary responsibility we have in life is being true to ourselves, it can only be accomplished by carrying out what we are called to do—our unique and special vocation. The True American Dream not only provides the freedom to use our gifts and talents to achieve our highest goals, but also the freedom to fulfill our purpose in life. While goals nourish the heart, it is purpose that feeds the soul.”
When I returned to Michigan from Germany I drove to Midland and visited Dow Chemical’s Personnel office, and told them what job I wanted. Their response was that they didn’t hire off the street for HR “types”, but that they did have a sales opening in Indiana, and would I be interested. Asking myself, “what are you willing to do to achieve success”, I said yes.
Fortunately I did a good job as a field seller, and my boss rewarded me by opening doors to an HR assignment. I wasn’t comfortable in the selling role. It didn’t fit my purpose in life, but I knew when I landed the HR job that I had found my niche. My mind and heart were in unison.
Remember, the 6 key questions, posed by the author (above), which, when answered, will speak volumes about a person’s principles, values, and character.