Stop Auditioning for Other People’s Lives

It is said that bloggers, coaches and advice-givers dole out wisdom that they themselves need to hear. Consider this one of those posts. I am learning right along with you. And this post might not be for everyone – so if it doesn’t apply to you – kudos!

Courtesy of Slider72 (Flickr)

Courtesy of Slider72 (Flickr)

The Message
Stop auditioning for other people’s lives. Whether it’s a job interview, a business partnership or a potential mate, stop focusing the majority of your attention on whether YOU are good enough for THEM. Stop wearing masks and molding yourself into the person you think other people want you to be.

You be you. When you are trying to make a good impression, don’t forget to genuinely ask yourself – with an open mind – what value others bring to your life as well. Is the job, the partnership or the relationship good enough for YOU?

A Personal Example (Not Dating Related!)

Earlier this year, a book publisher contacted me. They found my blog a week after I had finished my proposal, which came two weeks after ending a four-month writer’s block in which I couldn’t even bear to open the Word file with my manuscript. The publisher contacting me was one of those “universe comes knocking” moments. THEY found ME?! I was flabbergasted. I did everything I could to promote myself as best as possible.

I know that the book publishing process is slow, but until I got an update this weekend, it had been months since I had heard anything. Despite knowing they were “very interested” I had no clue if they would commit to working with me. I still don’t.

I’ve had moments of insecurity – is my book good enough? Am I good enough? Could I sell more than two copies (one for each parent)? On one level, sure – this is about the quality and potential of my book. But on another level, I should be auditioning the publisher too. Are they right for me? What do they bring to the table? How much potential does the PARTNERSHIP – the combination of both of us sitting at the table – have?

Life is like Tetris: You may be a “Z” when the other party is looking for an “I”
No one is perfect. Life is a matching process. Look for situations in which you and the other party, given that you are both imperfect, bring something to the table. Where you both add value. If it’s not a match and someone tells you this or you recognize it yourself – move on.

It can be incredibly hard not to take a mismatch personally – not to dwell on what is wrong with you and what you need to change or improve. Coming from a girl who loves reflection and growth, trust me – I get it. Of course there is value in being honest with yourself about your areas for improvement. But there is also value in cutting your losses and chalking it up to a TWO-WAY mismatch in which your needs would probably not have been met from the relationship either.

Honesty is worth the risk
The matching process requires honesty to be successful, which involves taking risks. It can be scary to put yourself out there and say “This is who I am. Take me or leave me, as I am.” It is scary because you are putting the real you out there to be accepted or rejected by the other party (and them by you). But it’s worth it – because when two parties are a fit, it works. It really, really works. And it’s a wonderful feeling to be on the same page, clicking and “in the zone” with another person, job or team.

Listen up! A Final Note:
You deserve to be in mutually beneficial situations and relationships. You deserve to be surrounded by people who appreciate you and light you up. You – exactly as you already are. Because life is too short to be putting on a show.


For a great post on a similar topic – how to live in alignment with your true self – check out Jonathan Mead’s De-Compartmentalizing Your Life and the Extinction of Boundaries.

  • jennyblake

    Thanks Jenny! And I love that you want me to put you down for a copy of the book. SAWEEET! I've now pre-sold four copies – WUHOO! :D

  • jennyblake

    Sarah – your story resonates so much with me (and I'm sure many others who have gone through a break-up). When we're feeling vulnerable and uncertain about the lives we used to know, it can be so easy to become overly critical and focus on all of our flaws. I LOVE that you are putting yourself first because that's what YOU want. That is brilliant – and so important – because making yourself happy is the foundation that allows you to give (and be open to receive) from other people. Here's to you finding a great match in the future! :D

  • jennyblake

    DShan! YES – I was waiting for someone to bring this up – that being ourselves does NOT mean we should get lazy and stop The Work of continuing to improve and add value (to other people's lives and our own). It's definitely a paradox to be ourselves AND strive to continue being the best version of that – a constantly evolving state.

    I also love what you said about continuing to audition every once in a while – touche!

  • jennyblake

    Aw, thank you so much! You are absolutely right that NO ONE can take away our power – unless we let them. They can try, and they can certainly hurt us – but at the end of the day, they do not get to decide whether we are good people or not. I know that you live your life with incredible integrity, compassion and impact – don't ever let anyone take that away from you. It is a gift and the world is a better place because of you!

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  • Casey

    I absolutely love this post! It completly makes sense and we all need a reminder to be ourselves at all times.

  • jennyblake

    Thanks Casey! Glad it resonated with you, and I appreciate you stopping by

  • Noel

    This is exactly what I needed to hear today … I have been lost. Really, really lost …which then made me doubt ….. EVERYTHING!

    I am new to your words of wisdom … but am already slightly addicted.

    What you do is important! Thx … I'll be tuning in more often!

  • jennyblake

    Hi Noel,

    Thank you so much for the kind words! I'm really glad you found Life After
    College and thrilled to hear it's been helpful for you so far. I look
    forward to keeping in touch :)


  • jennyblake

    Hi Noel,

    Thank you so much for the kind words! I'm really glad you found Life After
    College and thrilled to hear it's been helpful for you so far. I look
    forward to keeping in touch :)


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  • Melodee Forbes

    This really resonated with me in every way! Thank you so much for writing it.

    • jennyblake

      Thanks so much Melodee! So glad the post resonated – thanks for stopping by
      and taking the time to comment! It’s very nice to (virtually) meet you :D

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  • Jamie

    Hi, I’m currently a freshman in college. However I stumbled upon your website through and have found your blog so relate-able! Finding your blog was a refreshing to see and has given me a new found hope, as I am sitting at home on a Saturday night. I feel like what you described above is the situation that I am currently in. Adjusting to college has been different then any other time in my life and even though your blog is geared to those in the after college life I will find it useful in achieving greatness and finding my footing in this world. So thank you for my new found hope!

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