emperorIt’s not easy to stay focused and on track with our goals. The irony is that part of us wants to pursue our passions and unleash who we are and the other part of us remains constrained by how we have been conditioned: what everyone else tells us is cool and acceptable.

We tend to put athletes and other celebrities on unrealistic pedestals and it’s not surprising we have the politicians we have since while everyone dreams about fame and recognition, it is a lonely spot with unrealistic expectations. Who really can live up to being perfect under so much public scrutiny over every breath they take in simply being human? Who doesn’t want to buy into the money and prestige that arrives with fame? And yet, when a celebrity declares that he lied or was human, we are all absolutely mortified.

Life is messy. Corruption in the developing world is called “corruption.” while  corruption in the developed world is called “white collar crime” (defined as fraud, bribery, Ponzi schemes, insider trading, embezzlement, cybercrime, copyright infringement, money laundering, identity theft and forgery). But despite the labels, it is the same. In all our efforts to sort through people, assign them labels and place them in neat boxes, some us never ever want to fit in so neatly. Who are we trying to fool?

Let’s stop being mortified. I woke up yesterday wanting to shed the box, once again. Why? Because it serves absolutely no useful purpose apart from restricting us from doing what we want to do. I am weary of being told that I am in the 10% box of people who call bullshit on bullshit. We have been conditioned to ”win at all costs,” and too often those that step on others to win have to break the rules to get there. To live a full life, we need to be allowed to be human. It comes with an ability to make mistakes, fall down, ache, learn, get up and keep going. But when people in the limelight declare their failures and everyone is stunned, it doesn’t allow “regular” people to say “it’s ok.”

In this day and age, way too many people seek validation and external recognition as experts. This whole social business expert fad is a good example. Organizations don’t really need social media strategies. They need to know how to implement their strategy. Didn’t organizations spend so much time, resources and money implementing telephone strategies? Most organizations seek growth and yet instead of investing in their people to delight their customers, they are overcomplicating simple business logic.

And yet, everyone seems silent about this sad state of business. Is it easier to fit in and be acknowledged as an expert or speak out?  If you try to speak out, you are immediately not cool and a big virtual label is stuck on your forehead as you are viewed as attacking. But in essence, we are living through an era of the emperor having no clothes–people are afraid to criticize something because everyone else seems to think it is good or important. The social media emperors (aka gurus) are actually running down the street naked but no one has the guts to admit it.

When will it be ok to say the social media experts are running around naked? Because they are.