Get out of everyone else’s minds


I cannot explain how meaningful this sentiment is. We are part of a new generation of thinking where it’s not so prevalent to tell us to sit up like ladies, keep ourselves from using swear words or for males to man up. All the standards set forth before now seem to break us away from what was right or acceptable to society.

Yet we are so easily dragged back into a new societal norm imposed on ourselves. We get imposter syndrome when we try something new and don’t feel capable. How do we know what capable looks and feels like? Do we have an image in our mind that capable is the most perfect example of something we have witnessed? Is our barometer for capable leadership aligned with the actions of Nelson Mandela? Or is our measure for competence in acting or singing lined up with Jodie Comer and Adele? Probably. These are people who have mastered something and likely would feel the same imposter syndrome if I asked them to come and train a group of 9-year-old footballers on my behalf. That’s an open invite, Jodie or Adele — if you fancy it. We don’t have to be experts to do, enjoy or even excel at something.

We feel rushed into achieving life milestones like moving out of our parent's house or getting married or procreating. We’re running things on somebody else’s time. I have friends in their 30s, content to live at home. If it isn’t a detriment to their parents — or themselves — why should I impose my opinion on their situation? Everyone has different values and we should let these values guide us through life, rather than letting the image that others value guide us. It’s time we stop keeping up with anybody and instead build ourselves up.

Before my time on this earth, people discussed their lives and their successes (as they see it) at dinner parties, get-togethers and through writing and keeping in touch. They did not have a readymade pulse for each of their peers’ lives in their pockets. Today we could plot a Gantt Chart of our peers’ milestones; when they got into a relationship, married, when they moved home, when attending school, got a new job, etc. It is literally captured by Facebook and enabled us to boil our lives down to a handful of discrete moments that the world subliminally tells us to aim for.

The saying goes that comparison is the thief of joy. This couldn’t be more accurate. Comparison is the tiny version of ourselves that appears on our shoulders — usually with devil’s horns and a spiky tail. Comparison can paralyze us.

I couldn’t try that, I’d look daft.

I have to move out, I don’t want to be 40 years old living with a roommate.

If we are so fixated on how we look in this world, how can we possibly focus our efforts on the impacts we can have. The people I mentioned above (Nelson Mandela, Jodie Comer & Adele — who probably never imagined being put into 1 sentence) were brave enough to break a self-imposed constraint. Each person is an example of overcoming doubt or apprehension in order to follow their own path. If we can take nothing else from those to who we feel a need to compare ourselves, we should idolize their bravery and IDGAF attitude to just authentically be ourselves regardless of how it looks.

Within the past 18 months, I was offered a substantial raise and a fancy title to remain in a company that I had worked my way up through for 4 years. I had another offer on the table for a little less money, no title and at a totally new company. After a weekend of near-sleeplessness and batting the pros and cons around with my family, I couldn’t settle on what felt right. In the end, I took the less money, lesser job title and brand new environment. I realized that although the shiny new Director’s title and 10k more wasn’t enough to compensate for the slipping life balance I had experienced over the prior months. I value my time and although others see something flash and braggadocious, I see the need for change and balance.

I recommend 2 steps to start making your own choices and living authentically guided by your own values:

  1. Is it something you want to do?
  2. Check why you want to do it.

Lots of times, this second step is revealing. Figuring out why highlights that it often isn't actually something you want to do and rather it is to fill something much less meaningful — like an Instagram post or for the story.

Live for yourself and let everyone else figure their own way too.



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