Sometimes all we need to do is make space for ourselves and allow our real thoughts and desires the opportunity to show themselves to us. They might just be sitting there, waiting to be seen, if only we would stop moving and take the time to be present with ourselves. This was something that became so clear to me in a recent session.
I recently met with a client who wanted support to figure out her next move. When the session started, she asked me to help her understand whether she needed to “put in her time” at her big law job before moving on to something new. Specifically, was there some magic to sticking it out for 3 years before moving on to the next thing?
I actually get asked variations of this question all the time.
There is a common belief that we must always act with our resumes in mind.
That we must always ensure that our resumes demonstrate not only our competencies but our LOYALTY to prior employers.
But what about loyalty to ourselves? Loyalty to what we want? That was where this session quickly ran off to. I was prepared to empower my client to take ownership of her career and decide for herself what made the most sense regardless of some perceived righteous calendar but then the session took a surprising turn. After some pressing, my client quietly shared that knew exactly what she wanted to do with her career; she knew exactly what she wanted to do and she didn’t want to wait 3 years to do it.
(If this is ringing a bell, run don't walk to signing up for a free session with me. Don't shame your dreams. Don't bury your light. Let that shit burn the night down!)
So why muddy with water with all these questions about how long to stay and when is it the “right” time to move on? Because that was the feedback she was getting from those around her. Well-intended, certainly, but that advice was in direct contrast to what she knew in her gut. She knew she wanted to leave and she knew exactly what she wanted to do next. She allowed her conviction and inner knowing to be clouded by the judgments and experiences of others.
How many times in our lives have we put off doing what we knew was right for ourselves because we allowed ourselves to be persuaded by those around us?
We seek input from those closest to us but then allow those inputs to sway us. To set us adrift, unmoored. When you know in your gut what you want, allowing the advice and counsel of those around you to change your course will set you adrift and the tides of others’ opinions will only carry you farther away from that true north.
Think about it….when you KNOW what you want to do next, why bother asking others what you should do? Because you want your decision to be blessed by those in your life. Because you don’t want your decisions to be criticized. Because you want to be talked out of your “crazy” dream. You want to be convinced that you should stay safe and not rock the boat. So instead, you gather the input and attempt to fit it into your plan. In doing so, you take a perfectly clear path and you obscure it. We turn away from our own knowing because we are driven by a desire to please those around us, avoid criticisms, and stay safe.
I know we all know it but let me say it again here: that is no way to live your life!
There are no inherently “right” or “wrong” answers — there is only OUR answer. When we look to others to steer our course, we imply that there is some inaccessible wisdom that others have and we don’t. That others know our dreams better than we do.
At the same time, we often look to others in hopes that they will talk us down from the ledge; that they will stop us from leaping into some uncertain dream. They will snuff out our crazy. That they will keep us from doing something ridiculous.
Be aware of who you are and what you want. Having that clarity is a gift that is not bestowed upon all of us.
Honor that gift and do not allow yourself to be swayed by the experiences of others. Following your own dream will be uncomfortable. It will expose you to criticism and judgment. But is that really worse than living a life to please someone else? Is that better than living INauthentically? Are you really committed to believing that pursuit of your dream was supposed to be some fantastical cake walk?
Our rational minds know that pursuit of our path is meant to challenge us and forge us anew but the part of us that fears what others might think sees those difficulties as a reason to stop the pursuit.
In doing so, we stifle our own evolution. Hard is part of the deal. Buckle up, baby cakes!
One of the greatest gifts I can offer my clients is to serve as a mirror for themselves; to help them see their own strengths, their own wants, and their own dreams. I believe that we all hold the keys or our own successes and happiness, but sometimes those keys are buried under years of negative programing and bad information. Once we clean up our own roadblocks, the truth is often waiting to be found. Then the only thing left to do is trust our own judgement and start taking action despite the fear. That my friend, is why we are here. To pursue the uncharted path and see just who we might become at the end of that journey.
Happy trails, my friends!