I am back today with my second part of my Skills for Success Series. Hopefully by now you’ve had a chance to put into practice our first skill – learning how to OWN YOUR LIFE. All of the skills in this series build on one another, so make sure you review the previous post before moving forward. With that in mind, let’s talk about rules (and why you need to break them)
Skill Number 2 – Break the Rules.
Take a second to reflect about how much of your life was decided for you at birth. Your nationality, family, language, religion, and the cultural and societal norms you were designed to follow. Have you ever taken the time to re-evaluate those decisions? Are those aspects of your life working to move you forward, or are they holding you back?
Most cultures teach us to fit within acceptable roles in our society. These roles are often dictated by gender, laws or tradition. In the case of my culture, there were clear differences in the way men and women were raised and in the expectations that were laid out for each gender. As a pre-teen, I was made to take home economic courses while boys in my school took classes on computers, sports, etc. TV and media sold me images of perfectly polished households and homemakers, traditional families in which the woman cooks while her husband earns a living. Somehow, cultural values, reflected in our media managed to tell us how to live. Beauty and femininity were valuable traits. Leadership, and independence weren’t.
Now, let me backtrack to say that this post is not meant to be a feminist rant or a complaint about gender inequality. The point that I am trying to make here is that:
Every society has laid out expectations. Sometimes those expectations work for us, and sometimes they work against us.
An important step to achieving success in anything you do is to determine what works, and what doesn’t work in your life. There is no right, or wrong way to do this. What doesn’t work for me might be exactly what makes someone else happy, and that is completely okay.
In my case, the expectations laid out for me simply did not work. For years, I tried to “fit in” but I always felt like I was not true to myself. I worried. Will people like me? Will they judge me if I stand up for what I believe? Fear paralyzed me. I was full of ideas, goals, and dreams but lacked drive, boldness, and initiative to make them happen. I tried to keep everyone else around me happy. I often succeeded, but I felt like I was living a life that wasn’t mine.
Can you relate to this? Are you scared to follow your dreams out of fear of being judged?
The most successful people I’ve ever met have achieved and embraced their true potential. They embrace their uniqueness, and they use it to stand out from their competition. As children, we always want to be part of the “in crowd” we want to be accepted, to blend in. But should we continue to aspire to blend in as adults? Is blending in going to propel your business forward? Get you the job of your dreams? Get you promoted?
Our biggest insecurities are often the things that shine the brightest light to who we are. You can choose to blend in the background, follow the rules, live to make others happy. Or you can start choosing your path. Working towards a life that’s designed by your own doing. The choice is yours. What is holding you back?