How the ‘should’ is not your success

I’ve never run with societal ideals even though at times I have totally felt the pull to do so because I’ve felt that I should.

I didn’t go to university- I went to a polytechnic (I still feel like I should have a degree).

I didn’t do an OE- I did little trips to different places.

I didn’t get married before having kids- two of them were born out of wedlock.

My husband and I didn’t buy a house after meeting either- we only did last year.

I find that there are so many expectations out there of what is required of us as humans that we get taken so far away from who we really are that when we fight our way back to where we want to be, we get challenged for being different. For choosing a path that is away from the status quo.

I have been looked down upon for not going to university, for choosing to live at my father in laws and for deciding to leave my ‘stable’ 9-5 job. I have endured judgment and critisim from those who are supposed to be family and friends.

Most of it because I (maybe my husband and I) have not fitted in to THEIR box of what success and society should look like.

This is where I do have to say, that if you are content and happy with your life and you don’t feel the pressure of should- all power to you- own that!

For everyone else though…….

We all have different ideas of what success means to us. It could be climbing the corporate ladder and earning the big paycheck, it could be travelling around in a combi van catching the next wave working from your laptop or it could be being the straight up housewife who dotes on her children, cooks, bakes and is totally happy as an at home Mum.

None of these are wrong nor do you need to do something in particular to prove that you are successful. And you know what? You may even be doing more than one thing.

Did you know though that:

You don’t need to move to Bali to show you are a new spiritual entrepreneur

You don’t need to quit your job because you are starting your own business

You don’t have to buy the latest sportscar or upgrade your house

Unless they are exactly what success means to you.

Much of what we now attribute success to be is a conditioned response to what we are shown on media channels. We feel the need to follow people and things even if it is not what resonates and feels good for us. Just because you are seeing people doing something that looks interesting doesn’t mean that you have to jump on it. FOMO is real!

If you do notice people doing courses, working with a coach, working longer hours at work than you are, baking more cookies with the kids, and you’re not, rather than beating yourself up and thinking that you should be doing more, ask yourself:

Is that what I want to be doing more of?

If the answer is yes– then work out how you are going to do it to because if you really want it you’ll find a way.

If they answer is no– then chuck it in the f*** it bucket and forget about it.

And then change your vocabulary around it:

  • You ‘could’ be doing that, you’re choosing not to
  • You ‘would’ be doing that, you’re choosing to do something else

When we lose sight of what success really means to us by playing into the thoughts of the masses, we lose connection to ourselves and our values. When we don’t feel connected to our values, we fall for everyone else’s.

It’s kind of like that quote- If you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for everything. (do you know how hard it was to find out who said this quote?! There’s about 15 citations of different people that said it!)

The ‘everything’ is the should’s.

When we feel added pressure, we can feel judged. This desire to do what everyone else is doing is a little safety net, one to protect us so that we don’t move off the path well-travelled. Often the conditioning that we are so ingrained in is due to our environment. Who do you spend most of your time with? Is it people who uplift you and celebrate your successes and applaud you doing what is different when you do or are they people/workplaces that are determined to keep you within what their version of success is, what they class as the should’s of life.

What do we do to check in?

Go back to your values. If you aren’t sure what they are, start to think about the areas in your life that are important to you.

Decide what success is for you. You can split this into personal and work. And while you are doing that, make sure that its your success that you are writing down not that of someone else.

Ask yourself: why do I want this? What will it give me? How will it support me? What joy will it bring for me?

Think about your environment. Does it make you feel good? Do you need to brighten up an area of the house just for you or spend less time with people at lunchtime who gossip and complain?

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Let’s just touch on judgement. I realised that the judgement I was feeling- by not doing things by the book all the time- was created in my head. People are usually too wrapped up in their own lives to really think deeply about what you’re doing!

I imagined that because I was doing things differently, people were talking about me. Now, maybe that is because in the past I have been the person who has talked about and judged others. It could also be because some of things I was doing were not totally aligned with me.

It’s not to say that when you release what you should be doing that you won’t feel resistance- you’re highly likely to because you are breaking beliefs, patterns and habits that have been formed over a long time. What I am saying though, is that as that resistance passes and you grow and push past the should, the feeling of being judged, the conditioning and the unknowns of where it’ll lead. You will find yourself finding more joy in your day, in your work and at home.

For me, business success looks like being able to support and empower women to create and experience more flow and freedom in their life. This in turn will enable them to discover and express what success really means to them in their lives.

But, its not all about business. It’s just as much about my personal vision. I want to know that I have lived my life on my terms. That I have created and loved what I have done. That I have not let people take away my own personal power and embodiment because I was too scared of what others would think of me. That I have a life where I follow my own path where the need to justify doesn’t even come into the equation because I am so solid in why, how and what I am doing.

Journaling Prompts

Write down where in your life you are following a ‘should’ rather than your own path. Then ask yourself:

Why have I been following this belief/group/habit?

What is it that I would prefer to change this to?

How could I make this happen?

What support do I need to do so?

And lastly, how can I slowly integrate this into my life?

When you start to own and embody your values, change the should and decide what success is to you, you will be able to weave it throughout your life which means creating space for it daily.

And you know what it comes down to? If you want to do something- do it! Do it for yourself, for your life and for what will bring you closer to what you want. Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks or says- they’re not you.

What’s your first step?

Reach out! I’d love to hear what it is going to be in the comments.

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