If your first job after college doesn’t pertain to your degree you just received, you have failed. If you don’t get that promotion at work, you have failed. If you didn’t accomplish everything on your three page to do list at work AND at home AND at that extra-curricular activity you do to get out of the house so you don’t become a hermit for life, you have FAILED. Everyone is going to talk about you. Everyone is going to talk. The fact that you’re not posting an update on Facebook on that job you tried for that you said you really really loved shows that you didn’t get it and now everyone is judging you. You. Are. Failing.
Can you feel your levels of anxiety increasing while reading that? Can you feel your own self disappointment rising in an upward trajectory that is currently competing with the height of Mt. Everest?
If it’s not? Well, you’re doing better than the rest of us. Because the fact of the matter is that there are a lot of us out there that feel the pressure of the outside universe to perform with a level of perfection that is unattainable. And even though we know it’s unattainable, we still try to please everyone. Sometimes even when it’s something we don’t want.
But you want to know something else? There are not bunches of people out there watching you fail either. More likely than not, they’re waiting to celebrate your successes. If they are waiting for you to fail, then I’m not sure they’re worth sharing successes with.
For a really long time, I believed I was constantly failing and that the culmination of those failures would amount to nothingness in my life. But the more I exist and learn, the more I see that failure is more like a course correction rather than a shipwreck.
If I take a look at where I was and where I thought I was going ten years ago versus where I am now?I was supposed to be a super successful director with two books written and a secluded house in the woods. I was supposed to not have to think about money by now and attend major events and create a non profit. By these standards I have failed tremendously because I have not achieved a single one.
And the me today is proud of it! Why? Because I have a stable job that lets me leave work at work with flexible hours and good benefits. Because I live with my partner who loves me like I’ve never experienced love before. Because the roof over my head is stable and there’s food on my table. Because my hobbies bring me joy and I get to share that with others. You see, my perspective on fulfillment and success has changed. My fulfillment is not sourced from work- it’s sourced from life, from love, from experience. If I can only be fulfilled by checking off boxes on a list, then I’ll never see what’s outside that list.
I guess what I’m getting at in my musings today is that it’s okay to change. It’s okay for perspective to change and for what to matter in your life to change. It’s okay to need the rigidity of a list to keep you on track towards a major goal if that’s what makes you happy. It’s also okay to let it go and see where the world takes you.
The important thing is that you set those definitions yourself and not to let others define them for you. Then they aren’t your goals you’re after. And then it has become not your life.
What are you after? What are your goals? Take time to reflect on that over your morning coffee and your own musings. Taking that time for yourself is important. I hope you have a great day!
Until Next Time,