You can deny it if you want to, but I know it’s true. So do you. You’re not the only one, though. Everyone feels the same way. Why wouldn’t you?
We all want to be special. We all want to make our mark. We all want to live “the life less ordinary.” We are the center of our own existence, and we daydream, plan, work, hope, pray, read the stars, set intentions and seek guidance towards being the best versions of ourselves. Should be a pretty simple transaction, then, right?
Not exactly. You knew that, though.
So, what’s the problem? Well, there are always external factors outside of our control. Sometimes, we do everything right with an engaged mind and an open heart, and the results just don’t align with our dreams. In those cases, we do our best to learn, reset, and try again. If you don’t, then I guarantee your dreams aren’t going to materialize. That math is actually pretty easy.
Often, however, we don’t even get to that point. Why? Because we don’t let ourselves get there.
There’s a well-loved quote from Marianne Williamson that – among other lovely things – proposes that “it is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.” Sounds a little woo-woo, maybe, but it’s a poetic way to say, in short, that you need to get out of your own way.
You’re probably thinking, “What do you mean?? I’m out here studying, hustling, working non-stop, doing every single thing I can to be the one who makes it. How’s that a problem??”’
Well, coupla things.
First, your brain may be doing the work, but is it on the same page as your heart in terms of believing your dreams could actually become real? Or, is it simultaneously running a background track about how “youaredumbandyouwillneverfinishandnoonecaresanditistimeyoustop”? (Thanks, Amy Poehler.) Mmm hmm. Forward momentum is pretty tough when you’re carrying a load of baggage full of doubt, anxiety and fear.
Speaking of fear…
There’s another part of this equation. In addition to the “voice in your head,” there’s also this basic math problem than the sum can only be comprised of the variables that go into creating it. In other words, you can’t create a “special” life for yourself out of the same ingredients other people are using to create theirs.
In baking, they’d call that a batch. You know, a bunch of little cookies that come from the same bowl of dough. Maybe even designed with, well, cookie cutters…
You don’t want to be a little cookie, lined up on a giant sheet with a bunch of other cookies, do you? Nah. You’re trying to be something bigger, with a special flavor unto yourself. That’s fine. You can be that, I can be that. We can all be that. But it doesn’t work unless you’re willing to mix up your ingredients.
You have to be willing to look at the choices before you with an eye for inertia. You know, that momentum that pulls you in the direction of the collective, along with the tide. There’s safety in numbers. Right?
To some extent, yes. Making the same choices as other people around you feels good. Taking the advice of people you admire feels smart. You’re more likely to be supported, which keeps you on the path — the road more traveled, and far less scary.
Just to be clear, we don’t all need to quit our day jobs and sell our possessions, or move to a remote continent, or do something equally dramatic to figure out our authentic purpose. Well, some of us might. For others, a shift that seems minor on the surface might feel like the equivalent of setting your life on fire.
That’s kind of the point, though.
It doesn’t matter what you do for a living, where you live, or what you do with your weekends. You can work for a huge company, or yourself, or no one. Choose to partner up, get a puppy, have kids, or don’t. Strike it rich, make mistakes, and bounce back. Go big, and then also go home. But don’t run from anything just because it scares you.
Fear, like everything else, keeps on moving when you’re able to stare it in the eye and call it out. Find your breath. Listen more to your intuition and less to your doubt. Then, write your own rules. Or, don’t. It’s your call.
Just remember to check your ingredients. Sorry we can’t help, but none of us out here have the recipe for you.