Why What People Say Shouldn’t Matter So Much
When you make all your important life decisions based on what other people think, you are giving away your power and turning your values and abilities over to define what will work for you. And other people don’t even know what you really want in life.
Few of us are born so strong that we don’t care what other people think.
Most of us, from early childhood on, have a desire to conform to the opinions of others. We are inundated with the thoughts of others and their preconceived notions of what “will work” and what “won’t work.”
The problem with this is that when we are overly dependent on the thoughts of others, we give away our own power. We end up letting other people decide what will work for us, and how can that make us happy? They don’t even know what we want in life.
It takes bold courage to hold onto our power and even more to wrestle it back if we have given it away.
We typically learn from an early age what is possible for ourselves. We gather this insight through a combination of societal norms, culture, gender and race biases, genetics, and circumstances of our lives.
For the most part, our morals reflect our cultures, trends and sensibilities. Different societies have different ideas of what is and what isn’t acceptable.
I grew up in a middle class blue-collar family in London, Ontario. Both parents worked. My father was an appliance service technician and proudly worked for the same company for 35 years. My mother was employed as an medical secretary in the healthcare industry for more than 20 years. Neither parent ever stepped out of their cultural comfort zone.
They were raised to play it safe, pay cash for everything, and save money for their retirement. My mother took care of all the household responsibilities, such as cooking, cleaning, shuffling me to my various activities and the general child rearing of my sister and me. That was very stereotypical of the era I was raised in as my father worked long hours and managed a large work territory. My mother was essentially the boss. She was the CEO of our household management along with her full time job and our family. Although it might have been tiring for her, she made it all look so easy, modeling what responsibility, consistency and love looked like.
Despite the cultural and societal norms of that time, my parents always encouraged me to ignore any naysayers and go after what I was dreaming of whether or not it conformed to society. I was so fortunate to be raised by parents who instilled the idea that I could do anything if I worked hard!
Through the years I have created and accepted many new opportunities which enabled me to develop skills, abilities and knowledge that I would not have had if I had grown up in a different family. It is because of my family that I was taught to work hard and put in my time and then my dreams would become a reality.
Unknown to me at the time, this mindset set the stage for big dreams and high expectations on myself.
The responsibility I felt for building an amazing life brought me back to the day I graduated from high school with the feeling of exuberance, excitement and big plans for my future. I wanted a lot out of life and therefore that meant, in my mind, I had to work very hard “all the time” to ensure I was moving towards those goals.
My personal mantra and that of my reputation became something of a super-girl who would grow into a superwoman. I expected to excel at literally everything I did. Without even knowing it, as a young child, I created my own cultural norm, a norm that I felt immense pressure from all the time.
I carried this pressure with me even into adulthood. Still do to some extent.
They say that your biggest strength is often your biggest weakness as well. This is mine.
If I don’t come first or win at everything I try, I feel like I didn’t work hard enough…because if I had, I would have won. The competition isn’t with anyone else but with my own expectations of myself.
It took me a long time to reach a place where I could accept that sometimes everything didn’t come out super. It took years before I realized all that mattered was keeping my goals and my agenda aligned. I had to teach myself that being driven by the opinions of others would not get me to a destination of my choosing.
When we fail to challenge our perspective and hold tight to our limiting beliefs, we can deter our own success.
Paula Morand, CSP is a leadership building, revenue boosting, strategy expanding keynote speaker, author and visionary. This dreaming big and being bold leadership expert and brand strategist brings her vibrant energy, humor and wisdom to ignite individuals, organizations and communities to lead change, growth and bold impact. 23 years, 25,000 clients, 19 countries, 11 books, former radio personality, 10x award winning entrepreneur and humorous emcee.
To check out Paula’s newest book, “Bold Courage: How Owning Your Awesome Changes Everything” go to Amazon http://ow.ly/i8yW307ix67
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