A few years ago, I started on this journey of personal development and self-discovery, and it has led me to a whole new perspective on the world. I was an AP student in high school, graduated college with honors, and was always very proud of my knowledge and education. I got my dream job within a year of graduating, and hated it with a passion. I was a little shaken that my whole life plan was now in jeopardy, but I picked myself back up, and found a new dream job at a renewable energy start up….but that one made me miserable too. What was happening?? I was doing everything I was told was right, but it wasn’t working for me.
At the old age of 23, my life was over. I had no idea what to do now that the system had failed me (or I failed the system? I’m still not sure). I had no back up plan, no idea why nothing was making me happy, or even remotely satisfied, and no clue what to do next. Keep hopping from terrible boss to terrible boss? From soul sucking job to soul sucking job, just hoping to save up enough for an escape vacation once a year? Deep in my core, I realized that I would never be happy living the way I was taught my whole life: go to school, get a job and work for someone for 40 years, get married, have 3 kids, and forget all about those crazy goals because they’re just dreams.
Going over that expected life plan again and again in my head, all I could think for months was “there has to be more than this. This cannot be all there is to life”. Since I was so stuck, the only thing I could do was soul-search. I researched alternative careers, alternative lifestyles, becoming a nomad, living off the land, literally anything beside the normal path. I journaled about my goals, my dreams, my strengths, my weaknesses, my dissatisfactions with society and its low expectations for me, what I would do if I had unlimited money and time. Through all of this introspection that took place over many months, I found that there is so much more out there! This is a world of endless opportunities, connections, and paths, and I was shocked when I took off my blinders. The only reason I had one set path, was because I was letting people CONVINCE me that was my only option. Like a lightning bolt, it hit me that I was in complete control of everything in my life. I was free.
I got my wellness coaching certification through the International Association of Wellness Professionals (IAWP) and my Reiki master certification within a year of each other, and then I quit my terrible full time job with benefits and a 401k to build my own empire. I find myself having to explain over and over again, yes I know it’s risky to create my own business with no backup job, yes I understand it may not work, yes I know what I am doing is not for everyone, and these conversations keep bringing rules front and center in my thoughts. I keep wondering, why is everyone obsessed with telling me how wrong I am to do things my way? Why does my decision bother them so much, when it doesn’t affect their lives at all? I was ecstatic to be really free, to be following my heart, but I wasn’t telling everyone else they were wrong for not doing the same thing. So why did everyone feel like they had the right to tell me I was wrong??
The answer has finally come to me, and it’s because I’m not following the agreed upon rules.. Rules are guidelines we set down for ourselves personally, for our families, for our careers, for Americans, and for humanity as a whole. For each bigger group, there comes an additional set of rules. Rules are meant to protect us, keep anarchy from breaking out, and to have a roadmap to life. Rules like ‘stealing is bad’ or ‘the red light means stop; do keep us from harm. However, there are unspoken rules that actually keep us depressed, unfulfilled, and unhappy, but because they’re rules and largely agreed upon as “right”, we follow them faithfully.
My business is only possible because I’ve questioned the unspoken rules, rules like I’m a college graduate so I should have a 9-5 job with a 401k and dental. Or the one that says I should be planning a wedding and thinking about a family by now since I’ve been with my boyfriend for 7 years. Or the one that says I should be satisfied with the status quo and go down the expected path of career —> family —>retirement —->now enjoy life. So many people are so brainwashed by these rules that they are unhappy, but don’t think that there is anything they can do about it. They just accept it. They’ve given up control of their life to these unspoken rules, rules that don’t technically exist but everyone follows. Rules that say women shouldn’t make more than their male partners, should be obsessed with babies, should feel guilty having a career if they do have kids, and that life isn’t meant to be enjoyed until retirement, if you’re lucky enough to have a nest egg large enough to support you.
I question all of the rules now, and that’s how I had the guts to quit my job when I could only see the next step in front of me, not the whole staircase. I question anyone who tells me that I’m the crazy one for believing I have what it takes to be successful. I question those who continue to hound me about when I’m going to make my boyfriend marry me and have kids, but then in the next breath tell me how horrible it is to be tied down. I question anyone who tells me I’m going to fail when they themselves have never taken a chance on themselves, and most importantly, I question myself when I start to believe all those people.
The unspoken rules that keep us living in fear aren’t even real , and my mission has become to show people, by living it myself, that those rules are just guidelines, and guidelines can be changed to fit your needs at any time. Those rules are just somebody’s opinion that we’ve all agreed to adopt, and they may work for some people, but will never work for all people. If you find yourself constantly miserable, unchallenged and bored by life, unsatisfied or unfulfilled, you need to start questioning the unspoken rules that you’ve agreed to follow. It’s scary at first to go against everything you’ve learned, but then it becomes fun. I laugh when people tell me I shouldn’t be so laid back about life. Well why not? Why should I walk around miserable, worried, and serious all the time? When someone can give me some good reasons why I should stick to the status quo instead of doing things my way, I’ll consider falling in with the ranks. Until then, doing the opposite of what people want me to do is now a hobby for me. I love surprising people by doing what they say can’t be done. I love showing them that it doesn’t take that much effort to buck society’s expectations, and no, my life isn’t in shambles. I relish the surprised look on people’s faces when I tell them about what I’m doing, what my goals are, and what my goals AREN’T.
Life is so short, and I believe this is just one reality of many, so I have fun with it. I don’t stay down for long if I do make a mistake or run into a challenge, because I don’t take life so seriously anymore. Money is just money, and it’s easy to make. A career is just a career, and if this one doesn’t work out, there are millions of other options out there. My body is just a body, and while I can take care of it, I don’t stop myself from doing things just because my body doesn’t look like a photoshopped super model’s. Life isn’t so serious, it’s short and it’s yours and if you’re making decisions based on other people’s rules, you’re not going to be happy. The good news is you can change it in an instant – decide right now that you’re going to challenge the unspoken rules you’ve been following if they don’t match up with your goals.
My business is all about waking people up to the possibilities. I don’t tell people what to do, I guide people to their happiness by allowing them to see their own potential, their options, and get them on a path to whatever it is they want to do and be. As a Confidence Coach, I just help people to see the truth, and the truth is that you are in full control . That’s the secret right there, read it again if you need to. You are in full control. You either agree to someone else’s idea of life or you create your own. Both paths take the same amount of effort, but one leads you to real fulfillment and happiness. It’s your choice.