Have you ever felt the pressure to conform? To fit a mold of success as defined by someone else. To fit a mold of being a mother as defined by someone else. To fit a mold of being a good employee as defined by someone else. To fit a mold of being a woman as defined by someone else. To fit a mold of beauty as defined by someone else.
Moment of truth: I have felt the pressure and committed to the mold so much that I sent myself to the hospital because of the stress.
Earlier in 2016 I subscribed to the cue of corporate success. I had it made up in my mind that in order for me to be successful I had to climb this invisible ladder at a wild rate and be the smartest person in the room just like the executives. I began waking up before the sun was even thinking about it (roughly 4:30 AM), feverishly reading the Wall Street Journal and Harvard Business Review, abstaining from Facebook in order to listen to Sirius XM radios news channels like Bloomberg News Radio. I was committed.
You see I had this idea that those who were successful in business did these things so I tried to emulate them. After a couple of months in I was crying myself to sleep and went to the emergency room with numbness to the left side of my body. Multiple doctor’s visits and thousands of dollars later I was told it was stress. It took a lot of soul searching to figure out how I got to that place but I figured it out – I was not being true to who I was.
What good is success if we lose ourselves in the process? What good is having it all if we do not have the health to enjoy it?
The most incredible thing about the world we live in is the rich diversity. Each individual on this planet has something very unique to offer the world, something we are meant to offer. When we fight our gift we harm spirits and inadvertently create negative energy that follows us.
We have to be true to ourselves and celebrate our gifts, our talents, our unique spirits, our truths. Those things a part of who we are. If we find that we have to do a massive shift in the essence of our truths and our spirit then maybe we are not in the right space; maybe we have to move into another space, and that is ok.
It is our jobs to love who we are. More than just loving who we are though, we have to appreciate who we are. Loving and appreciating are two different things. Love is a choice we make to unconditionally care for and respect ourselves. Appreciation is a choice we make to recognize our full worth and value. To be complete we have to have both love and appreciation.
For some of us, loving and appreciating who we are is difficult because we have been programmed to believe that the gifts we possess do not make money are therefore not valuable. Break that programming. Your gift is valuable and your gift is needed. You have your own unique way of moving and you have to own it. You have to believe in your core that you are the only person on the planet to bring your gift.
I could have ended up in a worse situation if I remained in that space of striving to be someone I was not. Love and appreciate who you are and the gifts you bring to the world, even if by doing so you no longer conform to the norm.
Carpe Diem. Seize the Day. Say that out loud to yourself. SEIZE THE DAY. Now ask yourself, “am I doing this, am I living my days to the fullest and making each moment count? Am I seizing the day?” I hope you answered yourself with a resounding yes.
I will be honest with you; I can say today that I am seizing the day. If I would have asked myself a few months ago if I was, I would have answered no. You see I have both a blessing and a curse: a penchant for planning.
I am the vacationer who plans a year out. I find all of the top places to visit and make a minute by minute itinerary, ensuring that I see all of the highlights. After going on trips with others though I have realized that this is not always enjoyable because I leave little room for spontaneity or even serendipity.
I have done this to myself professionally as well. I went into corporate America swinging. I was going to learn all that I could and network fast and furious to get to where I wanted to go. I built shallow relationships at the beginning of my career and focused a lot on giving my all, again not leaving room for happy accidents.
Why do we limit ourselves? Why do we stop ourselves from enjoying the journey? Why do we hold back? Fear? Complacency? A feeling of unworthiness? A feeling of thinking that the things we want are meant for others and not us?
I did not know how to seize the day because possessed fear. I shuddered at the thought of things falling apart because there was a lack of a plan. I also feared judgement from others by not being “where I should be” or having certain things.
Life is short. Life is uncertain. Each day that we are blessed to breathe must be lived to the fullest and with great appreciation. Not with fear. Not with guilt. Not with shame. Not with doubt.
I want you to seize the blessing that is TODAY.
~Play hookie from work and treat yourself (bonus points if you bring someone with you)
~Apply for that promotion and then tell your boss why you deserve it
~Contact that potential client with an irresistible confidence
~Run barefoot in the grass with your children and let your toes feel the dirt
~Invite that guy or gal you have been eyeing from afar out for coffee
~Get in the car and take an unplanned road trip
~Pay for the groceries of someone you don’t know
~Write a note of encouragement and give it to a stranger
These are just a few ways to seize the day and feed your spirit but there are so many other things. As Kasey Musgraves sings in “Follow Your Arrow,” “you just get so many trips round sun.”
Life is short. Life is uncertain. Seize the Day.
I know you can do this. YOU know you can do this. Don’t live another day holding back, no, carpe diem – seize the day.
What are other ways we can seize the day? Write your suggestions in the comments sections below. :)