The world is full of ‘shoulds’.
- ‘I should do it this way, because that’s how everyone else does it.’
- ‘We should have done what they said.’
- ‘You should listen to them.’
‘Should’ is such a limiting word. Instead free yourself of all the ‘shoulds’ and take a look around, take a look within, then choose the course of action that’s right for you. Yes you, the individual, the person made up of a unique set of experiences, the person who has to find a way to slot into the world without compromising who you are.
How can you figure out your own way?
First you must accept that there isn’t one defined path to success. Just because John, Munroe and Consuela did it one way doesn’t mean you have to as well. Sure it could stop you from making certain mistakes, but you won’t truly learn. When difficulties arise, and believe me they will, you won’t have your own experiences to draw from to help you through.
So to do it your own way consider the following:
- Believe in yourself, believe that you have the ability to find your own way – this doesn’t mean you race blindly forward. You can most definitely learn from those around you and those who came before. Look at what worked for them, see if it feels right for you and then decide. To do this you’ve got to trust yourself.
- Get input – ask people you know well and trust, about the course of action to take when faced with difficult choices.
- Figure out what your values are – not just a series of words like ‘integrity’ and ‘fun’, but actual statements that help you make decisions. So instead of ‘optimistic’ you might say ‘I try to find the positive in everything’, instead of ‘connection’ you might say ‘I try to connect with people in meaningful ways.’
- Think about who you admire at work and in life – then break this down into why you admire them. Their achievements, their work-ethic, their way of interacting with people. And decide which elements truly speak to you and which you can see yourself emulating.
Stop thinking, start doing
Eventually though you’ve got to stop thinking and just start doing, because there’ll always be a reason why you shouldn’t do something. But remember to pace yourself and start with one thing at a time.
Don’t be afraid of failure. You can’t have success without failure. And be consistent in your efforts. You won’t see clear progress if you aren’t consistent from week to week and month to month.
Choose your friend’s wisely – it is said that we become the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with. So take an honest look at the people around you and decide if this is working to help you or if you are being pulled back by other people’s assumptions and agendas.
And lastly reflect on your influence. Because once you find your own way you can help others who might be struggling.