This one comes right from the heart!
I've really switched my life around recently, those close to me will know that. I'm a big change person and so I guess I'm always making changes in my life. But this time was huge. I let go of a lot of people who weren't good for me to be around, I committed to myself to make a new way of living and have really had to tackle self doubt.
I just had my 28th birthday. It was like woah okay what am I doing. I created a new meditation based on an article I read where you think - okay where are my wounds? How are they my gift? It's a really hard process but once you go through it you feel amazing. I help clients with these type of exercises. Anyways, I noticed my thoughts more than usual lately and the corresponding emotions that came up with them.
Right when I found myself thinking of something new to do, I would feel a tinge of old programming come up. I found myself wondering if this new idea fit into the paradigm of what a graduate from university would do. Whether it would be something that would bring me prestige, money and a reputation.
Then I would realize I was starting to feel low! I would start to feel really bad about myself and have to say - Okay! So much no. It doesn't matter - ever - what we do and how it will fit into other's perceptions of us, or what the world will think. How else would there be a Whitney Houston? A Mark Walberg? A Halle Berry? A Frederick Banting? A Rosa Parks? An Oprah Winfrey? An anybody who is walking their vision? If we care so much what others think, we would never get anywhere.
So this blog comes from the heart for me, and is part of my own journey with healing. I feel trapped and paralyzed from the conditions that have been placed on me. I feel like I worked so hard in university and it never amounted to anything.
Myself and millions of other millennials feel this way and why shouldn't we? It's excellent we can tell you how societies have evolved, what the endoplasmic reticulum is or who invented electricity. It's a strong skill to be able to write a research paper, an essay, do a presentation and find information. Even more it's good to be able to balance many different tasks, read hundreds of pages a week and digest that information. But the jobs today want people who can balance chequebooks, make excel spreadsheets, work in accounts receivables, and help human resource managers. None of that was taught to us in school. It's so sad!
And it's so frustrating! Even more there's all the mean comments on Facebook about how people our age don't want to work, don't know how to be professional or are lazy. OMG! Nothing could be further from the truth. Millennials are the DREAMERS, the starving artists, the creators of our time. But there simply isn't a framework for them to work in. None of the skills we learned in university are applicable to the current real world. When I was in graduate school they were trying to teach us about how to approach journals to publish our articles. What? What articles, what were they talking about? I need to pay my electricity bill before I can think of sharing lab results with my peers. I need to gain skills where I can help an organization, be a strong team member and someone the office counts on. It broke my heart. Most of my peers are still working in restaurants, retail stores or have been able to manage a few jobs at once.
Even though I've made the transition to being a coach because I relate really well to others and seem to be able to say the right thing at the right time, even I still get caught in these thought loops. The thoughts, oh is being a coach good enough? How much money do I even make a year? Is it a good job? People have told me I threw my education away. Those aren't people I have in my life anymore. I still LOVE geography SO MUCH! I want to travel and my new plans are to work with volunteer organizations in South America and help people down there.
Then I can travel, use my passion for exploring, help those in need and gain experiences. I will always study geography. But just because I'm a coach now doesn't mean I threw anything away? I'm able to put together a lot of the skills from school like writing, organizing and my presentation skills while wading into new territory of helping everyday people. I love people. I like learning about new people and seeing where their potential lies. So the thing here is breaking through paradigms. They call breaking through the glass ceiling what women do when they work in offices and slam through the usual expectations apparently put forth by men. Well women my age can't even get an office job, or at least one that is creative, so that isn't really an issue for our generation. We made it. We graduated university, we did all the projects, we have professors to use as references. Now we have to slam through the paradigms.
The ones that say you have to make this much, you can't have children until this age, you have to get married first, you have to get a job with benefits (did you know you can buy your own benefits!), or that we have to have a certain job title. Like whatever just throw that all away. Trust me, I understand just as much as any of you out there - I left home at 18 with bright eyes and a vision that my education would allow me to help people all over the planet and every door that was supposed to open got slammed right in my face. I took my yoga certificate and that put me in front of a different set of doors. I was always a social butterfly and it occurred to me to use my natural skills. But I still get caught up sometimes! The wound can be raw. But that's when I do this exercise - how is it my gift? How is it my gift that I haven't been successful with my credentials?
I do know.
It's because I'm not supposed to be working doing that. At least as a job anyway. There are people right here in the community, online and who live good lives but still need help. Those are the people who need my help. I think it was always part of the plan. You know when you look back on certain events and say "Ohhh.... okay" and you see why you didn't move forward in a certain situation? It's like that.
And it heals my heart SO MUCH! So I want anyone reading this to know - it isn't that you are a failure, or a loser, or unwanted, or untalented. It's that the universe has other plans for you. The field of potential is aimed differently for you. Maybe you're an artist but you can't get paid. Hell, maybe you're a lawyer and nobody will hire you! Maybe the lawyer is supposed to get paid as an artist and the artist is supposed to become a lawyer! What do you think about THAT! And they can both do their hobbies as a volunteer. The lawyer can offer his knowledge pro bono for underprivileged families and the artist can volunteer as an art teacher. It's kind of creepy - I know. We don't know how to the universe works and we can't begin to understand it. But I do know that we are always surrounded by love and potential and the answer is always right there.... you just have to back up.
So what are the frameworks that I throw in the garbage for myself? Okay um, that I need to work for the government. That I need to make $75,000 as a graduate of a top school. That I need to work for a huge company. That I should be getting married and promoted and buying a house. Maybe those things are good for other people, but not for ME. When the universe sends you so many No's.... you have to say.... okay where is there a yes? Where is the path I walk that allows me to help people, be good at it and make money?
For me it's being a coach but maybe for you it's fixing cars, flying airplanes, managing a nightclub or running a tattoo shop. Maybe it's the thing you were actually always good at but someone looked at you and decided you had "too much potential" so you forgot you were even good at that. When I was 12 I got the SPIRIT award for my cheerleading team, when I was 10 I came in first place for high jump and had the chance to go to provincials, when I was 14 I was the most popular girl in the school because of my ability to talk to everyone and anyone, when I was 16 I won an award for how genuine I was all the time when I worked at Starbucks, when I was 20 I was asked to do tarot readings out of a store professionally, when I was 22 I was the social coordinator for the geography club at the university and got people excited about the environment, when I was 24 I taught yoga out of a small beach town and gained attention because of how sweet I was, when I was 26 I became a leader in all my graduate school groups because of my meditation and leadership skills and when I was 27 I became a coach and wrote a book about my childhood and spiritual gifts.
Hello! Are ANY of those things about how successful I was as a geography researcher, a map maker, an environmental scientist, an award winning journal article writer? NO! None of them. All the accomplishments in my life, all the times I was recognized, excelled and was the top performer had to do with my personality, character and my ability to relate to others. That's always been my thing. I can meet anyone and find their sweet spot. In a good way - a super good way.
My point is here, forget the paradigm! It will hurt sometimes, it will be muddy and murky and you might cry. But how would Beyoncé's life have been different if she believed every person who told her she should be a lawyer? If Barack Obama decided he should just own a restaurant or Emma Watson decided playing a geeky girl in a paranormal movie was too weird? We wouldn't have gotten to see them SHINE! So where do you shine? What's your thing? Even if you are trying to say, "Sarah my thing is really art! I'm so good at art!" Okay so why isn't it something you are making a living doing then? In no way am I saying you are not good at art. You're probably better than me. I'm just saying, is there anything else? Then that's where you say "Okay fine, I entered this modeling contest in high school and won, my friends ALWAYS want me to do their makeup, my sisters are always borrowing my clothes for dates and when I worked at a department store they had me take the family photos for people and help them look nice." Okay, so maybe you're like a fashion person? You have a talent for makeup, clothing and making people look good? Maybe you can start a blog? "Ya but my family wouldn't like that. They're all graphic artists and they think anything outside that is boring." Okay well too bad for them. There's a company out there just waiting for someone like you to send in your work.
I hope this helps someone. I feel like it helped me just by writing it out! When we are told and brought up thinking one way, we accidentally cancel out all the other opportunities. Take a good hard look at your life, your accomplishments and your talents and work accordingly. I bet there's a big opportunity just waiting for you to walk into.