I have struggled long and hard over the past two decades to find the courage to translate my dreams into reality. My vision has never been the problem; it was finding the thread that could string all of my ideas together in a more purposeful way. Withstanding the intention to educate and inspire everyday people who are dispersed across the various winding paths of life’s journey.
In our ZenLeader series, our major focus has been offering holistic wellness tools and strategies to tie your professional passion more closely to your deeper purpose.
Today’s piece stems from a more vulnerable state, as I’m honored to share some real, raw life lessons. This might echo reassurance that you need right now—a nudge to take a leap of faith if you need to know. No matter what you are facing, you aren’t alone…and most importantly, hope for a new way forward.
It took me a long time to fully understand the universal lesson, that we are in control of defining who we are as individuals. Towards who we want to become. After many years of painting an unfamiliar picture of my future self, based on the person I felt I was expected to grow in to. I finally called it quits and took the reigns of my own life.
The first step to breaking out of the box is to muster enough courage to take a stand against the inner and external judgment. With full conviction that you are in fact entitled to design a life roadmap that you want to follow.
Let’s think about that for a second, why would anyone choose to sleepwalk through life, suffocated by labels that do not allow them to authentically just BE? That is essentially what happens when we succumb to the opinions, judgment and approval of others.
Have you ever stopped to assess what it is that actually makes you feel alive and fulfilled?
Many everyday people do in fact crave a roadmap that entails the traditional American sequence: Career, Marriage, Children, Wealth, White Picket Fences, Material Objects. There is nothing wrong with any of these aspirations if there is a genuine tie to a deeper passion. As well as, purpose as a human being, and fill your cup on the daily.
For those of us who are traveling down a more unconventional path, I’m here to remind you that your life is full of meaning and purpose, too. The issue we run into is our innate goal to compete with those who align with those stereotypical ideas, which can put us on a fast track to unhappiness.
For instance, one of my dream cars that formerly defined my success was a Mercedes Benz. I had reached a peak in my corporate career where I owned the newest model (at the time) of my dream car that money could buy. And boy was she beautiful, black with tinted windows and a red interior. It was the sharpest object I had ever owned, and I felt so proud.
Not only did I feel elated as an owner, but I felt accomplished getting in and out of it, walking towards it in the parking lot; arriving, departing, you catch my drift. Somehow this car—a mere mirage of metal, shiny branding, and bright leather pieces reflected my self-worth, my value, my elevated status in society.
During my own course of personal transformation, I quickly realized how silly the concept was that this ideal. Driving a Mercedes instead of a Toyota for instance, somehow reflected my greater success and happiness over others.
Why would anyone in their right mind choose to live in a confined space? A box that has the power to destroy our true, honest sense of self and fulfillment?
Because this is what we are taught from a young age, to simply go through the motions. Seeking out excuses that might deflect the individual work we must put in to create our own definition of happiness from scratch.
I am going to pull from my business expertise and discuss the correlation of how we perceive our self-worth; to Marketing tactics. As consumers, everyone is sold to constantly. Companies have done a brilliant job of building brands that generate a sense of exclusivity—“Us” and “Them”.
Our personal connection to those logos and general life choices to follow. These are the baselines of how we establish our own personal brand. Whether we like it or not, this is the impetus for how others judge us and vice versa. The way we describe one another, and box each other into those labels attached.
This human perception of defining ourselves and others’ worth is reflected in our interpersonal relationships. Once we have passed judgment on others for example, then we know how and if we want to interact with them.
Through The Be Brand®, an inspirational clothing line I created, one of the primary messages is to Be Kind. The intent behind spreading this message is to recognize and understand that everyone is fighting their own individual battles. Which are typically invisible on the surface.
Because we have not trekked in someone else’s shoes, our responsibility as a fellow human being is to be kind.
Can you imagine what this world would be like if we relinquished our perceived entitled right to judge others? All in order to validate our own self-worth?
Today I’ll close with this assignment: Channel the same amount of time and energy that you’re spending on judging others. Turn that tendency inward to take a closer, raw look at yourself to explore self-healing. Then, create your roadmap of the life you are yearning to build; and the steps that you’ll need to take to achieve those goals.