You Get What You Look For

We crave opportunity, the out-of-the-blue offer that sends you skipping down the yellow brick road to la la land.

But often while we’re waiting, we feel lost. Overwhelmed by the expectations of others, we bury our values in the sand while we stress out over what our co-workers think, what that guy in the car on the freeway thinks, or what the neighbor might think of the lawn. So we are cautious with co-workers, make sure not to pick our noses in the car, and mow the lawn every week, all the while grumbling about the demands of everyday life.

What if, just for science, you didn’t bother with other people’s expectations?

Think about it for a minute. Let the idea sink in. How would it feel?

Imagine your life free of all of it. Imagine if you weren’t worried what the guy in the cubicle across from you might think of your dice collection that you want to display on your desk. Or that you don’t mind the weeds in your lawn – just keep it all short enough to avoid fines from your HOA … unless you don’t mind the fees from your HOA!.

And then, what if that feeling got bigger? What if you had an idea for a product you wanted to sell on etsy, but your friend told you it was a terrible idea? What if you ignored that thought, and held tight to your vision?

What if you went for it?

This isn’t just movie land fantasy. When you cast aside the limiting beliefs put on you by others, you open the door to infinite possibility.

But hold up for a moment. It’s one thing to disregard the expectations of a neighbor you don’t talk to, or a stranger in another car. They’re your appetizer on this buffet of opportunity. Next up, you’ll need to include your parents, siblings, your S.O., and possibly even your cat on your list of people whose expectations you are casting to the wind.

Ouch.

So how to handle it?

Focus on what matters to you.

It’s going to take some hard conversations. When your parents expected you to become a data analyst, and instead you’ve decided you want to pursue mascot design, it could get awkward. But the sooner you follow our own values and not someone else’s, the sooner you are able to live your best life.

I’m not suggesting you bail on obligations without warning, or start running stop lights (laws still matter, since most of us value not going to jail). But it does mean being mindful of the obligations you take on going forward.

Once you start to focus on what matters to you and leave the rest behind, you’ll start to see new opportunities all around you. It’s like how when you learn a new word, and then you find yourself hearing it everywhere. The word didn’t suddenly become more common in one day – you just didn’t notice it before.

And then, following the path one brick at a time, you’ll find that the opportunity you’ve been hoping for is right there, and closer than you think.

Where do you want to be?

Who do you want to be?

What do you have to say?

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