One random day in the spring semester of my junior year of college, I actually started thinking about what would happen about a year into the future, when I was slated to graduate.
College was a perfect bubble, and time had this way of meandering by. Four months equated to an entire semester, which felt like an infinite amount of time by itself, so my life 14 months into the future was so unfathomable that thinking about it bordered on science fiction.
Except my future was turning out to be boring, un-publishable science fiction.
So far, my inner monologue looked like, “Graduate. Then, um, I guess I should find a job in public relations, because I majored in that. So, do that job, and commute to it every day. And after doing that job a while, maybe get promoted. Or go to a different company and do basically the same thing, but maybe get paid more. And then do that for like, forty years.”
I’m not exaggerating when I say that I broke out into a cold sweat and almost started to cry.
And then immediately, I told myself, “You’re being a huge brat. This is what the world is like. This is what being an adult means. You don’t get to stay in college forever. What else did you expect? You can’t have a tantrum about this.”
My inner brat replied, panicky and scared, with, “But I don’t even like public relations that much! I’m good at it, but that doesn’t mean I like it! I like reading and writing, and I always thought I would be an author one day! That’s what I really want to do! I want to be a famous author!”
The voice of Reasonable Adult Me said, “An author? Really? People like you don’t get to do that. You’re a normal person.”
And then my inner brat, bless her, said something that so profoundly jolted me awake and silenced the Voice of Reason, that it became one of the most crucial turning points I’ve ever experienced.
All she said was, “Why can’t I do that?”
Every famous person started out as a nobody. Every writer was once a non-writer. Every single person who’s ever done anything worth talking about was once someone who no one talked about. The only difference between them and me was that no one was talking about me … yet.
As it turns out, my inner brat was actually a freakin’ saint. She fought for me and saved me from accepting the un-truth that I’m normal and that I have to be quiet, sit down, and not ask for more.
Years later, I’m not a famous author yet. It’s still one of my ultimate goals, but it’s not crucial to my big vision anymore. I have, however, quit three different jobs, started two businesses, gone through coach training, and changed a lot of lives along the way.
And everything I’ve done, every painful experience I’ve gone through, every bit of personal growth and transformation is all thanks to one common denominator: An all-encompassing, completely stubborn refusal to be anyone else.
I’m not normal. I don’t want to settle. I don’t want to play by arbitrary rules. I don’t want to be quiet and accommodating, and I never want to think, “Who am I, to think I can be like that?”
All I care to focus on is, “Who am I to think I can’t?”
I have a lot of empathy for anyone who’s also struggling with feeling unable to fit into life’s “normal” path. We’re currently creating a new coaching program just for all of you that feel this way. It’s going to help all of you who hate the norm, but aren’t sure what else you should be doing, figure out how to break free. So stay tuned for more.
Until then, I’d love to know what you think about this. Have you ever had a big moment where you fought back against the pressure to fit the norm?
Rachel (& Kristen)