1. Keeping to yourself. Maybe you sometimes spend Friday nights working on projects. Maybe you put traveling over home ownership; maybe you put your 10,000 hours over swiping on another dating site. Maybe you weren’t able to keep up with your high school friends in some ways, but whether or not the outside world can see it, you’re living as other people won’t so one day, you can live as they can’t.
2. Changing direction, sometimes suddenly. Sometimes you have to give up the career path you previously committed to if you want to truly realign with the one that’s right. Part of what makes the process go so much faster and easier is when you allow yourself the freedom to change course when you know it’s necessary – regardless of how it looks on the outside.
3. Keeping your social circle small. You have a limited amount of energy each day, energy that you are determined to use building something that matters to you, not infinitely expending on things and people who drain and don’t replenish.
4. Letting go of other people’s ideas of success. Somewhere along the line, you have to go through a reckoning; a moment in which you reconcile the fact that you can either spend the rest of your years building a life that looks good on the outside, or you can pivot toward making one that feels good on the inside.
5. Saying no, sometimes loudly. The first step to building a life that you do want is not being afraid to discard the life that you don’t anymore. Boundaries need to be set, lines need to be drawn. You teach people how to treat you, and part of becoming an empowered, respected adult is choosing what is and isn’t in your experience.
6. Sharing your product rather than your work. Maybe some people don’t know how you’re spending your days, or “what you’ve been up to” over the last 6 months. That’s okay, they don’t need to know. It is infinitely more powerful to show your finished work rather than get affirmed for working “so hard” and doing “so much.” Be careful of what you choose to get attention for – you’ll be far less motivated to finish if you’re already getting reinforcement just for being mid-way through.
7. Feeling free enough to try different things, sometimes all at once. A lot of people don’t feel liberated to stretch themselves in every direction they feel they have potential in. Most people find one thing they think they like, and feel strapped to it forever. When you’re really opening yourself up to your dreams, you know that you can, and should, and are, capable of doing anything and everything. To other people who are afraid, that looks like “being all over the place.” To you, it’s self-exploration. It’s discovery.
8. Becoming a different person than the one people used to know and were comfortable with. People tend to strongly dislike when the people they know change, but change is the only constant in life, and it is your absolute duty to yourself to keep evolving until you are who you want to be. Becoming who you are often requires stepping out of other people’s comfort zones. Allow yourself this.
Becoming who you are often requires stepping out of other people’s comfort zones. Allow yourself this.
9. Tuning out the voices around you that have shaped you your entire life. If you want to live a life entirely on your own accord, you need to get into alignment with your own calling, your own opinions, your own choices… not the ones of the people who have spent your entire life trying to mold you and shape you into who they want you to be.
10. Stepping out of the status quo. If you live like a normal person, you will live an average life. To do something that’s exceptional, you will have to be the exception – you will have to be willing to live in a way that other people are too afraid of, and be prepared for when they project that fear onto you.
11. Surrounding yourself with empowering people. You know the saying that you will become the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with? There’s some truth to it. The company you keep determines the person you’ll become, and you have to choose carefully.
12. Becoming more outspoken. When you feel more empowered and authentically yourself, you become less worried about what other people might think, and more focused on living and speaking your truth. People are going to judge you regardless; might as well make it worth your own while.
13. Changing your mind. Or changing religion, or political stance. Sometimes through the process of continual introspection, you find that you had adopted other people’s ideas as your own, ones that maybe don’t quite make sense or resonate with you in a real way.
14. Your primary goal in life is being yourself, not living up to other people’s expectations of who you should be. Maybe you have to get tattoos, pick up a yoga practice, travel to the other side of the world, start freelancing, open a business you believe in, start making friends who “get” you. Chasing your dreams is a holistic thing, and it transforms your goal from being “what can I get from this?” to “who will I become because of this?” And that is a beautiful thing.