When you’re a kid you think that 21 is grown up. You think that by that age you’ll have everything figured out, that you’ll have met your life partner and that you’ll suddenly be this proper adult with a career…
But then you get to that age and you don’t quite feel how you thought you would.
Is this what its like to be an adult?
That’s the kind of question you ponder regularly. You might even have a professional job in a fancy office but you still feel like a kid in a classroom. But you have colleagues, deadlines, meetings, projects, clients and a work phone with a company branded case. You have all that yet you still feel like you’re playing dress-up and pretending to be professional.
Perhaps some would refer to this as imposter syndrome but you can call it whatever you want really. Often the only way to cure this feeling/mindset is to tell yourself that it will go once you achieve a particular goal. Once you gain accreditation in your field or lead a project.
But moving the benchmark probably won’t work because it’s a mind thing not a physical thing. It’s about how you feel about yourself and your ability.
My advice would be (to quote Sinek) start with why. Why do you feel that way about yourself? Once you understand that, it’s just a case of implementing a new mindset.
There’s space between all or nothing but sometimes we forget.
Which is how something like failing can feel like the end of the world.
I think the all or nothing mentality is what causes anxiety in some people.
It’s an over simplification of reality that holds little benefit.
Turns out this is a real word, not one that I made up!
It’s pretty self-explanatory:
a person’s ability to bounce back from a challenging situation
For example, you attend an interview and don’t get the job.
Do you wallow and internalise it? Convince yourself that you’re not good enough, that you’ll never get a job because if this job didn’t want you then there’s no hope left in the world and you might as well end it all now
Or on the flip-side do you think ‘ Oh, that’s a shame, I’ll just find something else’ and continue your search.
The first reaction could take days for you to bounce back from whilst the second reaction shows minimal straying from your usual self.
The first reaction is pretty dramatic, but I’ve been there. A few years ago, I was anxious, depressed and unemployed convinced that my circumstances would never change.
My ability to bounce back was poor. However, I can now say that my bouncebackability has improved tenfold. If I found myself unemployed tomorrow it’d be a totally different experience.
It’s a mental thing really, you have to change the way you process things.
Just stick with what you know and don’t explore anything new.
That is the voice of my anxious self which sometimes dominates as my inner monologue.
I’ve learnt to not listen to that terrible advice anymore because when I did, I was miserable. It’s quite fascinating when the thing that you feel you need to do in order to feel ‘safe’ also causes you a lot of problems.
I remember thinking how strange it was that despite doing everything ‘right’ things weren’t going so well.
Then I discovered the thought/idea that I could change myself internally which would ripple outwards and cause my life to change. I remember thinking that it must have been a sort of magic that that was possible and sometimes I still refer to it in that way for fun but also because I don’t actually have a strong knowledge of how the mind or neurology (along with all the other ologies) work so it may as well be magic.
Fear of the new is something that still effects the way I live but it’s different now. I don’t give the voice of my anxieties centre stage as often and I practise little methods that work for me.
It’s like feel the fear and do it anyway for people that fear the little things.
What great use it is to remember that not everyone is like you. We often approach situations with this underlying thought that we’re right and they’re wrong or tell ourselves that we have to try and convince the other person that we’re right at any cost.
We‘re so convinced it’s what we have to do that we’re even sometimes willing to raise our voices, shout and argue.
But what if we instead acknowledged that it’s okay to think differently and that we are both valid in the perspectives that we hold. What if you accept that this person does not come under ‘people like us’ but instead that there are people like you and people like me.
Someone might even seem just like you on paper but in reality hold totally different views to you as a resolute of the paths that they’ve taken. We shouldn’t berate them for not thinking like us.
Maybe the next time you’re about to try and change someone’s mind remember there are people like you and people like me.
We don’t share the same point of view and that’s okay.
I was 18 years old sitting on a swing in a park at dusk. I felt lost at the time and also a little hopeless. I didn’t know what to do, what I should or even could do and so I sat swinging on the swing.
It was a return to something I loved to do as a kid that brought me joy at a time in my life when I needed it.
The spirit of your childhood self works like a medicine, it can clear the fog in your mind and give you a fresh perspective.
With age we often loose that spark we had as children that freedom and care free attitude.
I used to do all kinds of things when I was younger just because I could at school I played football and netball but was also in the dance, music, cooking and sewing club. I was probably the worst on the netball team and my sense of rhythm is enthusiastic, but it was always still fun.
I did things because the opportunity was there, and I took it. For me it was always just about doing things, not about how good I was or being better than anyone else.
That is probably one of the main things I miss as I’ve gotten older and as I spend more time returning to the pastimes of my past self, I’m also making an effort to return to that old mindset.
Do more, think less.
We often say things that don’t align with how we feel.
Sometimes it’s because we don’t feel in control or we’re scared to be assertive.
Other times we’re not even aware that we don’t really feel what we are saying but the proof is in what we do.
It’s like if someone says they want to make new friends but all they do is go to work and then spend time at home watching Netflix, then still complain that they have no people to hang out with even though they make no conscious effort to even be around new people.
We’ve all fallen into wishing and waiting at some point in our lives. And when you stop and think you’ll often find that you’re either not ready for what you think you want or you don’t truly want it.
Sometimes both apply.