For someone who talks a lot about not fitting in so much, I clearly I’m not following my own advice. How? Well, I keep trying to figure out the one thing that can define me, professionally. Am I a planner? A marketer? A HR person? Or is it Admin? And why do I need this definition? Because I feel some sort of pressure when someone asks me what I do. And even though I know its just small talk, I still feel like I need to have some sort of answer. Yet, it’s limiting me, I feel. This
pressure to fit in a box; to just pursue one thing yet I am passionate about different things. And most of the gurus say you have to focus on the one thing. I’m like, I need my instagram profile to tell a specific story about who I am.
But am I really just one thing? Can I really zero in myself into one box? The more I think about it the more I realize that I am denying myself the chance to live a full life because I am allowing the shackles of society to keep me tied up. The day I heard the Ted Talk about Multipotentialites, I felt like that was where I belonged; that is my tribe and that it is OK to be passionate about more than one thing and be actually great at them all. It’s just a difference in humanity. There are those who are great at being specialists and those of us who are great at doing more than one thing. And the world has spade for us all.
So why do I still hold myself up against these impossible standards? Because that’s the narrative I was told growing up. Because that’s what is always expected. Because specialization is what most of the society understands and it will be quick to put you in the “confused”, “not yet figured out” box when you cannot say your specialization. And now I realize that o actually care about what society thinks. I don’t want to be seen as a failure or someone who doesn’t have a stuff figured out yet. But deeper, I realize I fear this reaction because it’s the reaction I have already given myself.
You know the quote that says we see the world not as it is but as we are? Yeah. So this skewed version of things actually starts with me. And that’s a hard and bitter pill to swallow, but yes, I am at the forefront of criticizing myself and so I end up too self-conscious in front of others and they are absolutely able to pick up on it. Ever heard also of you teach people how to treat you? Well, this is a good example of it. I put pressure on me to zero in on the one thing and so I automatically expect it of others.
But I’m done with that. Well, at least I would like to be done with that part of me. I want to love every part of me and that includes my passion for different things and the fact that I am great at all these things I am passionate about. I need to give myself the permission to be me and know that it’s OK. I need to stop caring much about what others will think and focus more on doing. And when someone asks me what do I do? Well, my personal mission statement will be my answer, I add value wherever I’m at; I bloom where I’m planted. True, not a conventional answer. And some may actually probe further about what it means and then I will simply say, I apply that rule wherever I am. If it’s in being a planner, or a writer or a mentor or a travel blogger or a marketing wannabe, or being a friend or a sister, I’m all about value addition in whichever form it comes in. All these other things are just avenues that allow me to live out my mission; they are my tools. And smile and leave it at that.
I cannot; I will not be my own stumbling block for another day. I’ve spent too many years doing that. It is time to let myself shine. Me in all my colours. I am not just one thing, and that’s OK. I am not just passionate about one thing and that’s OK too. The world is big enough to take care and manage us all.