As we begin to approach societal norms with more grace + fluidity, I hope we can also reject the boxes that define our roles. The boxes that tell us to be a mother, a daughter, an employee, a leader, a cis-gender heterosexual, a middle aged, liberal, female.
May we dismiss these boxes that restrict us to stay within the parameters they set forth.
I have been told to not seek a leadership position because I have small children at home. I have been shamed for deciding to go on a trip to Europe without my children. While I have felt guilty for so much more from making myself small enough to fit each box.
Am I feminine enough? I am motherly enough? Am I age appropriate by how I dress and what I choose to do to spend my time? Am I smart enough? Am I too smart or being too demanding? These thoughts are so exhausting yet they have been a part of my narrative more than I like to admit.
I have been on what feels like a roller coaster of emotions but I’ve felt empowered as I noticed that I’ve begun to attract more positive events and people in my life as a result. I spent too much of my life living in the comfort of safety, limiting my life paralyzed by what people thought of me or whether everyone I met liked me. I decided in these moments to prioritize my dreams, desires and goals, but soon realized that this process was simply becoming more intentional with how I lived my life.
Implementing daily intentions and being more intentional in my life was a new concept for me. My entire life to that point was directed by the wind in my sails, often times I disregarded my wants, needs, and desires as a result. When I went back to school, I decided to take classes on subjects I enjoyed learning about, not necessarily setting any intention to get a degree or to transfer to a university. Only when I found out I was able to graduate with an Associates degree did I consider going to a university. I was on the far end of the spectrum of risk adverse, fearing rejection in all elements of my life.
I had goals of what I wanted to accomplish in my future, but I lacked intent on how I was planning to achieve them. In my recent post, GOALS, GOALS, GOALS, I explained how I worked towards 2 or 3 major goals and patiently waited for the path or opportunity to become clear before I set out working towards them. I think back to all of my major life milestones whether it was my marriage, my career and through it all, I was never intentional or clear with what my expectations were.
So what happened? I found myself in a marriage that wasn’t conducive to meeting my wants + needs. I held myself back from learning opportunities and work advancements because I was waiting for them to come towards me. I found myself working for a company that no longer inspired me, + I found myself in a role that didn’t serve my purpose. As a result of this, my life felt unfulfilled.
Through my healing journey, I made sure to set clear intentions in every aspect of my life. If we plan to manifest our best life, we need to create a pathway and visualize how to get there. We must ask set intentions and ask ourselves questions like: How do I want to show up today? What are my core beliefs and values? How does the best version of me show up? What does the best version of myself look like and am I embodying their traits? Then we can dive a little deeper to ask ourselves what can I contribute towards becoming the best version of myself, my family, my employer/employees, my community, my legacy?
Not long after I decided to leave my career, I wrote down a list of what compensation and benefits I wanted in my next role. I got granular with what my dream job would consist of. I tried to keep specifics like the industry out of my list because I wanted to be open to more possibilities but I wrote down a list of my salary expectations, PTO expectations, Retirement & Bonus Structures, Stock Options, Wellness Expectations, Work Relationships, Promotion Opportunities, Travel Expectations, down to smaller items like whether I was looking for a Virtual, Hybrid or In-Person position. I created a comprehensive list as if I was asking my future employer for it. I also made sure I open to receiving to align with my highest self.
However, I didn’t have a job when I decided to quit mine + with the fear of no longer having an income, it was easier to stray from my intentions. I could feel the fear and anxiety overcome me as I began to apply to hundreds of jobs. However, when I was presented with opportunities, I made sure to revisit my list and I began to feel comfortable saying no when it didn’t align with my intentions. Instead, I chose to keep looking. In those moments, I often doubted myself but then I realized through this experience I was reprogramming my self worth, I was being clear with my expectations to avoid taking a job I would be unhappy with. A forty hour workweek calculates to over 2,000 hours a year that we expend our time and energy working our job. It’s important that we recognize what we our worth. In the book, The Almanack of Naval Ravikant, Naval speaks to determining his hourly worth. He decided his worth was $5,000/hour, which meant that if he could find someone or something to do the work or project for less than that, he would delegate or say no to an opportunity recognizing his value. We have to remember to do the same, remembering our time + our energy are the only two things in life that we own in the present moment. We have to be intentional as we design our dream life. This was hard to do, I had to make hard choices without knowing how it would work out. Then one day I received an e-mail from a recruiter unexpectedly, as divine timing would have it, I received an offer for a position with a compensation package that hit every box serendipitously. This is also about learning to trust the process, even when you have no tangible evidence to support how or when it will happen.
I made the mistake of writing down when I would receive the job. My goal was to quit my job only if I found a new one, but as I applied for new jobs-I didn’t so much get a single call back.
I couldn’t quite understand why this was happening but instead of quitting, I got approved to take a leave. So I committed to putting my job search on hold and I began to use that time to heal. I began to see a therapist, I began to journal, meditate, dance, hike, and truly embraced self care by learning to fill my cup. I began to process traumas through the help of others + read self-help books. I began to look inward and find ways to change habits and behaviors that didn’t align with the person I wanted to become. I felt supported by a force greater than me even though it wasn’t tangible. As I look back on that time, I’m eternally grateful that it worked out this way. I don’t know when I’ll ever have an opportunity like that again while I recognize the privilege of having an opportunity like that. Because of this privilege, I decided to find ways to help others to heal, even if it means sharing the broken parts of me.
What can we be intentional with? Everything, my beautiful friends. Remember our time and our energy is our currency, we must be intentional on how we spend it. I have made significant changes in my life once I realized this.
I used a guided meditation on what I wanted in a partner. I got specific enough that I envisioned what our life would look like together: where would we travel to? What kind of home would we live in? How would we parent? I wrote four pages worth of content, and as I went on dates or began dating someone new, I would re-read my prompt to see if they embodied the qualities I was looking for. I chose not to list physical traits or the “good on paper” qualities, because that will come naturally based on how we show up in the world. Instead I wrote down qualities like belly laughing, drinking a nice bottle of wine while cooking a meal together, or sitting it a hotel bed in another country eating a cheese burger after spending days eating foreign cuisine. Could I imagine them donating money or working towards a worthy cause? Would I feel safe when I cuddled next to them, could I imagine learning new things with them? These may seem like trivial things, but I have found myself in relationships where the person I was dating had no desire to travel. It was a dream of mine to continue traveling the world, why spend time with someone that didn’t want the same things? I was specific and setting these intentions allowed me to focus dating the right people and I found myself in better relationships as a result. I began to feel more confident while in the relationship (thereby pacifying my Anxious Attachment style) and I felt at peace leaving a relationship when it no longer met my expectations. Being intentional and setting intentions allows us to spend our most precious resources wisely.
Start small, when we wake each day, let’s ask ourselves what are our intentions for today? Could it be to give ourselves more grace? To find gratitude? To show up for ourselves or others? Then we can begin to branch + become more intentional with areas in our life we want to improve. But in order to do that, we must take time to reflect on what exactly we’re looking for. We have to visualize it. Then we must release the specifics of when, where and how it will happen and trust with our heart that our goals, intentions and dreams will soon manifest in our dream lives.