On a MN summer night when I was in high school, I sat on my front steps staring up at the sky with a friend.
We could see what felt like all of the stars in the universe.
“I love this,” I said, mesmerized out of trying to sound cool like I probably often did as a high school kid. “I feel so small.”
He agreed, but, interestingly, didn’t like it – it made him feel helpless.
For me, feeling that small felt FREEING.
As a high school kid, I was already pretty perfectionistic.
Even then, I felt that societal pressure to “do it all.” Be smart – take all the APs. Be athletic – be on three varsity teams. Be friendly – make everyone feel welcome. Volunteer. Work. Look good while doing all of it.
Truly seeing how HUGE the universe was helped me understand that the world would keep spinning no matter what I did. The world wasn’t make-or-break based on whether I perfectly “did it all.”
The freedom made me giddy.
I wish I could have bottled that feeling up. It’d have come in handy over the years as the pressure to “be it all” intensified.
Without it, I stayed in jobs too long thinking I’d hurt the company by leaving or that others would judge me if I left without a clear path forward.
When you think about it, both those thoughts show a pretty self-inflated view of myself. Employers would have been fine had I’d left and everyone else would have been understandably too focused on their own lives to care much about what I did for long.
Thankfully, eventually, I tapped back into that drive for freedom to help me leave a job I truly disliked to find a path that lit me up.
What I’m trying to say is – the universe is huge. What we do won’t alter it significantly. While that may sound depressing to some, many of us can find freedom in that knowledge.
We might as well make decisions that make us happy, right?
So, what does happy look like for you? And how can you get there?
Maybe it’s shaking up your career by drawing boundaries or leaving a job. May it’s making a major move in your personal life. Whatever it is, do it.
Do it with kindness to those around you and with integrity – but do it.
The world will continue spinning – in the very best way.