I used to have a by-the-book-live-in-a-box kind of mentality.
I believed that if I kept my head down, stayed quiet, worked hard, kept my opinions to myself, didn’t rock the boat, that I would be “successful.” And success equals happiness…… right?
This matter of thinking led me to choose nursing as my profession. While I do not regret my time spent as a bedside nurse, when I reflect on that choice, I realize that I did not make that decision for myself.
I made the decision based on societal pressure and social & familial norms that said “work hard and get a good, respectable job- this is what makes you a good person. Good people work hard to be in service of others, and they make an adequate living doing so.”
Somehow, completely losing yourself in the process is part of the deal too (at least it was for me).
Actually, I think we see this across the board in our culture. Go to college- get the job- marry the guy- buy the house- get promotion- buy all the things- buy a bigger house- work your job endlessly- and of course you have to be stressed out, because if you’re not, well, you must not be working hard enough. And by golly, if you’re not working hard enough, you’re straight up lazy, and if you’re lazy in our culture we want nothing to do with you- you are not worthy of our love.
Translation: I have to stay in this nursing job because it’s where I derive my worth.
Being miserable makes me worthy?
You see, by this point, I dreaded going to work and could no longer face looking in the mirror because I didn’t recognize who I had become. The reasons are deep and too involved for a short article, but basically, I realized that the way I was living was NOT in alignment with my truest values.
And to be perfectly honest, I got resentful at first.
Because, what I heard from the world was “this is just how it is. You accept your circumstances and do the best you can to survive.”
And that’s when my inner rebel came out.
I didn’t just want to survive. I wanted this life of mine to be a masterpiece that I was in love with. So that one day, I could look back on my life and say “I used it all. I squeezed every drop of juice out of life. I left nothing on the table.”
Shortly after this realization, I had a total God moment. I was due to wake up for another shift at the hospital and something woke me early from a dead sleep. I sat straight up in bed and heard a voice speak to me.
It said “Leah, I know your path is unclear and it’s scary, but you have to walk away now. You’re going to be ok. You’re going to be more than ok.”
Call me crazy, but that voice was so calm and matter of fact that I couldn’t NOT listen. It was far superior to any voice of fear that I had heard from the outside world.
And that was just it. Everyone else around me, society, my family, they ultimately had my best interest in mind. Playing small, staying in “the right job” was a means to stay safe, a way to avoid fear, to make it through life unscathed.
And I cannot blame any of them, family, society, myself, for staying in that stuck, miserable place for so long. But I also realized that I do not have to accept those societal norms as my truth.
Today, I choose to stand unapologetically in the light of my truth no matter what others think of me, family and friends included. Is it always easy? No. Is it worth it to feel the pull for something greater and follow it? Yes, one-thousand percent, always yes.
It’s now my mission and purpose in life to teach others about the power of choice and lifestyle design. That societal norms do not have to write your future for you. That you are co-creating your life every single day. Things are not happening to you- they’re happening for you. And you always have a choice on how to perceive and respond to the events of your life.
The same day I had the God moment, I put in my two-weeks’ notice, became an entrepreneur, and never looked back. (and that’s another story for a different day!)