Today I made a decision. It wasn’t a remarkable decision, but it was a powerful one. You see, when you are in the midst of big change to your life and circumstance - a"/>
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The Should Submissive

theellyedit October 27, 2015
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Today I made a decision. It wasn’t a remarkable decision, but it was a powerful one. You see, when you are in the midst of big change to your life and circumstance – and let’s be honest, pretty much everybody is in a constant state of change – you tend to frame your decision-making around one seemingly innocuous word: Should. The problem is, should is an extremely heavy term; it’s weight is extreme, yet this isn’t readily acknowledged, well at least in my circumstances it wasn’t.

Sure, I have read plenty of motivational articles and watched many a Ted talk discussing the merits of throwing the concept and obligation of should out the window, but I have never actively applied this advice to my own life beyond the initial reaction of ‘why, that sounds amazing, I am totally going to do that from now on!’. Of course, it’s a bit of a conundrum cut with a double-edged sword that we are told to forget about being led by should (ie. we should forget about being led by should). Regardless, there is something powerful about having active free-will in your decision-making and shrugging off the shackles of should, and the truth is, I didn’t realize just how powerful that was until I made that decision today.

So what exactly happened? Well, as I mentioned I am in the process of a big life change. That change is trying to carve out a new career path, one that is focused on writing and creative production. And while I am currently in a very fortunate position where I can explore the different avenues without being tied to a full-time job, I won’t be in this position forever, and the plan is that the next position I take will actively involve these essential creative elements. So when an email popped up in my inbox last week inviting me to an event highlighting how to create great content, my immediate reaction was ‘Accept!’.

This morning, however, having woken exhausted as a result of a few restless, poorly slept nights (changing careers and not working full-time does have its consequences) I thought, ‘I really don’t want to go tonight, I would really rather go to the new yoga studio I discovered around the corner.’

In its simplest form, the solution to that scenario seems so easy: Don’t go to the event and go get your ‘OHMMM’ on instead. Though when you put in the context of should, it truly becomes complex.

Think about all the advice you were given when searching for a job, whether that be in college, high-school or when you looking to take the next step in your career. The crux of advice given is essentially the same: do everything you possibly can to get a job; don’t just apply for jobs online, go meet as many people in the industry as you can and network; don’t just say you want an x-and-y-type role, go take another course and do an x-and-y-role in a volunteer capacity or incorporate it into your existing position; don’t just sit around waiting for the job to come to you, go and claim that job for yourself.

With these thoughts constantly swirling in the back of my mind as a career-changer, it’s no surprise that I accepted the invitation for the event. It was, after-all, an opportunity for me to network and learn.

So when I was put in the position of feeling drained, burned-out and no longer feeling up to going to the event today, all I could hear was my ego, clearly admonishing me, “You should go, you’ll learn lots of helpful information that may be essential to what you want to do and you’ll have the chance to network, and maybe meet someone who is looking to hire for a role that is your dream job.”

It may sound crazy, and I am sure there are plenty of others out there who will not understand nor relate to it, but it was a frickin’ hard conundrum to be in. I am sure some ambitious, never-let-die personalities would say to just suck it up and get on with it; you know, the whole you snooze you lose mentality, and I expect that it’s easy for them to follow this decision path. Yet while I consider myself to be ambitious, and determined, I am so in a manner that is not in the traditional alpha, ‘charging bull’ kind of way. And in this instance, I was at a complete cross-roads. I really do want to succeed, and I really do want to do everything I possibly can to get the career and life I want, it’s just today, the should of ‘go out and network as much as possible’ contradicted with my personal health and wellbeing.

Ordinarily in my should-submissive state, I would have let the should override the logical reasoning of what is actually right for me, along with feeling a lot of harsh angst and anxiety. Instead, I decided not to go the event. Sure, I probably should go, and no, I don’t want to go, but really, all I needed to do was frame the question differently: Do I actually need to go? The answer to that question is no, for I have committed myself to researching on my own terms what makes great content, and I know that I am also going to another event later in the week that will provide further opportunities for networking. What I actually need the most right now is some active R&R with a nice dash of ‘OHMMM’.

And so, in actively ignoring the should while making my decision today, I experienced such an open, enlightening feeling (it really felt like a heavy weight was removed from the pit of my stomach) that I decided to write about it. As I said, I really want to achieve my goals of having the career and life I want, and I am pretty sure that actively ignoring the should is a key step to getting there. Now if you’ll excuse me, there is a yoga class that I need to get to.

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1 Comments

  1. James Warren October 28, 2015

    Fun read, and a valid perspective! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

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