The shoulds. Whether you realize it or not, they’re holding you down and requiring you to keep up in a way that steers off your own track.
In fact, Eleanor Roosevelt’s famous counsel, “When you adopt the standards and the values of someone else… you surrender your own integrity,” is a fancy way of saying, drop the shoulds. Those rules by which everyone else is living. They are crazy-making.
Should have known better
Every entrepreneur will tell you about the mistakes they’ve made and how they were an integral part of the learning and growing process. The mistakes are there to help you learn.
No matter how many mistakes you make, you are ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.
Maybe you hired a friend, sent a slightly too aggressive email, stood your ground when it was time to bite your tongue. You live, you learn, and you adjust. You can’t know better without knowing first.
Should be further in my career
This is a mindset that affects everyone in every decade of their life. We want a better title. A bigger office. A higher-paying salary. And late at night when we’re staring at the ceiling thinking about the how, the why, the when of it all, it’s because we’re bogged down (and kept up) by the idea that we should have had X experience and X success at this point.
But what are we really comparing our lot against? If it’s personal goals where you’ve missed the mark, think of ways to proactively achieve them. IF however, you are comparing your career to a friend’s, stop and get some shut-eye instead.
Truly achieving your goals, means your success will not look like anyone else’s—that includes time frames. So you didn’t write your masterpiece or make Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list? 35 is as great a year as 25 to give it your all.
Should have thought of that first
Well, you didn’t. Or maybe you did, and you didn’t act on it. Them’s the breaks. So whaddya say we blow off this kind of thinking? The best move you can make is another one (and another one) and stop dwelling on what you didn’t do.
Instead of allowing someone else’s successful idea to get you down, use it as aspirational inspiration. Sit down and find your own passion. (That’s another thing we’ve learned. You need to be obsessed with your own idea in order to make your company work.)
Should have stuck your neck (or hand) out more
There are opportunities that cross our paths multiple times a day. Sometimes we take advantage, and other times we shy away from the conversation or confrontation.
Conference calls when we’re silent. Board meetings when we let a colleague take credit for our idea. There are professional moments when it’s smarter to take the quiet road (sometimes known as the high road). However, if there is a situation that’s haunting you, use it as fire for the next round of opps. You can’t change the past, but the future is all yours.
Should have been a mom by now
Millennials are waiting longer to have kids than ever before. And that’s a good thing. You don’t need to follow anyone’s womb agenda. Period.
Should have been a cowboy
Toby Keith has some life regrets. He should have been a cowboy. He should have learned to rope and ride, but the truth is you can still make hay while the sun is shining.
The point is, it’s never too late to be a cowboy or a cowgirl. All you need are the cojones to saddle up and ride right into your future.
This post was published on April 17, 2019, and has since been updated.