You don’t have to be an overnight success to be successful. It’s a mantra I repeat to myself often. It’s likely one you’ve heard before too. (The good ones tend to stick around.) And yet, we all feel the churn and burn, the need to sprint toward success to meet society’s artificial deadlines, and the constant need to outdo ourselves.
It’s something the women in the SK-II film, The Expiry Date understand. From birth, they feel the pressure to achieve certain things by a certain age. Degrees. Prizes. Marriage. Children. Promotions. That constant struggle for women to “have it all” on society’s timeline.
SK-II launched #INeverExpire, a global campaign that continues to raise awareness of the age-related pressures women face every day. The campaign encourages women to define their own destinies through challenging societal norms.
As the founder and CEO of Create & Cultivate, I’ve felt these pressures so many times. Become a badass boss lady with a meaningful company, meet someone, get married, buy a home with a white picket fence, have 2.5 kids plus a puppy...and all by the age of 30. Not only does that timeline put an insane amount of pressure on you, it’s also completely unrealistic! Needless to say, that was not the timeline for me. I love creating experiences that are unique and thoughtful, brainstorming purposeful content, and bringing together creative, entrepreneurial women for real conversations, so creating a company that would enable me to do just that was my focus in my twenties.
Saying “yes” to my career often meant saying “no” to my personal life – or at least meeting those marriage, children, home, pet, insert whatever-pressure-you’re-feeling-here milestones before turning an arbitrary age. Instead, I got married when it came around naturally and felt right to me, and if my husband and I expand our family, that will come when it feels right for us, too – not because it’s what we’re “supposed” to do at this age. And I’m nowhere near done with Create & Cultivate – this is just the beginning for us.
I’m creating my own timeline that allows me to have the life I dream of, for myself and on my own terms. But that’s what the idea of #INeverExpire is all about. You should never let others put an expiration date on you. More importantly, I would add, you should never put an expiration date on yourself.
When you look around it’s easy to play the compare and despair game – especially on social. But you’re more than the lists you’ve landed – or not landed – on, and you’re more than the house you have – or don’t have. The list goes on and on. You can have success at any age, and what success means to everyone is different. You alone are able to define your own timeline.
So tell me, what pressures have you felt to subscribe to society’s predetermined timelines and how do you rise above?