Never Give Up on You
If there is one thing that I could tell my younger self, it would be this: "Don't give up on you!"
I love what Dr. Brene Brown quotes in her book as she quotes from President Theodore Roosevelt:
What I know now that I didn't realize then is this: life is meant to be LIVED! And living is not comfortably fitting into a mold that someone else designed for you (i.e. society, your parents, your teachers, your friends, etc.)
If there is one thing that I wish I had done more of, it would be living life on my own terms. This is not to say that I have never had moments of salient clarity. But it is to say that I wish I had embraced more of those moments.
When I told my parents that I wanted to be a chemist, my very practical Mom said to me, "That's good, baby. But what are you going to do with that?" I had no answer to this question. I just knew that I was in love with atoms and molecules and balancing chemical equations.
After I graduated from high school and took a detour chasing a relationship that didn't work out, I rethought my initial dream of becoming a chemist. I decided that it would be more "acceptable" to be a medical doctor. But after researching what it would take for me to follow that path, I gave up on that pipe dream. My family was more important to me (by this time I had two children under the age of five).
Many folks encouraged me to become a nurse. Not that I have anything against nursing, but remembering my Red Cross Candy Striper volunteer time as a teen, I knew that I did NOT want to spend my time hanging out with sick people at hospitals. God bless those who have a heart for that.
So, I had that moment of salient clarity where I realized that becoming a chemist was something that I had to do...for myself. And so, I went to the library and researched what chemists do for a living. I found out that I could have a career doing something that interested me. So, against the advice of school counselors, family, and friends (with the exception of hubby), I went for it. Fast forward more than 25 years later and I can tell you that I have absolutely NO regrets about doing it. As a matter of fact, I don't know who I would be without having taken that path. Where I am today is a result of following that "road less traveled."
I wish that I could say my life was a smooth sail after this and that I knew exactly every turn to take - how to follow the whispers of my heart. The truth is I became severely sidetracked by the opinion of other people and made desperate attempts to fit some kind of mold (I am not sure now what mold that was) to "make something of myself." Just think about that term. It assumes that you are not something already!
When I talk about "loving your Unique and living Your Unique," it comes from a place of having discovered, lost, and found again the power of understanding and pursuing your Unique design.
What could you be if you weren't busy trying to be what you thought you SHOULD be?
I delight in parents sharing with me the tendencies and proclivities that they see in their children. It delights my heart in a way that I can't explain. I believe that each of us is "Uniquely created by God; there is NO ONE else like you!" And that is a scientific fact. No one on the planet has your DNA, your parents, your experiences, your education level, your body dimensions, your skin color, your eye color, your hair color, your hair texture, your way of thinking, or the exact community experience that you have. Considering all of the aspects of everything that went into shaping "YOU" makes you, what is called in the business arena, a UNIQUE value proposition.
So, of all of the things that I have failed to do in my life, I regret the most giving up on my own unique value proposition. I tried desperately to be something I wasn't, and I failed miserably at it. Some experiences that I had in 2010 and 2011 set me on the path that I am on today - unapologetically Unique, proudly different, and boldly ME.
So I would like to "pay it forward" and tell you to STOP giving up on yourself. NEVER give up on yourself. And what I mean is this: embrace the authenticity of your own design and live out your unique value proposition by showing up as "you" every single day.
And know this: I am cheering for you!
Love Your Unique. Live Your Unique.