A year and a half ago or so, I interviewed Melissa Opie for my Embracing Intensity Podcast. She said something in that interview that still sticks with me today, "I like to help people see that this is just a self-imposed box that you're putting on yourself, let's get out of there and be free!"
It may start out with other people telling you what you can and can’t do, or what is right and what is wrong, but as we become adults and take ownership of our own life and decisions we tend to internalize those messages that may no longer be relevant today.
Some of them are self-protective in our attempt to gain approval, but as Amy Pearson says in an earlier interview, it’s not until you stop chasing approval from the neutrals and haters that you will be more likely to find your tribe.
We also may set limitations on ourselves out of our fear of failure.
One box I put myself in for years was the belief that with my inattentive tendencies, I could never be self-employed. I needed the external pressure and deadlines of a J-O-B to keep myself in line. In the last few years I’ve proved to myself that, while I may not be as productive as I would like to be, I can get a whole heck of a lot done when I’m highly motivated by my work!
As Melissa also says, “for people who really have found that thing that really lights them up, it gives them a reason to wake up in the morning… when people have found that I don’t think there is any danger of them not doing anything.” I have found this to be definitely true for myself.
Now does that mean I’m productive all of the time? Heck no! I’m still working on my process moving from the excessive structure of the school system to the complete lack of structure of entrepreneurship, but I’m motivated to find a way to make it work and be as effective as I can be.
I haven’t stepped completely out of that box yet, as I give myself the space to grow organically and at my own speed, I maintain a few days of my day job to help make ends meet. For many though, I don’t think it’s even about quitting a job or creating an entirely new life.
It’s about finding that “thing” that lights you up and allowing yourself to run with it.
So what self-imposed boxes have you been putting yourself in? How can you allow yourself to step out of that box - even if just a little bit at a time?