The New Year had me thinking a lot about goals, values, ambitions, motivations, life, and how excited I was to wear my new fuzzy socks. With all the talk of “look how far you’ve come in a year” and “can you believe that was only 1 year ago” I found myself even more reflective and nearly bubbling over with blog ideas – two of which involved writing about goals and values.
At my old job, we had a list of working norms – kind of like guiding values – and each day at our morning huddle, we would say what working norm we were focusing on that day. I loved that idea. I mean, obviously, in theory, you were living into every positive attribute every day you walked into the office, but how nice it was to really put your heart and soul behind one guiding value each week.
For this reason, I’ve decided to dedicate a new series of “Res” posts to my own kind of working norms – my own mini-resolutions. You don’t have to buy into any of these. You don’t have to make your own. But maybe at some point, it’ll make you think about what it would look like to radically change your life one week at a time.
Res 6: Take Your Time
Let’s talk about peer pressure for a few moments. I was fortunate in high school and college to surround myself with good people who respected my values and beliefs and rarely – if at all – pushed me to do things I wasn’t comfortable with. After conversing with a friend recently, I realized this isn’t always the case.
This post is dedicated to everyone who has ever been pushed to make a decision before they were ready.
I had a dream last night where I was in the woods, camping with some friends – none of whom were recognizable. There was a big pond with a dock and a rope swing from the tallest tree. All of my “Sims-like” friends had already been in the water by the time I arrived. As they were on their way out, they encouraged me to jump in. I didn’t want to. I let them yell and pressure and say everything they wanted about the importance of jumping in the lake.
But I didn’t want to jump in the lake. So I didn’t.
Eventually, the chatter ceased and the rest of the group began to walk up the path – presumably to the camp site. I was left alone for a few calm moments.
In that silence, I felt myself overcome with the desire to swim.
I slipped out of my beach cover up and ran down the hill, across the path, and onto the dock, ending in a dramatic belly flop into the cold, murky lake water…not because someone had told me to, but because I thought I was ready. I wanted to jump in the lake.
I thought about that dream later and the conversation I had had with my friend when I realized something more pressing than algae filled lakes. Nobody knows you better than you know yourself.
Nobody knows what you need. Nobody knows what you’re feeling. Nobody really even knows what’s best for you…except for you.
It’s easy to get caught up in the other voices – well-meaning people telling you that they know what’s best. It’s easy to want to rush into something you’re not ready for. It’s hard to say to peer pressure in any form – even when it seems like it’s a good thing.
We’re all taught to say no to the group of students under the bleachers lighting up cigarettes, but what do you do when the person pressuring you is your best friend and they are well intentioned? What happens when the pressure is about asking out your crush or asking for a raise at work? What happens when the pressure is something you know you need to do but haven’t quite found the best approach?
That’s even harder to walk away from. Deep down, you know that your friend means well. Deep down, you agree with their demands. But deep down, you also know that you can’t rush into this. Whatever “this” is, you know you have to take it at your own pace… you know you have to give yourself time.
Being pushed into something – even a good thing – can backfire. Don’t go swimming if you aren’t ready. I promise, the lake will still be there when you get back.
Resolution #6: Take Your Time
It’s really, really hard to go against someone you love and care about. It’s even harder when that person thinks they’re being helpful. At the end of the day, however, only you know what’s best for you.
Keep your head up and trust in what you’re doing. Follow nobody’s path for your life but your own. Don’t feel like you owe anybody an explanation for the way you are doing things. Don’t think you have to apologize for needing a little more space or a little more time.
Take care of yourself. Trust yourself. And keep pushing forward. In the race with yourself, you’ve already won. Take your time.
I believe in you. And most importantly, I trust you.