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 48: Change the Narrative
I’ve pretty much always been the youngest. Youngest child. Youngest neighbor. Youngest coworker. Because of this, I’ve grown into the mold I’ve created for myself. I’ve embraced being “the young one” and on top of that – I’ve added another descriptor: “stupid.”
It’s become a recurring theme – to refer to myself as “young and stupid” so much so that the words roll off my tongue as a sense of defense. It had become second nature to me – in many moments when I’m feeling overwhelmed or underqualified to hide behind feeling “young and stupid.”
I was talking to a friend a few years my senior recently when I relayed the same message, giving myself an excuse to give up before I’d tried. He cut me off instantly and asked why I said that. Preparing myself to jump into what would have been a ridiculous cacophony of excuses, he stopped me again.
“You’re young, yes. But you aren’t stupid.”
Resolution #48: Change the Narrative
That moment crystallized things for me. I had never thought to distinguish between the two. I was young and stupid and they worked together like a mitten on a hand. What I had forgotten was that hands can exist without mittens.
I had always associated young with stupid. I was certainly young and I might as well tack stupid to the case as well. What I had failed to account for, however, was how those two adjectives can live independently of one another. My friend was right. I was young. But I didn’t have to default myself to stupid as well.
Since that conversation, I’ve been catching myself in every moment where I want to hide and I’ve been trying to mindfully be aware that the year of my birth dictates no part of my capabilities.
In moments where you find yourself reverting to familiar excuses, ask yourself why you believe the narrative you’ve bought into. Ask if it’s honest or truthful or kind. And if it isn’t, maybe consider changing the narrative.