what i’m told


sometimes it’s just words that you read. sometimes you read them and subscribe in theory. sometimes you subscribe in theory and don’t realize that you’re storing them away for later. and sometimes when you read them again, you recognize that it’s time for them to come alive.

i’m a freighter. while other boats bob along on the ocean, moving with the tides and drifting with the currents, i’m steady and i move with intention. i have one place to get to and i don’t veer from the path that takes me there. i don’t makes stops along the way or tuck in to ports unplanned. i have a job to do and i get it done. point a to point b. where i am to where i’m expected to be. i look at the map and i follow the course.

what if i didn’t? what if i didn’t do what i’m supposed to do? what if what i’m supposed to do doesn’t agree with what i want to do?

i started to get an inkling, a nagging little tug at my heart that told me maybe i didn’t really want to travel the path that had been paved for me; the path chosen by others. my environment is ripe with statements like i want you to do (fill in the blank) and i see you (fill in the blank-ing.) my role is defined and dictated by someone else (or several someone elses) and nobody asks me what *i* think about any of it.

i’m a hard worker. i find my greatest satisfaction in long days and lists of accomplishments. it’s in my nature and who i am. no matter what i am doing, it will always be that way. what makes me slightly uncomfortable is the manifestation of this trait i’ve noted of late. it came to me as i identified others with whom i have it in common. now that i’ve recognized that, i am aware that the trait we share is not one that i admire. in fact, it’s one of those alarms that screams i never want to be like/do that!

here it is: i’ve developed a habit of being satisfied not by the hard work that i am doing and the growth that i am experiencing, but for the satisfaction i feel when i do what i’m told. gulp.

what. i’m. told.

like a good little girl.

for those of you who know me, that is distinctly not me.

by nature, i revere authourity. if you tell me you have it, i will believe you and i will respect it. i’ve mentioned how trusting i am when it comes to that. in my line of thinking, authourity exists for a reason. somebody needs to be in charge. somebody needs to drive. i can deal with that. for now, i’m not that person and that is fine. what i’ve allowed myself to become is but a deckhand and that is not fine.

this is not a jump off point for me. i am not quitting my job and i am not walking away from all that i have become. (i’m a capricorn, for god sake!) this is the realization that there is something more; that just doing what i am told isn’t working for me anymore. like anyone and everyone, i have choices and i need to start exercising them. i have options. one is to plod along the route that i’ve been given and the other is to chase after the glimpse i’ve caught of something more. more challenging. more fulfilling. more what i want to do.

when i took my current job, a dear friend made me promise that i would stay in it for no longer than ten years. based on my recent experience, i have a new confidence in my ability that isn’t entirely supported where i am. no mentor exists, there is nobody available for coaching. i’m still not comfortable enough to say i will ever leave my company, but i have concluded that it’s no longer enough that i work for my job. my job needs to start working for me, too.

i am optimistic that i can have the best of both worlds: working for this organization while finding a way to travel that terrain in my own way. perhaps that is fear persuading me not step off the ledge…yet. maybe i am simply not ready. whatever it is, i see an opportunity right now and it is one that i will pursue. why? because it works for me. i am sorry if it doesn’t work for you, but i have for long enough and it’s time for me to take the reins again.


i’ve been (somewhat) realistic all my life. realistic holds you down. realistic is key to blocking dreams out. this post reminded me of this post which, combined with a whole lot of other forces, got me to where i am right now. thank you shanna and chris!

the wise words of mr. chris guillebeau


i’ve decided to knit my way through my inner professional turmoil. scarves for everyone!


2 responses »

  1. Yay scarves!

    I totally get what you are saying. It’s something I’ve been struggling with for the past year. What do i want to do? Can I see myself leaving this company? Yes. But do I still want to do what I’m good at, just in a different capacity? It’s a much harder decision to make once you’ve been in a company for a number of years. The security you feel, sometimes that is hard to walk away from. And more so when you’ve made a name for yourself.

    Anyhow. I could go on and on.. but.. good for you and I hope that you find what you’re looking for!

  2. I love this, Carly. And I am pleased you found inspiration in my post. It’s so funny that Chris and I wrote on he same theme, well not that funny, I guess, he is a good friend and we are of like minds. This is, however, the first time I have seen his post on the *Realistic* topic, so THANK YOU for pointing it out.

    Key decisions are hard to make when you pull in the weight of all those other voices. Find a place to be still, and really meditate on what YOU want. You will find your way. Realistic be damned!

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