12 Sep Find Your Herd
Be a part of the crowd, they said.
It makes life easier, they said.
Easier yes, but not necessarily better.
Herd mentality can be dangerous for many reasons but the insidiousness of the not-so-good herds are destructive to your dream.
You can’t do that.
Don’t cause trouble.
Don’t rock the boat.
Don’t upset the apple cart.
Don’t make a fuss.
Don’t draw attention to yourself.
Keep your secrets.
…at any cost.
I grew up being a people pleaser. A cameleon. Making sure everyone was having a good time, everyone’s needs were met… except my own.
It wasn’t until I was in my 30’s that I decided to get to know me.
That wasn’t easy or pretty. Turns out I had over 30 years of recycling to sift through.
Does this still work? No? Ok, process that.
Do we still need this? Yes but it needs tweaking. Ok, let’s grow it.
Do we want this? Hell no, we need to incinerate that, it can’t be recycled.
Taking an inventory of who we are takes a massive amount of trust. Trust that we will be ok when we get onto the other side.
As humans we have a genetic predisposition to find where we belong. We need to mate and create life. We can’t do that alone. So why is it that when we find what we feel is our herd that its as if we don’t fit in.
It’s not their fault.
The people in our herd feel threatened when we do something different. It’s unpredictable and therefore uncomfortable. Which is why whenever I see my brother he looks at me as if I’m still the immature 12 year old girl.
As soon as we try to expand, it’s like we’re on an elastic band. We can only get so far outside the circle before the voice inside tells us that we won’t be accepted if we go any farther so we stop, and contract back to who we were.
The process is painful and many of us do it a million times. And worse yet, only a few will snap the elastic and escape the herd.
This is how I did it. Slow and gradual but it has to be a daily choice to grow.
First, you have to find people who believe in you. These are usually strangers un-phased by your limitations. Not because they don’t know you, but because they see limitations as opportunities to grow and not things that hold you back.
You want to embrace the people that speak life into you. The ones who have nothing to gain from your success and revel in the evolution of others. They aren’t that hard to find – the world is full of good people who want other people to succeed and live their purpose.
For you to attract a new herd, you need to be willing to evolve and develop daily habits to help that evolution.
You can do that.
Have you ever seen the I Am Sermon by Joel Osteen? I’m not religious but this guy makes me feel like I can can fly. His messages are powerful so take what you like and leave the rest.
Anyway, Oprah had him on and they were talking about this sermon. It says that anything you say that follows “I am” will come looking for you. If you say “I am an idiot” “I am so lazy” “I am so tired” “I am so ugly” “I am so fat” that is what you will become. You may be thinking “hey, I am those things now so what’s the big deal?!”
The big deal is that you need to start changing your I ams. You need to start breathing life into yourself and creating a new reality.
I’m not talking about a quantum leap, it’s conscious language. The I Am exercise was the most life-altering thing I have ever done. One day I’ll share my full story and you’ll see why but for now can you just take my word for it?
No one in my current circle of friends has ever heard me say “I’m so stupid” if I, let’s say, forgot something. Instead I say “oh look at that, I forgot something!” It’s not because I’m consciously trying not to say it, it’s because I have done this so much that it’s become my second nature not to think that way about myself anymore.
Let me repeat that because it’s huge.
I don’t speak like that about myself anymore because I have chosen to change my language. When I changed my language, I changed my thoughts and then my world changed.
Start by making a list of I ams. These are affirmations. It doesn’t even have to be something you currently are. You can visualize something you want – “I am an entrepreneur.” “I am financially free.” “I am a great mom with lots of time to spend with my children.” “I am _________.” Fill it in.
Repeat them all daily. You could have 10 of them, or three. Doesn’t matter. It only matters that you start. You’ll see – this exercise will make you a magnet for what you want. You will start to believe that you can do anything.
No great genius has ever existed without a touch of madness. – Aristotle.
Be unconventional. Do things differently. People won’t understand and they don’t have to. What do you think people thought of Edison the 7,429th time he attempted to create the light bulb?
Rock the Boat.
Question authority. Ask questions. Don’t take someone else’s word as gospel. Maybe they’re new, maybe they’ve been around for 20 years and they have a mentality that if nothings broke you don’t fix it.
Just because someone says something, doesn’t mean it’s final. I’ve bent a lot of rules and challenged a lot of authority. Not because I’m trying to create a problem, it’s because I’m trying to create an alternative solution.
Nothing is impossible. There is always a way.
Upset the apple cart.
Challenge the status quo. Every apple in the cart probably thinks and does the same thing over and over. Shake it up. Mediocrity is the breeding ground for regrets of an unfulfilled life.
Make a fuss.
If you asked for medium rare and it came to you well done, send it back. Not because they’re charging a ridiculous amount of money for a piece of meat but because you asked for something and it came differently than how you both agreed upon.
People accept unacceptable behaviour all the time. Some people think standing up for yourself means making a fuss. Damn right, and you’re worth it. People should be making a fuss about you because you are amazing. The fact that you’ve gotten this far is a testament to how much farther you can go.
Fuss, baby. All the way to your dreams.
Draw Attention to Yourself.
We all deserve to be celebrated. Your voice deserves to be heard. Draw attention not because you need the recognition but because the purpose you’re carrying out is too great to stay quiet on the sidelines.
Let the world know who you are. Your life has a journey for you – get on it.
Tell Your Secrets.
Being vulnerable is one of the most intimidating things about me. I tell it like it is and I don’t care if people know my story, see my struggles, experience my hard times with me, or if they’re an obstacle I happen to be working around/through/over/under.
My transparency is a great strength. It shows my pain and the truly deep gratitude I have for it. Not everyone knows I grew up being physically abused by an alcoholic. Most members of my family didn’t even know. I tell my story freely today because it gives other people permission to move from their pain to a place where a shared secret is a burden lessened. It’s where freedom exists for us all.
We’re taught to make everyone happy so we will be liked, loved, accepted.
I’d rather be respected.
When I started to learn how boundaries were an act of self-love it turned my world upside down. The line I would draw in the sand would get blown to invisibility and I was left with feeling bad for someone I was going to let down.
Say yes when I mean no and when I say no make up a justifiable excuse why they should buy it… and all of that would leave me feeling defeated.
What feels amazing is saying “I’m sorry, that doesn’t work for me,” and done. It’s honest, respects us both, and I’ve never been asked “well why the hell not?!”
Setting boundaries was a helluva game changer when I learned how to set them, respect them, but most importantly how to enforce them.
Cry it Out.
This planet and its conditions we all share can be pretty harsh. Things are gonna hurt. It’s important to cry and move on.
I used to know feelings like the primary colours. Anger, happiness and sadness. There were no degrees of feelings, there were no other emotions. I had no way to discern what I was feeling. Betrayed, joy, forgiving, sorrow, excitement… I had no words to them.
Learning over time to feel my feelings was critical. The most important lesson was Feelings Aren’t Facts. I feel something and that alone doesn’t make it real. But, it’s important I feel through it. Good and bad.
We’ve all had those bad days when it feels like the world is against you. You start to hear the old tape playing again saying “Yup, they hate you. See what you said? What ever made you think you would be friends with these people – I mean, look at them! They’re perfect!”
Then, if you’ve practiced your I Ams and remind yourself that feelings aren’t facts, you’ll come around to rational thinking.
Until then, it’s a shitstorm.
You can follow it down the rabbit hole and get lost in feeling like the most unwanted person in the world, or you can choose to believe the reality of your life.
Practicing gratitude helped manage my emotions because when I was going through that shitstorm I had an entire book of things I had written about myself and my life that I could be grateful for. Those are the facts.
Never fit in.
…at any cost.
As a teenager I lived in a single parent home without child support. At 12 I started buying my own clothes, shampoo, deodorant (you get the idea) because we didn’t have enough.
I also happened to go to a school with kids from affluent families and here I was, a kid going through a separation, being abused, with clothes I could afford with my birthday money.
I never fit.
Not fitting in has been one of my greatest strengths.
It has made me resilient, humble, and exposed all of my beautiful imperfect humanness.
See, your herd – the one meant for you – will shine a spotlight on you, and applaud who you are becoming while accepting you as you are today. You will fit in but it won’t be with the masses. It will be with people who get you. Who dare you to think bigger, dream bigger, and be bigger than you are in this moment.
This path is a long one and it requires a daily choice, a daily commitment to growing. And with the right people, it is one of the most rewarding and blessed paths of all.
It’s worth holding out for The Ones, don’t you think?
Want to try the I AM exercise? Send me a message to firstname.lastname@example.org to share how this changed your life, today.