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What Becomes Possible When You Get Rid of "Should?"

What Becomes Possible When You Get Rid of "Should?"

I want to talk about breaking the cycle of making decisions based on what you “should” do. Most people make decisions that way; it’s easier in the short-term. It requires less thinking about what we really want and what’s right for us, and we can go on autopilot and just do what we’re expected to do.

I see a lot of lawyers, doctors, and housewives who did just that. They followed traditional paths because that’s what their parents wanted for them. That’s what they were groomed for. That’s what they assumed they wanted.

[Related: What's Really Weighing You Down and Keeping You Stuck?]

I followed that same logic for the first fifteen years of my career, too. And even in my personal life, until the last few years. I kept reaching for the next level - the next promotion, the next raise, the next boyfriend. All because I was building the life that society told me I should strive for.

Things like:

  • Getting the executive position at a prestigious organization.
  • Finding Mr. Right so I could move to the suburbs and have a white picket fence and two kids by the time I turned 35.

The thing is though, as I approached my mid 30s, I started to realize that these weren’t really the things I wanted. These weren’t the things that made me happy.

What made me happy was freedom. Freedom to work for myself. Freedom to be single. Freedom to travel when and where I wanted. Freedom to not want children. Freedom to want a different kind of life than all my friends and family around me.

[Related: What is "The What?"]

So, I did it. I left corporate America. I started my own business. I travel as much as possible. I basically do whatever I want.

And it’s awesome and scary and really hard at times.

Going against the grain and doing something different than everyone else - or something different than what you thought you would do - is a big deal. But it’s a bigger deal to keep going down a path just because you “should” or “it’s the right thing to do,” when it’s not really want you want or what lights you up.

I’ve experienced tremendous growth and opportunity since shaking off the pressures and expectations that society puts on women like me. Let me tell you, it’s SO freeing. If you’ve ever had even that fleeting thought that maybe you weren’t on the path you’re meant to be on, or that you could build a different kind of life, I strongly encourage you to explore that more.

You can buck the system and the "shoulds” of society. It’s what bad*ss women do all the time.

[Related: 5 Big Lies That Block Your Progress... And How to Conquer Them]


Elena Lipson is the Principal and Founder of Mosaic Growth Partners, a consulting and coaching firm based in Washington, D.C.

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