Life is too short to be living somebody else’s dream.
Once upon a time, I wanted to be a famous skincare influencer.
In 2008, I started a beauty blog without thinking too much about it. I thought I’d be lucky if I could get 10 strangers to read my musings about my fave moisturiser. That’s all I wanted. Connecting with a small clique that had the same passion as me.
Fast forward to 2014 and blogging became big business. All of a sudden, a handful of young women who wouldn’t have been out of place on the cover of Vogue were being showered with press samples, invited on luxurious all-expenses paid trips all over the world, and sitting front row at fashion week.
Why couldn’t that be me?
Do You Really Want It Or Do You Think You Should Want It?
I wanted to join this exclusive group of celebrities bloggers, but how?
I decided to cyber “stalk” them and learn as much as possible about them and their journey. They all seemed to have a few things in common:
- They all had a YouTube channel
- They were spending most of their time on social media channels instead than their blogs
- They were documenting their life both in vlogs and Instagram
- They invested lots of time and money in their appearance (eyelash extensions, Botox, weekly manicures, etc…)
- They had a manager
- They were master networkers, able to connect with the right people at industry events
My heart sank…
It’s not that it didn’t have the money to invest in my looks or the skills to create videos. I knew I could find ways to get those things (like Marie Forleo always says, “Everything is figureoutable.”)
It’s that I didn’t want to do any of those things…
I HATE social media and couldn’t care less about being “Insta-famous.” I don’t see the point of wasting hours of my life creating flawless content that lasts only a few short hours (and that the algorithm hides from your followers, anyway). I want to spend time helping people, back then with good skincare advice and now with coaching.
I’m a private person. I don’t want everyone (especially perfect strangers) to know every detail of my life. Especially my love life. I can’t think of anything worse than having a public breakup and my readers asking me what the heck went wrong when I’m still licking my wounds and putting the pieces of my heart back together.
I don’t want to favour videos over blog posts. I know there aren’t many people who read these long posts anymore, but I don’t care. I’ll keep writing for the few who do. I’ve always been a writer and I’m not going to change now to make more money.
And while I like the idea of looking like a Vogue model every day, I don’t need the stress of keeping up that facade. If I want to take a day (or month) off from the glam, I want to be able to do so without ruining my “brand”.
I thought I wanted that lifestyle and all the perks that come with it.
My friends thought I should go after it, too. Wasn’t I a blogger, after all?
Society would have rewarded me for it. Being beautiful, famous, and rich. Isn’t that the ideal we all aspire to?
And yet, I didn’t really want any of it. When I realised what that lifestyle entailed and all the work to get (and stay) there, it had no appeal to me. All the Jimmy Choos in the world aren’t worth the stress and unhappiness of being trapped in a life that wasn’t my own.
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How To Know If You Really Want It (Or Only Think You Should)
Just because you don’t want something, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.
Sure, I don’t want to become a skincare influencer anymore, but I still have to do a few things on that “I hate list”. I may never have millions of followers on Instagram, for example, but I can’t ignore the platform completely if I want to run a successful coaching business.
The trick is to identify the things you’re doing just because you think you should but that in reality you really really really don’t care about.
If it doesn’t help you move towards the life of your dream, give yourself permission to let it go. Here’s how:
- Do it your way: I may have to be on Instagram, but I don’t have to post only picture perfect posts, reply to comments all the time and all the other things the algorithm demands. I can just post what I want when I want and have more genuine interactions with people.
- Delegate it: If you really need to do something you really don’t want to, delegate it to someone else. As soon as I was able to hire a part-time virtual assistant, Instagram was the first task I gave her. And she’s much better at it than I am.
- Ditch it: Everyone is telling me to vlog, but I’ll never do it. It’s just not me. There are few things these introvert dislikes more than having to share her private life with the world. I’ve accepted that. And you know what? There are so many other things I can do to grow my business instead. Things that are more me. I’ll stick to those.
Let Go Of The Guilt
It doesn’t matter how much you dislike something. When you let go of the expectation of who you should be, you’re going to feel guilty about it.
Social pressure is real. Your mind believes you need to look a certain way, have a successful career with perks you can show off, and conform to the image of what a career woman is like to be accepted and loved.
Isn’t that the message society is sending us every day? So if you refuse to play the game, it’s totally normal to feel guilty about it.
The antidote to guilt is self-love. You need to love yourself enough to give yourself permission to be who you are and do the things you really want to do.
Your loved ones won’t leave you. Your career won’t crash. The world won’t end. (I know this from personal experience 😉 ).
You’re enough just the way you are. Even if you don’t want to be a famous influencer. Even if you don’t want to make millions. Even if you haven’t lost those 10 pounds yet.
You don’t need to do any of that. You just have to be your own authentic self and pursue YOUR dreams YOUR way.
Everything else will fall into place.
Over to you, now. What is it you think you should want, but really, really, really don’t? Let me know in the comments below.