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Are You Narrowing Your Possibilities?

A young adult just starting her life shared a few recent interactions she’s had in her graduate school program and internship experiences. The words of others prompted her to question herself, her passions, her possibilities, and her future in an industry she loves.

How disappointing to be full of hope and feel like you’ve found your place in the world - that place where you belong - only to then have others’ words and experiences prompt you to question your path. This young, motivated woman believes better experiences for people in her industry are possible in the future. She believes working conditions should and can be better, the environment should be a consideration, and that equality in opportunities and pay is a no-brainer.

A few of her experiences over a short time include when she asked her professor why she should have to conform to less than desired working conditions and situations in the industry. His response was that this is the way things have always been. Another disappointment occurred when guest presenters came to a class to talk about their work experiences and then described how mistreatment by their bosses is the norm. In one internship, her boss would ask her for her ideas only to use his own every single time. Why ask?

Now, I don’t believe we should paint a false picture of the realities, but we should encourage others who have the conviction not to accept things for what they are just because they’ve always been. Honestly, the young woman’s question was fair. More than fair. We all deserve to be and live as our best and authentic selves. This means we can dream and strive for a better future for ourselves and everyone else too.

If we just accept someone else’s words as our reality, we are narrowing our thinking and our possibilities. I offered advice to this young woman to broaden her view on life beyond other’s thoughts, feelings, and experiences.

As one of my favorite 80s band's - Journey – song title says, “Don’t Stop Believing.” Don’t stop believing in your passions, values, and motivators. This is what makes you, you. Others can’t see what you see because they are not the unique, talented, amazing you. They have had their own life experiences, which have formed their personal beliefs and approach to life. Their interactions with us are about them and what they believe. Don’t let what others say distract you from what is important to you. Your convictions are needed. They are valid. You are possible. Opportunities are limitless.

Have you had experiences like this young woman? Over my lifetime, I’ve had more than I can count. About six months ago, someone told me they didn’t have confidence I could execute on something. It was tough to ask for a second chance at 56 years old (there’s the ego!). What this person said crushed me, depleted my confidence, and had me wondering what others thought of me and my capabilities. Thank goddess for the uplifting people around me; those who believed in me. I remembered soon again that I am worthy and enough. I am talented, successful, and have value to add to this world.

Try this

These situations will continue to test our convictions and confidence and encourage us to question our path, actions, and beliefs. Words matter. Next time someone’s words affect your feelings, thoughts, and being, try these tactics:

  • Use the power of AND. Others have their personal thoughts and experiences AND other limitless possibilities exist too.

  • Reach out to your “go-to” people who lift you up, encourage you, believe in you, support your convictions, and see the possibilities in and for you.

  • Assume positive intent. For the most part, others’ goals in life don’t include intentionally bringing you down, prompting you to question your path, and annoying you.

  • Have compassion for others because they may not believe in the possibilities.

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