Yesterday I had lunch at my favorite spot….Panera. I went there to escape my office for a while, retreat into my food and catch up on some reading. As I tried to focus on my reading (and my soup) I couldn’t help but overhear a group of women catching up with each other. They were old friends and colleagues who shared many mutual connections. As they finished their lunches their conversation moved away from exchanging the usual pleasantries into work related updates.
All it took was one woman to say, ” Have you all heard what so and so is doing now? She’s freelancing as an interior designer!” The other ladies perk up and chime in. “Yes, I’ve received emails from her about it. I can’t believe she’s going out on a limb that way.” The women spend about 5 minutes discussing their mutual friend’s new business venture. One of the women says, ” I could NEVER do that! I just couldn’t go out on my own.” Another one adds, ” I mean its one thing to like creating things, but if you trained to be a banker, just stick to what you know. Banking is what I know how to do.”
The women left before me, and as I finished my lunch I was thankful that they weren’t my friends, co-workers or acquaintances! I also felt a sense of pride in myself for “stepping out” in my way. On the other hand, I also felt torn. I thought that I should tell them that they too could “step out”! We aren’t necessarily meant to ONLY be bankers, or teachers, writers or any ONE thing! My mind immediately recognized the lesson(s) present in this moment:
- People will judge: This is not always coming from a negative place, but it is going to be ever-present. When people don’t understand what you are doing….there will be judgement.
- People fear the unknown: This is where the judgement originates. Oftentimes (as in the example above) people will doubt, criticize or judge your actions simply because they just can’t get beyond their own fear of doing something considered “non-traditional”
One of the goals for the Aspire2Higher movement is to re-define traditional (careers) in people’s minds! The key take away from this is, not to allow your own fears (nor fear & judgement from others) to prevent you from re-defining traditional and creating your own success!
It’s funny the things you learn when you get out and treat yourself to a little lunch!