New levels require new mindsets. This can be uncomfortable for many reasons, but growth is inevitable. Jay-z has a song, “Most Kings,” in which he says, “Everybody look at you strange, say you changed, like you work that hard to stay the same.” If we’re moving forward, we don’t want to be the same person; we want to be better as long as we don’t forget our roots. This is where the internal struggle lies.
For years I’ve been true to my roots. Raised in a supportive authoritative household, I was often praised for following the intended path. Over time, I’ve come to learn that paths are flexible even if no one praises you for veering off. My journey is just that, mine. This said, I’m realizing that my next level requires a breaking of old mindsets. It’s time to make my own rules without waiting for permission or approval. This requires a few mindset shifts.
Unpack your upbringing. My transparent truth is that I still operate like a child in an authoritative household in many situations. There are decisions that I delay because I worry about having to face my parents or bosses. Shifting from full time teaching to part-time was one of those decisions. I knew everything they were going to say. “Maybe you should wait a little longer,” “Have you considered x alternative?” or “How are you going to support yourself?” Their questions were well meaning and valid, but they didn’t speak to what I internally knew I had to do.
Trusting our own intuition and strength is not often prioritized in authoritative upbringings. Instead, we learn to act in order to appease a person or expectation. As I begin to break this mindset, I’m slowly becoming more comfortable with exercising my faith over my need to please. We aren’t always going to have the answers, but having peace is most important. The people in your life will learn to adjust, trust me.
Assess your source of affirmation. Being one that grew up following the rules, I became accustom to receiving praise. Consequentially, I developed an unhealthy addiction to admiration that causes me to feel a sense of unworthiness without it. If I don’t get praised for something, or if my writing doesn't receive positive feedback, I obsess over the possible issues and internalize the flaws. This is harmful thinking.
While I hate this solution, I have friends who continually refuse to give me feedback because they want me to get comfortable with and confident about what I have to offer. They force me to find internal affirmation. Since we can’t always control how people respond, and may not always have someone around to co-sign, we have to develop a sense of confidence outside of other’s approval. I’m learning to develop my own gauge for quality work. I’m equally as capable of knowing what’s good and praising myself for it.
Trust your ability. Ultimately dependence on outside expectations and approval takes away from our ability to trust ourselves. The rules my parents set for me laid the foundation I needed to be a disciplined teacher, entrepreneur, and writer. Their push for me to excel in every environment established the work ethic needed to be self-employed. Every part of our journey has a purpose, but it’s up to us to see and trust our own development.
I don’t need outside affirmation or anyone’s permission because my ability, peace, and inner voice are enough to guide me. The more confident I become with who I am and what I have to offer, the better prepared I am to step into the next level.
Growth requires change. We can’t expect to reach new levels with old mindsets. It’s okay to embrace new perspectives, cheer for yourself, and trust your ability. You got this. You don’t need permission to be great!