Article by Wendy McCance
When I was in high school, I dreamed of being an Interior Designer. I was constantly rearranging my room, drawing sketches of how I could make different rooms of our house over and saved up and bought a drafting table. My senior year I was taking an art class that I loved and was getting a straight A in (my grades were very average and I was so proud of this grade).
One day I was approached by my teacher and asked what I would like to do with my life. He wanted to know if I would like to pursue a career in the art field. I told him that I wanted to be an Interior Designer. He was very supportive and said that if that’s what I wanted to do, that I should go after it. Then he told me something that devastated me. Apparently my mom had called him and asked him not to encourage my dream. She said that I had no talent in this area and that pursuing a career in Interior Design would be a mistake. I was in shock. I couldn’t believe my mom would go to such lengths to stomp out my dreams. The teacher then told me that as I got older that it was very important to go after what felt right to me and not what others felt I should do.
That conversation was a real turning point in my life. After that day, when I would make any big decision I would stop and question my motives. Was I deciding to do something because it was right for me or because someone elses voice was playing in my head and guiding my decision. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I had to review and change tactics when I realized my motivation came from someone elses expectations or as an avoidance to the disappointment or disapproval I might receive from others.
Listening to your own voice and blocking out the noise of others opinions is probably one of the hardest things to accomplish. The wide variety of places you will hear the voices of others is staggering. Society has a set of views that might differ from your own. Does everyone have to aspire to be married? Media outlets throw around their beliefs and so do places of worship. Family, friends and co-workers will all have the ability to plant their voices in your brain. Trying to wade through all of the noise to listen for your own voice is hard and can be confusing. Was it really how I felt, or how someone else thought something should be.
There is no one correct answer. We are all different and need to celebrate our own uniqueness. Finding your way and staying true to your own voice is not only powerful, but wonderful. The uniqueness of each person is what makes life so interesting. It doesn’t matter if 100 people followed a certain map to get from point A to point B. The important thing is to know what works best for you based on how you and not others feel.
Staying strong and trusting your voice is the surest way to a satisfying and successful life. It’s great to get advice and to take into consideration what others have to say. The trick is to know what advice you feel comfortable taking from others and being able to hear your own thoughts. In the end, trusting your instincts and staying true to who you are and what you want will bring you the happiness you seek.
To contact Wendy McCance about a writing assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: [email protected]
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