Article by Magdalena Bak-Maier
Whatever one’s age, we all play to other people’s expectations to some degree. We are influenced by trends from magazines telling us what to wear, how much make up to use, where to holiday and how to generally create a lifestyle that fits with what is expected by the majority only who exactly? Is it your friends? Family? Co-workers? People you may never meet? Let’s face it. For many of us, the idea of looking trendy, covering grey hair and seeming ever younger and successful can lead to continuous chase, low-esteem, or even financial ruin. Whilst we can not ignore expectations all together, perhaps the best and healthiest place to start may in fact be with those we want to set for ourselves. After all, who else knows our capability, personality, interests and aspirations as intimately as we do. Now for many people, behaving in a way that seems to go against what others expect can be stressful. Such behaviour is sadly at times not met with the approval and support we would expect from others but indeed with criticism and at times rejection. And yet, what is at stake is our happiness. So here are three ways to enjoy life on your terms and ditch other people’s expectations.
1. Find a community of people that support your life and style and help you develop it
As humans, and especially women, we require the support of a group and find power in it. In other words we require a tribe of like-minded people in which we can thrive. As our lifestyle and interest changes, the requirement for networks of people that can support us may require that we broaden our social circle. This is especially true when one’s existing contacts and friends seem to impede progress by being less than supportive. Tap into online communities, look out for conferences around your interest or start an interest group yourself.
2. Set your own standards of success
In order to feel successful we are always working towards specific goals and standards. Not having them, often means that we will become susceptible to being overly influenced by external expectations. This makes us vulnerable. Having your own goals from where you want to vacation, to what you want to achieve in a given year, and how you want to feel each day helps one stay self-centred and build inner confidence.
3. Do something that makes you feel good about yourself everyday
Let’s face it. Life is made up of moments. Days, weeks, and months can quickly amount to years that we either feel good about or that we may regret. To avoid this aim to do something you enjoy everyday however small. Alternatively plan something every week or once a month that will bring you lasting satisfaction. As you create a life that fills you with contentment and happiness, others will want to emulate you. Instead of criticising your approach they will want to learn from you. And what’s better and more sexy than a woman that has the right tribe of support, her own goals and standards and exudes a lovely energy of being enchanted with life.
Magdalena Bak-Maier is founder of Make Time Count devoted to working with clients and organisations to develop talent and high level, sustainable productivity and an author of Get Productive! A trained neuroscientist, Magdalena’s original tools and models help businesses and individuals get results and feel good. See www.maketimecount.com for more information.