“Doing what you love isn’t a privilege; it’s an obligation.”
~Barbara Sher, author Refuse to Choose!
All my life people have been saying ‘what are you gonna be when you grow up’, or ‘what do you do for a living’ or ‘what is your dream job’? Have you heard this too?
I never had a straight answer for this because I had so many things I loved. But the classroom, the world and the media teaches us to pick something and do it. Go to college and get a degree in ______. And that’s your life. Boom. Your reward will be a fulfilling retirement one day.
I never fit that mold and it wasn’t until I was almost 40 years old that I realized I just couldn’t force myself to be one thing. I was a rebel. And fiercely proud.
I thought I was weird. I tried to embrace my weirdness by making light of it…
I’m one of the crazy ones. Weird is wonderful. Think outside the box. Your weird is my normal. Don’t fit in, bust out. Etc.
…all of which I still fully believe. But underlying those witticisms was a feeling that I was too flighty. Too different. Too woo woo. Whatever. I was just too much.
My passion for art, tattoo, singing, writing, acting, cooking, directing, event-ing, party planning and positivity, left me traveling in a lane by myself. Always seeking, always reading, craving new knowledge, and believing in my own nutty ideas—like once painting a couch purple;)– left me feeling alone and without language to describe my way. I worried that I wasn’t “doing it right”. I kept saying “I’m a renaissance woman but born in the wrong era.”
In the book Refuse To Chose: A Revolutionary Program For Doing Everything That You Love Author Barbara Sher describes someone who has a multiplicity of interests as a Scanner. This is a person whose ideas and passions take them in many different directions. Contrary to popular wisdom Sher said that Scanners have a unique ability, not a liability and encourages them to do everything they love.
This book was a HUGE relief to read. And then I found along my journey more and more of my alien kind. The weirdos. The multi-passionate entrepreneurs. The creatrixes. The people who dared to be different and dream of a life they didn’t want to escape from. Vocations versus jobs. Wishes that came true. Work that was fun and playful. People who didn’t believe you needed to go to college and take on a huge debt. (Check out Vishen Lakhiani, CEO of Mindvalley University)
OMG can this really be? My mindset began to shift. I started to hear messages like:
“Being you means letting out all the crazy sides of yourself. If you aren’t fully yourself…you’ll just blend in.” Katrina Ruth, business coach & author
“In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.” Coco Chanel, fashion designer & businesswoman
“What sets you apart can sometimes feel like a burden and it’s not. A lot of the time it’s what makes you great.” Emma Stone, actor
“Much of our anxiety and stress comes when we’re focused on fear and disconnected from the voice of our own inner guide.” Gabrielle Bernstein, author & speaker
“Nothing is more important than reconnecting with your bliss. Nothing is as rich. Nothing is more real.” Deepak Chopra, M.D. & author
“I’ll never fit in. That’s one of my best qualities.” Terri Willingham, beauty coach
“What you’re really supposed to be doing is whatever makes your heart sing.” Barbara Sher, author & workshop leader
Slowly my heart began to zing. I drank in these beautiful messages. I spent hours listening to and reading mentors and spiritual teachers. I sought out people who had found success and fulfillment by embracing their uniqueness and letting the radiance spill over everything they offered. My soul began to be nourished and I stopped feeling like an outcast. I started to offer my own art, inspiration and kooky humor to my community and my world transformed.
I now refuse to choose one way of doing life. I believe we all have an original vision and genius within us from the day we are born. And though our culture tends to discourage that vision, I am following my passion and letting improv and inspiration lead the way. All those years ago, as a wee little Shelly, I would say “I want to be a singer, a writer, an artist and a chef”. I guess my spirit knew the real me from day one.
These days I choose THE MUSE and let sparkly clarity & guidance lead me. Sometimes it’s through brambles and mud puddles, but always towards the light! And I’m now a member of Scurvy Elephants tribe! (Read below* to find out what that means).
The Fierce Pollyanna
Are you a Scanner? A multi-passionate, multi-talented person who loves many things? Come say hi in my Create Happy Facebook group!
*Author Dr. Wayne Dyer, my remarkable mentor, used to tell an inspiring story about being different. In his early elementary school years, he was forced to live in a foster home, which made him unique from the other kids.
One day he overheard his teacher tell the principal, “That Wayne Dyer is a ‘scurvy elephant’ in my classroom.” He went home and told his foster mom. She called the school and asked what was meant by Wayne being a ‘scurvy elephant’. The principal responded “Oh that’s Wayne he gets everything mixed up. The teacher didn’t say “scurvy elephant” in her classroom, she said “disturbing element” in her classroom.” Wayne would say this with a laugh and used those words throughout his life to describe people who always had an inner guide, a sense of who they really were and lived independent of the good opinion of other people. By Wayne following his own calling he became an encouraging and insightful teacher, who helped countless people, including me, shape their own lives and live their calling.