I have been thinking about this post for a while now and had not put pen to paper because to do this subject justice, I have to get real. I have to get real about my own story and much of it I am not proud of.
As a child, up until high school, I was a very sensitive kid…the kind that if you looked at her cross-eyed, would cry. I cared deeply for others and had a very vivid imagination. While I was scared each and every time, I loved talent shows and getting in front of people but no one would have called me overly outgoing.
Freshman year in High School was a challenge. I keenly observed the popular girls and was envious of their popularity. The summer between freshman year and sophomore year I vowed to change, to become popular. I repeated a mantra to myself (not know it was a self-fulfilling prophesy) multiple times a day: “I am popular, I am popular, I am popular.” Much to my surprise it worked! Much to my dismay later on, I found myself at times, not being very nice to the unpopular kids; the ones who were just like me a few months ago. I was following a rule that said to fit in; I must do what others do.
In college, I wanted to be a ‘free spirit’ and decided to pursue a degree in English and Theater. My father said I was not the ‘theater type’ but I set out to prove him wrong. He wanted me to major in business but I did not believe I had what it took. He was right in many ways, I have a great head for business but I was also correct, I am a bit of a free spirit in that I like to make my own rules. It took me years to figure that out because at the time I was following a rule that said: The type of degree you obtain determines future success.
I found the love of my life, my husband, while in college. We got married and began our life together. If I had a penny for every time someone said, “when are you starting a family?” I would be a rich, rich woman. To this day, it astonishes me how even strangers and the clerk at the grocery store ask this very personal question. I was not ready for children; I knew that in my heart but decided to get pregnant for the wrong reasons. I was following a rule: A women and a wife is not complete without children. We miscarried.
A few years later, I got my first big corporate job in a field that was 100% men. One day, sitting in a meeting, I watched the men cuss and slap each other on the back. I waited for my turn to say something witty, just like the guys. I said what I was going to say and ended it with a four-letter word. It felt odd coming out of my mouth but much to my surprise, the guys hooted and hollered and I felt part of the group. I was following a rule: To fit in a man’s world you have to act like a man. It took me many years to unlearn that rule.
My life has been amazing and I don’t wish to take any of it back. I don’t have a lot of cleaver words for you today except to say, be on the watch for the rules that you are following. Be on the watch for the rules that your children are following. Most importantly, be on the watch for the rules you are setting as an example to others.
As a wife, sister, aunt, friend, coach, and business owner I am proud to say that I am now very cognizant of this…not perfect…but very cognizant. It has taken many years to unlearn some of these rules and to make my own rules.
Funny thing is, now that I am following my own rules…I am once again that sensitive kid, caring deeply for others, with a vivid imagination and who loves a good talent show!
Let’s break the rules together! Do you have any rules that need to be broken?
Author, Consultant & Business Expert
Breaking the Rules by:
Connecting Families-Celebrating Children-Changing Companies
Lisa Baker-King is a nationally recognized and televised author, consultant and coach who is creating a movement connect families, celebrate children and change companies. With over 20 years as a life and business coach, she is passionate about helping families; organizations and small business owners find and pursue their passions with purpose by breaking the rules. Her first children’s book, The Zealous Zebecs from the Midnight Ocean’s Zenith, was released to critical acclaim in June of 2015.