Recently, I was living in my own little bubble, as I always do, writing, posting, living my life, raising my children, chatting to friends, and getting on with things, and I received an email… nothing unusual.
In this email, was written the following (verbatim);
The thing is Debs that to dish out the advice and motivational stuff that you do you have to do it from a position of having succeeded in life and made some major achievements…..so you can say “look at me….i did it my way and look where its got me”……but as it stands its hard for people to see how you can have such strong views on how things are done when you dont seem to be progressing with any degree of accelleration.
This was then “clarified” in a further email… (again, verbatim…)
When I spoke of achievements and successes I was refering to career advancement and financial status….because thats how the world today judges and measures “success”.
Now, as I read this, and as I shared it with a few close friends, who actually know me, unlike this person (despite long-standing communication), we laughed.
I’m not going to lie, I was a little pissed… wouldn’t you be? But ultimately after a little “who the hell do they think they are?” We laughed it off.
The ludicrous nature of someone to try and judge another based on something so arbitrary as “career advancement” when they don’t even have a JOB in the typical sense is not only laughable, it’s downright ludicrous.
I’m self-employed, captain of my own ship, writer of my own script (as it is tattooed on my shoulder), and creator of my own path.
Something the person who sent me the above has never been and has often declared never found it appealing, or something they would be able to do. (This, if you’ve not guessed, is not our first contact… it was, however, very much our last. I don’t have the space for energy vampires and toxic people in my life – we’ll discuss that another time)
So how could my “career advancement” play any role? It can’t! It’s nigh on impossible to be in any way accountable to “career advancement” when you don’t live in the world of the employed.
I have no way to advance my career in “typical” ways; there is no annual review from a manager, no supervisor to make sure I’m “doing my job” or assign me tasks from one day to the next. No one will offer me up a pay rise, or a promotion. There are no gold stars! There will be no pat on the back or a placard to congratulate me on a job well done. There’s no commencement speech, or company bulletin (I mean, there could be, but who the fuck would I send it to? My cats? I honestly don’t think they care) – The only way I can have any level/measure of success in this world is if I create it on my own.
By the very nature of the beast, if I were to follow that other path, there would only be so much I would be able to credit as “doing it my way”.
Yes, I could have “stuck it out” in employment. Gone to work 5 days a week, 40-odd hours, 9-5ish, got the paycheck, the pat on the back, the job title, the promotion, the pay rise, the validation from the “higher-ups”… the “career advancement” as is so glorified in this persons mind… and I could have kicked its ass all the way to the very top! I never left a position where I didn’t create some lasting change for the better, even as a student! Even when I worked “at the very bottom”!
But I, Debbie Bradley, I would never have been able to fully say “I did it my way”. THAT is why that way never worked for me! That’s why I got out of the rat race, the boys club, the 9-5. THAT is the very reason I left and never went back;
BECAUSE I’M DOING IT MY WAY!!!
Jeez, duh, eye-roll! You get it yet?
And here’s the thing
By living life my way I am far happier, more successful and fulfilled than I ever was sitting behind a desk, miles from home doing things someone else’s way for someone else.
Now, I’m not saying my way is the right way for everyone. It’s just the right way for me. I have incredible friends who do work the 9-5 and kick ass on the way up every day. I love them dearly, they’re the ones who also look at me and understand why I could never do what they do. I’m cut from a different cloth. I can’t hack the same-samey-ness of a 9-5. Nothing kills my soul more than doing the same thing day in day out and having to march to the beat of someone else’s drum. (Apparently, it’s a genetic trait)
Do I miss having other people around sometimes? Yeah, sure, but that’s why I have amazing groups, masterminds and friends who I’m in contact with most days. They get it too, many of them are just like me in that we work on weird schedules, usually, until the early hours, because they spend their days raising children, homeschooling, hustling and calling it in on their own terms, and they wouldn’t have the crazy any other way (normal is so boring and overrated)
I, nor they, would ever try to convince someone to live like we do – believe me, we know we’re nuts. We celebrate it regularly, and simultaneously wonder why we can’t just “do the normal thing, y’know?” But deep down, we know why… it’s because we don’t have it in us.
Our souls light up with the push, with constantly navigating life and the weird and wonderful things it throws at us. And we’re also blissfully, completely aware that’s not for everyone, and we wholly support that. We will never expect anyone to try to be like us, we respect and appreciate you being exactly who you are and living your life your way.
Now, I made a decision a long time ago, that I would live life the way I want to, no matter what, by putting what is most important to me ahead of everything else.
For some time, that was the pursuit of a degree and a wage, that didn’t work (made me miserable, nearly died through boredom) then it became about family, taking the time to care for my dying Grandfather for the 2+ years up to his passing, a time I cherish and look back on in fondness. I didn’t know him until my teen years, and yet, I was there by his side right up to his final moments. We were close, I love him dearly, and I can honestly say I have no regrets or unresolved feelings around our relationship and how close we were. That time with him was more important to me than having a job.
I also know that my time is best spent raising my children, who, up until being pregnant, I was never even sure I was going to have – parenthood was never a dead cert for me. In fact, my closest friends all thought I was joking when I first told them I was pregnant! “Really Debs, you? You’re having me on…” One friend didn’t even believe me until I showed them scan pictures of a baby in my womb. But once those little mini-humans came along, I knew I had to adjust, my life had to pivot, and I would give my all to them in the way they needed me to, whatever that is. And I’ve been pretty successful at doing that since 2006.
How many people can truly say they’ve followed through on the things that are most important to them in such a way?
How many people can truly say that, in life, they put first things first, and the rest could go to hell? Or just wait a while…
My guess is very few, and there’s no shame in that, just a little sadness.
My aim is to get to the end of my life and feel like I did all I wanted to. If it comes to it, I’ll slide into that coffin sideways saying “that was one hell of a ride! I loved every minute” and I’ll want to do it all again. I don’t want to wake up one day wondering what I could have done differently, or mourning the time I wasted because I never fully went all-in on being me. I don’t want to be one of the 80% on my death bed bemoaning “If only I’d just…” I refuse!
It’s not to say there aren’t things I haven’t done yet, that I wish to… there’s time for that. I’m getting to it! I can only do so much at once, jeez! And yeah, I’m being slow at some things. But I’m not gonna wait until I get a permission slip signed off because “I’ve earned it” Nah, I’ll just do it when it gets to the top of my priority list and I can’t ignore it any more.
It’s like my writing. I put it off for so long, I wondered if I could, if I should… I was waiting for permission that would never come, because no one on this earth could give it to me! I had to DECIDE to be the person I am, to back myself fully, and just fucking do it, once and for all, hell or high-water, rain or shine, fear or no. And that’s what I did.
Much like I’ve done with everything else, sometimes it appears brash, maybe a little “out there” and that’s fine with me. I get it. But I don’t want to live a timid quiet life following the crowds, I never have.
So I made a declaration, actually, I borrowed it, that I will do whatever it takes, no matter what it takes, and I will live, speak and share my truth every day, until my dying day, no matter what! Even if it never earns me another penny.
I’m hoping it does, I’m not going for broke here, and I know there are people out there who think I’m mad, or “unqualified” or whatever (see above, ha!)
But really, how can anyone ever say “Look at me, I did it my way and look where it got me” if they never actually dared to even start to do it their own fucking way. Don’t make me laugh.
Yeah, I’ve tried a few different things along the way.
Yeah, I’ve messed up.
Yeah, I’ve wondered if I’m even on the right path, or just downright insane.
Yeah, I’ve questioned my decisions and wondered if I could have done it better.
Haven’t we all??
Isn’t that just a part of life?
Living, doing, learning; whether it’s right or wrong, we fuck it up or it’s an unmitigated success… it’s all just a journey, a path, a fun little ride, and it’s not up to anyone else to decide how you live it, or whether you’re doing it right. It never has been, and I’m sorry if you’ve been led to believe otherwise, but now is the time to stop buying into that bullshit. The world will be a much better place once you do.
And to those who try to tell you otherwise? Tell them… well, tell them nothing, it’s not worth your energy. Just live your damn life and they’ll get the hint eventually. There’s no point talking to walls.
Remember… Life is a script of your own writing.
(yes, that’s what my tattoo says)
Write it well!
You do you.
I’ll always have your back.