When It Comes To What You Want, What Does It Cost To Be Who You Really Are?
Leadership Lesson: On the path of development, goals, and hopes, there may be moments when we’ll have to travel alone to achieve what it is we want and decide how much we can pursue alone.
Recently, in a networking group, I was talking to an entrepreneur, exchanging stories and experiences about our paths building our businesses. In sharing the up’s and down’s of the typical entrepreneurial journey, they mentioned the loneliness they sometimes felt because of the disconnection from their friendship circles that resulted from their need to concentrate and focus on their business.
That’s an understandable dilemma — seeking to build something for yourself at the risk of losing those everyday social moments, experiences, or, in the case of some, relationships with others. Some people may be forgoing their strong connections today for uncertain goals tomorrow. And that loneliness can penetrate and break you if you don’t keep the bigger picture in mind. (Loneliness is a growing norm.)
All that being said, though, we both agreed that considering the way we’re programmed and what we want to achieve, we’re happier to make some sacrifices up front to enjoy the goal of fulfillment later. We couldn’t imagine giving up completely on what we want in order to maintain relationships.
And it’s nothing against relationships at all. But, in the end, your own satisfaction is what matters most. If you don’t have that for yourself — feeling that deep fulfillment in your core — nothing else will seem right. And if you give up on yourself, you’re won’t be your best for others
But that’s only our experience. What’s yours?
Even if you’re not an entrepreneur, how might you be limiting your happiness because you’re afraid to lose connections, especially if what you desire requires stepping away (in any way) momentarily from relationships, friendships, family?
In the worst of scenarios, how might you be compromising who you are because of the perception and beliefs of others? Do you feel it would cost you too much to be who you really want to be — whether the price is loneliness, isolation, or, even worse, rejection?
Making the decision to take one path or the other requires a little more energy than allowing it to be an impulsive reaction, just living in the moment, going whichever way feels better at the time. To do it right, it really does take sitting down to assess what each path can offer you and how much better off you’ll be in the end.
And in that reflection, you can begin by answering some questions to determine which path would be in your best interest.
Start with the questions below.
What/Who Do You Want To Be?
What is it you seek that people around you might not understand, or that would take away from your time with others? What kind of fulfillment and happiness would that bring you? What kind of person would it make you?
In some cases, people may not even be sure what it is they want when they step away, but they go off to explore anyway, curious about what is out there that is meant for them. If you’re one of those people and you don’t know what it is at this moment, there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s nothing wrong with being a work-in-progress or working to figure things out — as long as you keep moving!
What Is It Costing You?
Now, if you’re taking the path that keeps you from your relationships at times, and you feel you are losing out in those areas, what are you losing out on? There’s nothing wrong with assessing and prioritizing your relationships to determine which ones you need and which ones you don’t.
Are you being responsible and diligent? While working toward your goal, are you maximizing your efficiency to make sure you’re not being wasteful with your time — time that could be spent with those whom you value?
Also, in terms of those relationships in question, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. It may just be a matter of better prioritizing your time. You don’t have to step away completely. But only you yourself will know, based on what you want and what you need to get done, how to balance your goals with your relationships.
What Is The Trade Off?
On the flipside of that, if you give up what you want, what do you really get? For instance, assume your social circle remains intact and your connections just as strong. Will that happiness match what you would have felt if you did go for what you wanted?
Keep in mind how much we all evolve on a daily basis in just reacting to what life is giving us. Now, factor in on top of that when you have a strong goal in mind, one that will make you a better person, worker, professional, or business person. When you have that goal in mind, the shift in who you become can be exponential. Is it worth turning your back on that?
How Do You Regain What You Feel You’ve Lost?
The relationships where you’ve felt disconnection — how can you work to fix them? What can you do to find balance as best as possible between your goals and the relationships? Unfortunately, only you will know what the proper balance will look like for your situation. I can’t outline that here.
But always consider whether or not it’s worth fixing those areas. It sounds harsh, I know. But if you’re chasing something that’s your dream and desire, or trying to be who you really are, what kind of support would you like to see? Are others supporting you as much as you would support them? This is another decision you have to make: What kind of standard do you expect for your relationships and what you get back from them?
Keep in mind: None of these are questions that will be quickly or easily answered. They may take you to a greater depth of self-reflection than you anticipated. Also, the answers may change with time as your desires, goals, and priorities change. Always make sure you’re reassessing each of those.
Another thing to consider is that there are people out there who will support you, whether they are in your current inner circle or are people you’ve just met whose fire for their own goals matches your own. You don’t have to travel your path alone.
It also bears repeating: None of this is to say “Drop everyone!” or that “What you want is the only thing that matters.” This conversation with yourself — it’s a matter of respect, both respect for yourself and for others. You still have duties to those with whom you’re closest. What this approach offers is for you to make sure your deepest, self-satisfaction is met in the best way possible.
Part of this entire process is working toward the path that will allow you to avoid long-lasting regret in the future.
For both your desires and relationships, keep your drive fired up, your mind ready, and your eyes open for what needs to get done.