Starting out at anything, it is difficult to break through and be noticed, even just a little bit. At present I have no desire to be famous, except to have influence to encourage those around me to show kindness in their actions. I am certainly not the first person to have this aspiration and I almost certainly will not be the last. But even with this outwardly focussed aspiration I find myself stopped by invisible roadblocks. Often ones that simply shouldn’t exist.
Our own minds hold us back. Imposter syndrome kicks in without us even realising. We think we hear it as a pragmatic voice but often it is actually fear. This causes us to give up at some things, even ones we really believe in and have aptitude for, because we believe we are not good enough to even try. This is a barrier put up by the society we live in, that there is a common path to follow which will lead us success, and one we can perpetuate with our thought patterns. Going to university is not the best choice for everyone. Working forty hours a week is not the best choice for everyone. There are alternatives in our current world. They have different barriers. Maybe we don’t fit in to any standard career pathways right now, maybe we earn less so have to be more careful about spending. These can often be scarier barriers because we’re forging a vastly different path to those around us. We might even find completey foreign barriers to overcome!
Being who we are does that.
I am a fortunate person. I live in a relatively safe country where expressing my beliefs is safe. I am a Christian, I follow Jesus, and my life is not in immediate danger by saying that. I am over six feet tall. This is useful in many situations; retrieving things from high shelves when shopping, having my head be visible above a crowd, and keeping me safe when walking by myself at night. I have positive memories of my education and home life from when I was younger. This means I dive into learning new things and I’m not afraid to make mistakes. It has been a process being comfortable making mistakes, and I’m still working on it, but I’m getting there. I also had the opportunity to choose what I wanted to do after I finished high school. Attend university, get a job, another trajectory? Some people don’t get that chance. Some people don’t even have the opportunity to finish school because they must start earning an income to survive. I have no personal knowledge of what that is like.
We all have obstacles between us and where we want to go. Sometimes it’s a matter of putting our head down, working hard, and we’ll work it out. Learning what we need to pass an exam for example. No one else is going to put that knowledge in our head for us. Sometimes we don’t need to overcome the obstacle at all, we can go around it. When I hit a mental block with writing I sometimes put a piece to the side and work on something else. I come back to it when I have more experience and the obstacle is no longer an obstacl, sometimes even years later. Playing sport against a team which performs one task better. Going toe-to-toe is playing to their strengths, maybe it’s about playing a completely different strategy they’re not expecting. Use our brain muscle.
Sometimes the obstacle needs to be completely removed from existence. Not just for us but for the entire world. If someone works hard and intelligently at something, who they are should be no barrier to their success. Experience is useful, but how will someone get that if no one gives them a chance to show what an amazing job they will do? Gender, age, where a person is from: none of these things should automatically afford anyone a better opportunity than anyone else. There are some things which a certain person will suit better, but hard work and results should speak for themselves without any second guessing.
I speak from a position of privilege with limited knowledge of what struggle in the working world is like. Ive been without a job and had to apply for plenty before getting one, but I was able to do that and feel I had a reasonable chance of being considered for most of them. I have my own struggles with depression and thinking I am not good enough. We all have our own struggles. Help others by lifting them up and encouraging them to work hard. If we do that we can provide each other the tools to overcome any obstacle in our path. Whether that’s working towards becoming self employed, or improving how well we flip a pancake.
Barriers are to be broken. Forge your path, and leave helpful markers for others so they can decide if it’s the right way for them to go.
What are some barriers in your life at the moment? How are you planning to overcome them to get where you want to go?
Keep on keeping on being awesome. Peace.