“What do you do for a living?”
“Where did you go to school”?
“How old are you?
“Where are you from?”
These are questions that we often ask others upon meeting them for the first time or that are being asked to us.
These interactions are not meant to hurt others or ill-intentioned in any way. It is simply the small talk that is automatic, unconscious and relatively risk-free. It feels safe, standard and easy.
But I want us to ask ourselves this: is this contributing to an evolving consciousness, one with the bigger picture in mind instead of the narrower idea of what “success” is supposed to be or look like?
No. It creates limiting believes in that, our age, where we come from, our education, if any, and what we “do” for a living defines our personal success, and whether “success” is over for us because we’ve passed a certain age, or that we are a failure because we didn’t go to higher education.
But is that entirely fair or remotely true?
When I took a year off from my career, I became lost. I fell into a despair of hopelessness and deep insecurity. Who was I apart from my job, my weekly “hustle and bustle,” my social life and my education? Who was Claire? Who was she??
I did not know.
Because I had defined my entire self around “what I did” instead of “who I was” on the inside.
Imagine in one day losing your job, your apartment and your city? Who are you without these? Who are you when you’re at your most vulnerable and exposed self? You can’t hide anymore, can you? Your true colours come up, your insecurities need to be faced head on. Your understanding of the self is put to a test because you realize that you don’t really know yourself on that deep intimate level.
What if we changed up the conversation? What if we opened up a dialogue that is devoid of work titles, age, gender even and education? What if we took the time to really see ourselves and others for who we/they are?
Now that we are on the more conscious side of this conversation, we could start with “What brings you joy? What are you passionate about? What are your most cherished memories? What are your greatest fears?”.
When we reshape the dialogue, slowly, we re-define success for others, and for ourselves.
As a result? We become more in tune with ourselves and we start connecting with others on a more authentic level. That, to itself, is success to me.