When you start to say what you actually think, stand for what you actually believe in, and do the things that are truest expressions of your heart, you’re going to start putting people off.
Bending and merging yourself with the norms of our culture ensures that you will fit in and feel safe.
Standing for what you believe in and being who you really are ensures that you will stand out and feel lonely (not all the time, but definitely some of the time).
We all long to fit in. It’s simply part of the deal with being human.
But when we let our longing to fit in silence us and keep us small, that’s where we run into trouble.
Abraham says it best:
It’s never crowded on the leading edge.
The leading edge is where cultural changes happen, where revolutions are ignited, and where deeply needed change takes seed.
And when you are on the leading edge, you will feel lonely sometimes. It will be harder for you to make small talk at cocktail parties. You might find yourself not knowing what to say to the other moms at the soccer game. You will feel like a weirdo.
The key is to know this up front. Let this note be your inoculation. When you do things differently than other people you are part of the solution that our world needs right now. Because we can’t change doing the same things we’ve always done.
Doing things differently ensures that you’ll be part of the minority. And not fitting in as well as you used to when you were more willing to stick with the party line.
The gift in it all is that you fit in with fewer people, but when you find the people you do fit in with, your bond is unbreakable. You feel belonging in a way you’ve never felt before. It’s called tribe, and it feels the way family should and could but doesn’t always. It’s your chosen family, your soul family, the people you’ve found because you’ve all been willing to put your asses on the line for what you believe in, and it turns out you believe in the same thing. So there you are now, together, putting your asses on the line.
Over time, it becomes less scary to feel the kind of alone you feel when you do the things you feel most compelled to do. And, paradoxically, you’ll eventually feel less lonely because the more you do the work your soul calls you to do, the more you connect with others doing the same thing.
When you first step out on that precarious limb, though, remember what I told you: you’re going to feel alone and it’s a good thing. It’s a sign that you’re on the right track.
Your lizard brain will freak out and tell you that you’re not safe and that you must get off that limb and back to solid ground.
But you must not get off the limb. Stuff gets done out on a limb.
You’ll feel lonely at first. It won’t feel good. I’m just telling you so you know.
And then you’ll remember that lonely is a sign that you’re on the leading edge, that the leading edge is where the best stuff happens, and that if you stay there long enough, you’ll find your people.
So say the thing you need to say. Stand for what you need to stand for. Do the thing you need to do. Step out on the limb. I promise you’ll feel lonely, and I promise that it’s a good thing.
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What leading edge do you find yourself on? What limb are you out on? I’d love to hear about the ways you’re willing to stand up, speak out, and hang out while feeling a little bit lonely and scared in the comments!