Every so often you get to meet some really awesome strangers on flights. I happen to meet one of these gems on a recent trip to visit my family. She had a story that reminded me that we don’t need permission from others to be whatever you want when you grow up.
As we were gearing up to take off I was doing my usual settling in— looking for my book, earplugs, travel pillow, and crochet. Essentially everything that I use to dive into my own inner world and be excused from small talk with other people. My energy can feel drained easily by low vibes or shallow interactions.
Then my neighbor walked up to the seat and with a genuine openhearted smile, looked me in the eyes and gave me a simple excited “Hi!”.
She was light, happy, and open. Something about her made me want to connect right away. I knew I wanted to stay present with her. It felt energizing and true in my body so I went with it and put down my book.
I have no desire usually for surface level conversations. If I’m going to lend an ear I’m not afraid to go deep. I like to test the limits of what’s socially acceptable to talk about. I like sharing lessons, values, and my deepest truth.
I found that as I expressed my own story and was vulnerable about the transition I was currently in, she felt more comfortable to do the same. We opened up and talked about love, heartbreak, career, art, dating, passion, and family. She shared with me that she had a daughter who was just a couple years younger than me. This woman was inspired by how I was living my life and wanted to share my story with her. Then she told me why.
Her daughter was an astounding baker and loved anything to do with food and cooking. She was passionate, and obsessed with the culinary world. It was her art. She always wanted to be a chef when she grew up.
A few years ago when she was graduating high school and applying to post secondary schools, she had a conversation with her school Principal that influenced her whole life.
He told her that “cooking isn’t a real job”.
He convinced her to go straight to University and take an environmental technology program because she should try to save the world and should actually make a difference.
Hearing this infuriated me!
I could tell this loving mother was also disappointed in this man’s advice and how it deflated her daughter’s dreams. She tried to convince her daughter that she could go to any school and follow whatever passion she wanted too, but the damage had already been done and her daughter had made the choice to buy into the belief that you can’t make a living through your passion and art. Even though it wasn’t her first pick, she decided to go the environmental route to make a “decent living” and to make other people happy.
I want to be clear and say I think it’s inspiring that there’s people out who want to save the world through environmental technology if that’s their deepest calling.
But if we only follow a certain path because we believe we “should” then we’re actually living from fear and not love. We are afraid to disappoint others and end up following societal expectations. We are afraid of failing to succeed at our own dream.
When we honour our hearts and do what we want we are saving the world in a different way. We bring more creativity, joy, and authenticity into the world. And guess what… genuinely happy people living from their heart and soul don’t want to fuck up the planet or be cruel. They bring a love and light with them whenever they go and create energetic ripples of healing and inspiration.
It’s only when we start living a lie and feel stuck in a life that doesn’t bring us joy that we stop giving a shit about others, our environment, and ourselves. We give up and start numbing our pain by abusing drugs, alcohol, food, emotionless sex, and Netflix & chill.
I’m going to share with you a pretty wild example of a person who has taken their art, beauty and dream and used it as a massive force for good in the world.
I was recently introduced to the work of Hannah Fraser. She wanted to be a mermaid when she grew up. And guess what… that’s exactly what she did (looks like my dreams of being a magical unicorn when I grow up aren’t that far out after all).
Yep. She’s a fucking PROFESSIONAL mermaid!
What a boss. How’s that for a real job?
She now uses the power of social media and her art to change international environmental laws and actively fights for ocean conservation.
This life didn’t just happen. She believed she could. She put in the time and commitment to make her dreams her reality, and she didn’t give up when people in her life told her that “being a mermaid isn’t a real job.”
My beautiful soul sister and film maker J’aime, shares a deeply inspiring interview with Hannah the Mermaid in this video. (Seriously…go watch it now! It’s less than 5 minutes of your time.). J’aime is another one of those authentic spirits shining her light and passion for her art wherever she goes.
I want to put a stop to this “can’t do that” nonsense being spread around by society. But I also don’t want to place blame. Whenever we are pointing the fingers at others we are allowing our ego to take over and play victim. We are refusing to look within and see our own responsibility in a situation. We are giving up our personal power.
Like any situation everyone is 100% responsible for their own actions and choices.
Step 1) It’s our responsibility to stop giving power to our own inner critic and let go of these beliefs that are holding us back. It’s possible to transform them into more empowering beliefs and to allow that voice of light and love to lead the way. It’s possible to surround ourselves with positive like-minded individuals who are our biggest cheerleaders (In the example above this is going back to the daughter’s responsibility).
Step 2) Secondly, we’ve got to stop telling people that their dreams are too big. We’ve got to start encouraging others, and recognize that when we tell someone they “can’t” do something, it says nothing about them and it’s actually how we feel about ourselves. We are projecting our beliefs of unworthiness onto others. If you’re finding yourself showing up in the world this way, go back to step one and take a good look at what you learned to believe about yourself and the world (this is some solid advice for the Principal in the above example.)
All the ships rise with the tide.
When we step into our greatness and help others step into theirs, everyone wins. We can collectively bring our planet back to love and harmony. Which feels like a much more empowering lens to view the world from.
And remember, you can be whatever you want and you don’t need permission from others to do so. You just need to believe in yourself.