I saw this article the other day on the front page of news.com.au (one of Australia's most popular news websites) - it was the attention grabbing headline caught my eye + prompted me to click on it.
It was basically implying that if you haven't got your career + life together by the age of 30 then you're headed straight for danger zone.
Reading it made me really angry because this narrow-minded thinking is a complete load of garbage + the reason why I rarely read mainstream media anymore.
The media does a very good job of projecting a certain kind of life model that society expects from us as being the 'right one' for people to live their life by and its a very easy trap to get sucked into - I've made this mistake myself. Scare tactics are used to instil a sense of fear, like suggesting that if you haven't 'got your life together by 30' then you're on the road to failure and your life is set to be a giant car crash.
But really, when you think about it, whose model of success is this? And what makes them an authority on it being the 'right way'?
3 years ago, I would have been a mess after reading this article - it would have set me off in huge panic that I was running out of time and that I only had limited window of time left to get my life together so I could make sure I was on the 'right path'.
And guess what?
Upholding this version of success led me to making fear-based decisions that weren't really aligned with who I was or what I truly wanted. I thought I was a failure because I was playing by the rules and doing all the right things and yet I was so unhappy and couldn't understand why.
I am not suggesting there is anything wrong with this life path, quite the opposite - for some people, this is what they're hopes and dreams are made of. But for people whose dreams look very different and are not aligned with this model, its very easy to feel as though you're doing the wrong thing. That's when the feelings of self-doubt creep in and you start feeling guilty, thinking that you really should be happy, because you're doing things the 'right way'.
Want to know the truth?
There is no 'right age' for getting it together and there is no 'right path' for everyone. It's up to each of us to choose how we live our life and falling into the trap of believing there is only one pathway to success will take you on an all expenses paid, first class trip to Unhappy Town.
Here are 3 ways you can avoid falling into this trap and start living life on your own terms...
1. Be who you are, not who the world wants you to be.
You are here for a reason, you have very special gift and talents that are unique to you. Spend time exploring what these are and discover what makes you, you.
There are always going to be people who try to project their image of who they think you should be, but have the courage to not buy into that and instead focus on doing what makes you happy.
Trust in you and believe in you. You are capable of amazing things and the world is waiting for you to shine like only you can.
2. Define what success looks like to you.
Success needn't be related to career milestones on the corporate ladder, money or home ownership - it can be whatever you want it to be. Perhaps it means working for yourself or travelling to India to work on an aid project. Choose your own success barometer and then start working out a plan for how you can achieve this.
3. Know that it's never too late to follow your dreams.
Despite what some people may try and tell you, it is never too late to change your course and start over to follow your dreams. Every day is a new opportunity for you to start fresh and carve out the life you've been dreaming about.
It takes a whole lot of strength and courage to be first honest with yourself about what you truly want but then being able to take the first step and say 'hey, I'm going for this, I can do this'.
Age doesn't matter, life stage doesn't matter - what matters is that you're following your heart and being true to you. Once you commit to taking the first step and trust in the process, that is when the magic will start to unfold.
I'd love to know what your thoughts are on living your life on your own terms - what's your best piece of advice for doing things your own way?