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Give Me the Manual

How does it work? What is the order of operations? What should I prioritize? When should I take a step back and relax? When do I need to press in for just a moment longer? Who else should I involve?

Where is the manual for life?!

I am so often faced with fear and anxiety around not knowing exactly what I should do. I want clear, dependable instructions. I can carry them out and come back for the next set. Is that too much to ask?

In the absence of a manual, I collect information on other’s successes. How did they do it? How did they approach it? What did they prioritize?

I read books, listen to podcasts, have conversations, all looking at the external factors at play. She set clear goals and angled herself to carry them out. He didn’t let other people sway his decisions.

So, should I set a clear goal and then ignore everyone else’s thoughts? Does that guarantee me success?

For much of my life, I tried to be who I thought other people wanted me to be. I came to a realization along the way that compliments actually felt like baggage to me. If someone said, “You’re so wise,” I took it as a statement of expectation. Instead of receiving it as a statement of what was already in me, I felt like I always had to have something wise to say, or I would be letting them down.

One of my favorite quotes is Oscar Wilde’s “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

But who am I?

How do people know which way to go? What decision to make?

I don’t have all the answers, but as I grow, I am realizing that I have been looking at external metrics in an effort to copy them for guaranteed success.

Guaranteed success is an oxymoron. There is no such thing.

That is the golden nugget for me!

We are all just doing our best with what we know and who we are at any given moment.

I make the best decision I can, as me, today. Three years from now, it won’t be fair to judge that choice based on the information I will have gathered over those three years.

I am becoming more myself every day. The more I know about what matters to me, the more I can make decisions based on that information. The more I understand about how I feel about the world around me, the more I can make decisions about what to do or not do in response to that world.

No one else knows more about what I should do than me. I don’t know more about what they should do than them.

Rather than looking at other people’s choices in an effort to hack some made-up system so I get to win just like they did, I need to look inside at my internal operating system.

What is old and worn out? What needs updating? What is so covered in cobwebs I can’t even read the label? What connections are so close to being made, they just need a loving nudge?

Perhaps, I was given the manual.

Perhaps, I am the manual.

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