I've never really thought of myself as a rebel. In fact, most of my life I have been pretty content to be a rule follower.
Then yesterday a friend of mine sent me a link to a podcast episode that challenged this view and gave me the courage to try something that feels totally overwhelming and terrifying (that's how I know I'm on the right track!).
It shifted the definition of rebel for me. In the interview, they identified a rebel as someone that is always looking for new ways to do things, asking themselves "why not" and as someone that is in a constant state of learning. And I suddenly thought to myself...maybe I'm a rebel...just a reluctant one.
When I look back at my life, the moments where I chose the unconventional or rebelious path felt the most authentic, the most joyful and often the most in alignment with who I want to become.
It is true that I grew up as a rule follower. My mom was a firm believer in following ALL the rules (well with the exception of sneaking candy into the movie theater because let's face it the prices they charge are ridiculous!) But I also always looked for new ways to do things.
When I look back I think my inner rebel was encouraged to flourish in the 4th grade. At the time I was in a class where we were given lots of problem solving challenges.
One day our task was to move balloons from one side of the classroom to the other using only what our teacher had given us in an envelope. I don't remember everything that was in the envelope, but I do remember THE pencil.
In the envelope was a fancy pencil that I thought was really cool. I also thought it would work great as a set of "chop sticks" to pick up the balloons, so I quickly broke it in half. My method worked well, and my team won the challenge.
But I don't think my teacher ever intended for me to break her pencil (In fact it turns out that it was one of her favorites...sorry Mrs. Adkins!), but rather than critique this approach she praised me for thinking outside of the box and my inner rebel flourished.
But I'm not a natural rebel. I like rules. They make my life orderly and easy to navigate. It's probably part of why I joined the military, but at the same time I have chosen some pretty unconventional paths in my life.
When everyone else was buying bigger houses with fancier things I was selling 85% of what I owned and moving into a 234 square foot tiny house. As most of my friends looked at how to create stability in their work life, I was quitting my full-time secure job and launching my own business. And as I turned 40 I decided to tackle the toughest physical challenge I've ever undertaken by singing up for a half-ironman (I'll keep you posted on how that goes!). None of these decisions really make sense on the surface.
And yet when I have followed my own heart and passions rather than following the "normal" path, I feel alive and whole. I feel authentic, stretched and complete.
It's not that I think we should be rebels that throw out all the rules just because we want to be rebels, but I am learning to be a "reluctant rebel."
To me being a reluctant rebel means working towards living boldly.
It means making choices that might not make sense to those around you, but that are in alignment with your deepest passions and desires.
Being a reluctant rebel means ignoring the little voice inside that tells you "I'm not enough."
It means stepping into your gifts and talents in a way only you can do.
It means sharing my message with other women because I believe they are amazing, powerful and influential.
It means trying new things even when they feel scary or overwhelming.
Reluctant rebels aren't those breaking the rules simply to be disruptive, but instead are asking themselves the question, "why not?!?
If you've ever had a "crazy" idea that popped into your head that made you feel whole, excited and terrified all at the same time then you might be a reluctant rebel in the making.
Ask yourself, why not? Why shouldn't you tackle that athletic endeavor you've always dreamed about? Why shouldn't you start your own business on the side to give you a sense of completeness and excitement? Why shouldn't you launch that non-profit that you believe can make a difference in the world? Why shouldn't you take a few months off of work and travel the world? Why shouldn't you....
As I continue to build this business, I am feeling a shift. A call to encourage women to embrace their inner rebel, love their story and share their gifts and talents with the world. I would love it if you joined me.
I'd love to hear your "crazy" idea....
Add your comment below.....
IF only______________________ Then I would ___________________