Joanne and I have a tradition of watching the 1994 movie Little Women while we put up our Christmas tree and decorations. Jo (Winona Ryder), the main character, is a creative, energetic young woman who is finding it difficult to do the normal things in that town and culture. Fortunately, she has an insightful and understanding mother (Susan Sarandon).
After having just rejected a marriage proposal from her long time boyfriend, Jo verbalizes her exasperation with herself. “There is something wrong with me. I’ll never fit in anywhere.” To which her mother gently replies, “You have so many extraordinary gifts. How could you expect to lead an ordinary life?….
I love those words of wisdom. What a blessing to have a mother with that kind of insight, a mother who validates her daughter’s uniqueness rather than squashing it. Do you have someone in your life who encourages your unique gifts? Someone who knows you’ll never live an “ordinary life?” Or are you still experiencing pressure to do what is “practical and realistic?” Do you find if difficult to “fit in?” If so, maybe you just need to stop expecting to lead an ordinary life.
I grew up on a farm in Ohio, just outside a little town that to this day does not have a traffic light. The expectation was that I would do the normal thing – marry a local girl and continue farming. But I could “see” more than milking cows and throwing hay bales. As a little boy I envisioned being other places and doing “work” that rewarded thinking and writing rather than just raw physical effort. Fortunately I found books that supported my dreams and visions and I found a way to not be normal.
“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he had imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” — Henry David Thoreau
In the movie, Jo’s mother continued with “Go embrace your liberty and see what wonderful things come of it.” Maybe your destiny is not to accept an “ordinary life,” with ordinary success, income and sense of fulfillment. Perhaps your path is to explore, create, embrace and follow the road less traveled and live a truly extraordinary life.
Do you find it difficult to fit in? Can you identify your extraordinary gifts that make it challenging to be normal?
PS. Today is the first official opening for registration for our Innovate conference in March – this event focuses specifically on the “Creatives” who may not fit into a traditional mold. I’d love to meet you there! Learn more about Innovate here