An article by Anke Sommer
Social pressure to succeed as opposed to going your own way?
In our achievement-oriented society, there is a great longing for a (success) community and to live according to one’s own decisions. However, following your inner calling often seems to contradict the need to succeed in our achievement-oriented system. If we look at the current generation of school pupils, we can see that the main focus is still on their performance rather than their individuality and strengthening their various potentials.
So is it the family that’s responsible for this trans-generational conditioning – the same family that, alongside the existing system, is also responsible for giving an example of living out one’s individuality? Is it also the family that demonstrates to the next generation that the consequence of following your own innermost ability is fulfilment, and making your own life into something unique?
Let’s face it: this task is too big for the family alone. Regardless of what kind of family we come from, it also requires our own will as well as an awareness of our limited lifespan and the responsibility we are ready to take – for shaping our own lives and the success communities we form in order to live out our innermost profession successfully.
So far, reality has shown that the phenomenon of following one’s own will is handed over to at most a few successful actors, entrepreneurs with exotic ideas, the wealthy in society and a few people suffering from a mid-life crisis. In other words, it is pushed to the edge of society.
Why do we accept this for our unique lives?
Is it because we aren’t aware of our uniqueness? Do we lose sight of our limited lifespan? Have everyday pressures meant that we have lost the sense of life being a gift?
That would be a great shame, but it would also explain the increase of burnouts and dreariness in our affluent society.
Anyone who wants to develop and to enjoy a full life has the opportunity to be unique, but the decision must come from yourself. This decision also requires the awareness that life could be different; the awareness that someone else’s path to success doesn’t have to be yours, but that your success is designed to be absolutely individual and therefore will be implemented in a unique way.
Only when we gain this awareness are we in a position to question our life path so far in the areas where it hasn’t done us any good, or to consider what parts of our life path so far we could shape in a more individual and satisfying way. That is quite independent of issues such as whether we are employed, free-lance or work as an entrepreneur, etc. Individualisation can be pursued in any context, but both the desire for it and setting it in motion must come from ourselves.
Understanding the language of your own suffering
As a coach and consultant I meet fascinating, high-level, extremely complex personalities of high rank with management responsibility and well-known names. What they all have in common, regardless of their success, is the confrontation with their own boundaries and the appearance of the ‘suffering’ signal.
At the point where we can go no further, ‘suffering’ gets in the way. Translated, this suffering simply means, “Look what happens when you continue to do what you don’t want to do (i.e. things that aren’t good for you, either physically or mentally)”.
In future, translate every form of personal suffering as the statement, “I don’t want to go any further. I must change something here”.
And then you should change the thing you don’t want. You’ll be amazed how much ‘suffering’ disappears from your life.
Become the manager in your life – lead yourself
If you’ve read this article actively and with interest up to this point, then you’re already involved in the leadership process.
Institut Sommer organises a two-year series of events to help you master internal and external processes, with additional modules for certification as a specialist coach. If you are interested and have more questions, please get in touch.
I wish you every success in shaping your unique life.