That's not me.
And the more I try to keep up with them,
the more I lose myself.
I’m fiercely introverted. This doesn’t mean I’m shy, it means my energy is gathered and expended in a different way, namely quiet. And trying to keep up in the loud, fast world of extroverted hustlers is like trying to swim upstream in a suit of armor. It doesn't work, it is way too heavy, and it’s exhausting. The longer I stay out there – using the same bar to measure success out of shame or obligation – the faster I burn out from trying to be something I’m not and denying what I really need.
Who am I? I’m a cultivator. One who nurtures growth by quietly maintaining simple needs, usually unseen, buried in the roots. One who establishes and keeps a refuge, fostering an atmosphere of peace and organization. I'm an excellent number two, the asset a hustler needs in their corner to handle the details so they can keep hustling (probably why I find myself naturally surrounded by so many of them). Being in a position of support is not only a place I enjoy, I’m very good at it.
But the world rarely acknowledges the validity of those of us behind the scenes, who find beauty and satisfaction from the quieter things in life. My social media feed is filled with judgmental, belittling quotes like "If you don't build your dreams, someone will hire you to build theirs" and "Have goals so big you get uncomfortable telling small-minded people". Even I'm guilty of it. Not long ago, I posted one of these graphics myself. "If your dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough." I had just taken a job that terrified me, and I was trying to encourage myself not to be intimidated. But now I'm starting to see the hidden nuances in that statement. That what I thought was just intimidation might have had an element of intuition of trying to shove a square peg into a round hole. And it's taken me a really long time to realize something incredibly important:
Sometimes dreams are quiet.
Sometimes goals aren't huge.
Sometimes a person's sincere desire is simplicity.
This is not to say we need to scale down our dreams. If a huge, difficult, messy dream burns in you, by all means, shoot for the stars. But if the dream you have is a simpler one, it's still valid. You don't need to adjust your goals because they seem smaller compared to someone else. There is absolutely nothing wrong with choosing a quiet life if you’re doing it from a healthy, authentic place.
Nor does this mean we get permission to give up, to stop growing out of fear of leaving our comfort zones. But it is imperative to recognize when we're being pressured to achieve someone else's idea of success. If I were to take the loud advice to spend my days hustling harder and harder without rest, I would resent every dollar I had in the bank. I would be living someone else's dream, not mine.
Our ultimate goal shouldn’t be the most or the best; it should be peace and authenticity. If hustling is where you belong, you’ll know it. If it’s not, you’ll know that, too. We all have different strengths and weaknesses, because we’re meant to work together. To need each other. So if you find more satisfaction from a well-kept home or a meaningful conversation than you do from a business handshake or negotiation, you are not weak or small-minded. You are not a failure; you’re right where you belong. Though your skills may seem understated by comparison, they are vital. The world needs both sides of the coin.
Dreams don’t have to be loud to be dreams. Actions don’t have to be explosive or expensive to matter. We have just as much permission to live our quiet callings as others have to live their loud ones. Don’t listen to the pressure and the judgment; just be you. You are needed in the place you are the most authentic and at peace, and no one can fill that place but you.