So I was looking at my friend’s Facebook pictures and started looking up the Linkedin profiles of some of her friends in a particular picture. And yes, I know that looking at people’s Linkedin profiles will only make me depressed but I did it anyway just out of curiosity. As a side note, my friend is a long distance runner so everybody in the picture was a part of her running club. So they are all highly accomplished athletes and uber educated, hold impressive jobs, married, superior children– superwomen who all seem to have their shit together. Achievements aside, I am obsessed with the attitudes of these so-called alpha females: I don’t sense that they ever thought they could/would fail whereas that is the stew in which I marinate everyday. From what I remember of some of them (I have met some), they are able to set and meet goals with the swift and emotionless ability of a ninja.
Now, I know that life isn’t easy for anyone. Everyone has their personal struggles and every job and opportunity listed on their profile could have gone either way (50% they landed a role, 50% they missed out on it). But looking at the people’s profiles on LinkedIn, I was just really consumed at thinking about how much success seems to come so easily to some people. Or if not easily, then the fact that they are able to be so successful whereas I feel like I’m a blob. Wait, not just a blob, an envious blob. The people who go to Stanford for college and then Harvard for business school (or some similar variation) and land great jobs– something about the progression seems so effortless even if they had to fight every step of the way. I think I’m underestimating myself these days and overestimating other people and their accomplishments so I know that this whole post is probably silly but it’s also my personal diary and I feel the need to blather a bit.
Right after I graduated from college, I felt pretty lost. I forget how this was arranged but I ended up meeting up with my high school college counselor for a coffee and a chat. Now, Ms. H, as I’ll call her, cracks me up. She’s one of those women that marches to the beat of her own drummer. She was our college counselor and then she left to get her PhD and then worked at a college and then went back to the high school. Nothing gets her worked up and she kind of does whatever she feels like doing and never overthinks anything or thinks twice about her choices. When I told her I felt bad that I had gone through all of college not knowing “my path” and that I was now a college graduate without a sense as to what I should be pursuing in my life, her response was, “That’s normal.” And then when I said that I was jealous of people who knew, from their childhood, that they were meant to be a doctor or a lawyer or what-have-you and studied vigilantly, got good grades, went immediately to grad school and were well on their way to an excellent existence, her response was, “The only reason a person would know what they want to do with their life so early on is because their parents told them what they should be.”
So I wonder if that’s part of it. Growing up, I knew I should work hard and do well. But I never really had that laser sharp focus on one profession or that, I dunno, aggressiveness(?) to push towards that thing. I don’t know if I lack confidence or if I’m unfocused or if I just didn’t have my parents pushing me towards a particular goal. I bring up the parents part b/c it does seem like a lot of people who come from a long line of lawyers or doctors or politicians naturally go into that field– whether it’s b/c they grow up hearing about that profession and then decide to pursue it or what it may be. And even if it’s not going into that particular field, I do think that having parents that are in impressive positions offer their children insight or somehow imbue their children with the sense that they too will be successful. For example, I am in awe of Reese Witherspoon– she, to me, is the ultimate alpha female. She is so smart and she went to Stanford and has a production company and just generally seems like a woman who has always had the confidence to go forward and pursue her dreams even in the face of challenges (one challenge being her dud of a first husband, Ryan Phillippe). I remember thinking that the fact that her parents are both doctors (I think her mom is a professor) had to have been a part of the equation for giving her the self confidence and direction to so ruthlessly follow her dreams.
I have a picture of Ann Curry and Savannah Guthries posted b/c I feel like I am the Ann Curry of the world, always kind of bested or sidelined by the Savannah Guthries who burst out and are so instantly beloved. When I think about Curry and how she described her time at the tv program, she talks about working hard and doing a good job, taking small steps and being patient for the anchor role, what she described as her dream job. There was something deep but patient but also passive about how she seemed to manage her career. And then you have Savannah Guthries who is a bubbly star– she just oozed charisma and has a much more natural television demeanor, cracking jokes and being witty. This isn’t to demean the work and accomplishments of either of them, but I feel like this is what I am in awe about. That there is a certain je ne sais quoi about some people that allows them to be successful and it’s not totally smarts or hard work exclusively, but that elusive drive or personality or other intangible that I think that I lack and that I wish I possessed. I’m not an alpha female (I think I come across as weak and insecure in person) but I am totally jealous of that ability that some women have to know they are awesome and claim things that they know are theirs and that they can do.
People tell me that I need to be more self confident and to stay focused on myself and my goals. But it’s hard to wake up one morning and instantly follow these rules– even though I do know that these are things I should be exercising in my life. But I guess it’s the one thing that I do incredibly poorly– I get wrapped up in personal concerns and self conscious about things other people can’t see or know about me which inevitably leads to some level of self-sabotage. I need to pull a Guthrie and just get out there, and proclaim, “Yeah I’m awesome. Now I’m going to conquer the world.” And even if I’m not, I shouldn’t be the first one to point this out to others.
Ok, done rambling.