by Lori Milner: author, entrepreneur, thought leader and founder of Beyond the Dress
I was listening to an interview with Essentialism author, Greg McKeon. He shared an interesting story of how he was in a fancy dress shop looking for a Halloween costume recently. He tried on a Star Wars Storm Trooper outfit and when he was looking in the mirror he remembered a significant childhood memory of him and his older brother as kids. His brother told him ‘You know you have really made it when you can buy your own Storm Trooper outfit’ (he was an avid Star Wars fan). Greg realized that the only reason he had this outfit on was because of the subconscious meaning behind it. But more interestingly, he recognized he didn’t want this outfit. It meant nothing to him, the only reason he had it on was because of his brother.
He went on to ask the question to his listeners – what is your storm trooper equivalent? In other words, are there goals in your life that you are pursuing for someone else and not for you? Or are you chasing an old goal that perhaps once excited you but now doesn’t resonate as much. As our life stages change, so do our values and this makes a huge influence on our priorities. There is a phenomena psychologist’s call “sunk-cost bias.” It’s our tendency to continue investing in a losing proposition because of what it’s already cost us. Needless to say, we can all fall prey to sunk-cost bias because we’re all innately loss averse and, let’s be honest, who wants to take a loss or admit they wasted money, energy or years of their life that could have been better spent?
Biting the bullet and acknowledging that our choice to invest in something (or someone) that is no longer serving us is difficult; sometimes agonizingly so. It’s why people stay in careers they loathe and relationships that leave them lonely. Its why ‘smart’ people stick with blindingly obvious bad investments for far too long, clinging on with blind optimism.
Just because you have invested time and energy into a goal that no longer serves you takes tremendous courage to recognize it now drains you. So again, ask yourself ‘Is it a Storm Trooper?’ and if so, give yourself permission to walk away and focus on the goals and projects that energize you and keep the momentum for you to continue on the path to the best version of yourself.
Here’s to owning your goals,
LORI MILNER is the engaging facilitator, thought leader and mentor known for her insightful approach to being a modern corporate woman. Her brainchild, the successful initiative Beyond the Dress, is the embodiment of her passion to empower women. Beyond the Dress has worked with South Africa’s leading corporates and empowered hundreds of women with valuable insight on how to bridge the gap between work and personal life. Clients include Siemens, Massmart, Alexander Forbes, Life Healthcare Group, RMB Private Bank and Unilever to name a few. Lori has co-authored Own Your Space: The Toolkit for the Working Woman in conjunction with Nadia Bilchik, CNN Editorial Producer. Own Your Space provides practical tools and insights gleaned from workshops held around the world and from interviews with some of South Africa’s most accomplished women to provide you with tried-and-tested techniques, tips and advice to help you boost your career, enhance your confidence and truly own your space on every level. Own Your Space is the ultimate ‘toolkit’ to unleash your true power. It’s for the woman who wants to take her career to new heights and who is ready to fulfil her true potential.
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