Dr. Wall Says

Speak up, listen up, bridge the gap

What’s right for others may not be right for you!

fcade2_aecfb21c8d2a404fb319ae32cbf9e882.jpeg_srb_p_259_194_75_22_0.50_1.20_0 What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas! Well not this week. I want to share an insight I had during our last trip to sin city.  But before you get too excited… It is far less glamorous than it sounds.

Our house was being treated for termites, so we packed-up the kids and headed out to see my in-laws. Despite the under-age companions, we still managed a few nights at the casino, where I was able to engage in one of my all time favorite activities, people watching. Now, next time you are in Vegas or at any wannabe hip night venue pay attention to this – everybody looks the same! It is especially noticeable among women between the ages of 21 and 35; it’s like they are carbon copies of a single model. It is the most concrete manifestation of defining yourself through the values of others. Why do I care? I don’t per se; this version of it, doesn’t bother me! I do, however, care about it a great deal when it is expressed at a deeper core level.

Blame it on your parents!

I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about personal satisfaction, yours and mine. One aspect of fulfillment that I focus on more than others is defining personal values and needs. I have learned that without a good definition of these things it is very difficult, if not painfully impossible to thrive. To this end, one of the first things I do in coaching is create a working definition of each client’s needs and values. It’s a fun exercise, one that both exciting and challenging.

I have learned a great deal doing this, but one thing in particular that stands out is the way people get caught up defining what they want based on what other’s have or want for themselves. It starts early really, with our parents, whose values and desires for us shape what we want for ourselves. That part is “normal” in so far as we need a model to guide us and help us learn how to understand and appreciate our needs. Ideally, however, by early adulthood, one has a better sense of who they are, and can start creating their very own, mostly independent, set of values and needs. The problem is that many of us continue to look to others to define ourselves.

 [bctt tweet=” If you are trying to live your life according to what someone else wants you stand little chance of feeling fulfilled”]

Check the tabloids!


 Just take a look at the tabloids if you don’t believe me! We are obsessed with what others want and have, and if that isn’t enough, we are continually told that we would be happier if only we had what they have. No wonder people get confused between their needs and the needs of others. The problem, of course, is that if you are trying to live your life according to what someone else wants you stand little chance of feeling fulfilled. You don’t need me to go into a big analysis of this, you know, you understand that this is true. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop you from experiencing that kind of confusion; which means, that at times you are wasting your efforts and energy trying to pursue someone else’s dream.

It’s all coming together:

This is just another reason why people experience the kind of disconnect that leaves them feeling overbooked and underwhelmed. It’s no different than thinking that owning the right stuff will make you happy, or that the key to fulfillment lies not within you, but requires reinventing yourself. It’s about not having the right directions to get where you need to go. Having the latest car might be fun, but that alone won’t get you to your destination.   Randomly driving around and hoping you make a right turn won’t necessarily get you there either, although you might get lucky. And getting the directions to where someone else wants to go won’t get you to the right destination, unless you are lucky enough to find a person who is heading the same place as you. You have to know where you want to go, you have to figure out the best routes for you, and then you have to actually make the trip.

“[…] you are wasting your efforts and energy trying to pursue someone else’s dream.”

Final words from another expert:

Several years ago I read the Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin on the recommendation of a friend. I really enjoyed the book and can see why there are happiness project clubs popping up all around the country. I initially thought I might be interested in join one, but later realized it really wasn’t what I needed. It was, however, part of the inspirations for my very first iteration of the Focus Map. I wanted to share one or Gretchen’s Secrets of Adulthood with you: “What’s fun for other people may not be fun for you – and vice versa.”  Now, I would like to change that just a bit and have you ponder it this week:

What’s right for other people may not be right for you! click to tweet

What do you think? Do you have the right directions to where you want to go? Are you headed to someone else’s destination instead of your own? Share your thoughts right here in the comment section of this post or go to Twitter or Facebook !

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Hi! I'm Dr. Alessandra Wall

I help smart driven women and forward-thinking companies bridge the gap & build real conversations.

Here on the ‘Dr. Wall Says’, I share tools, tips, and insights about speaking up, getting heard and how women can take up space and thrive in the 21st century.



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