Emerson quote

I have a saying.

And it goes a little something like this…

“Don’t should on yourself.”

(all my private clients are nodding their heads right now having heard me utter these words before :)).

OK so…I’ll explain.

How often do you do things because you feel like you should?

You know – those things that you don’t really want to do, but you end up doing them anyway out of some kind of obligation.

Those are the things that hurt us the most deeply are they not?

Those are the decisions that we almost always end up regretting later on down the track.


Because whenever we do something because we should, we are in some way selling our soul down the river.

We’re not being true to who we really are.

Because if we were, then we wouldn’t be doing those things.

What does should even mean?

Let’s think about what that little word even means.

Well, it implies that we have no choice.

And when we feel like we have no choice, we’re powerless.

We’re like superheroes without superpowers.

Nobody wants THAT do they?

When we talk about things that we should have already done, we imply that we are at fault.

We make ourselves wrong.

Worse still, we blame ourselves for things that can’t be undone.

It’s a Loaded. Little. Word.

And one that I ban from my own vocabulary (or try to at least).

My biggest problem with the word should…

But my biggest problem with the word should is this:

It robs us of our authenticity.

You know how many people I speak to, who went down a certain career path because they felt like they should?

How many people I meet who committed to a life that doesn’t fulfill them because they felt like they ‘should’ take the sensible route?

How many people who miss out on having SO MUCH FUN in life because they feel like they should be towing the line?

If you ask me, should is a bad word.

And yet, onwards we march….forever influenced by what the world thinks we should be doing.

Ralph Waldo Emerson got it right when he said this:

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

So true.

All our lives, we are constantly sparring the battle between what the world tells us we should be doing, versus what we truly want to do.

And it’s this quest for authenticity that ultimately brings us back to ourselves.

I see this all the time when I run personal values workshops.

The realization that ”actually I never wanted this.” Or “ OH that’s why I’m unhappy!”

We confuse what WE want, with what we’re told we SHOULD want.

And Emerson was right.

If we can get ONE. SINGLE. THING. right – it’s to be ourselves.

That’s it.

Nothing too grandiose about that is there?

Just be ourselves.

Easier said than done though.

And virtually impossible when we have no idea who we really are.

Which is why I ALWAYS, always, always get my private clients to figure out their personal values before anything else.

Because how can you figure out what you want in life if you don’t even know who you are or what matters to you.


It really is the key to successful living.

So let me ask you a question – how authentic does your current life allow you to be?

Right now, how easy is it to be 100% YOU in everything that you do (work, home, relationship?)

I’d love to know in the comments below.

Something to think about right…?

To a more AUTHENTIC, successful life!

With love

Zoë B

PS: Want to know more about personal values? Learn all about them in this post I wrote a while back.

PPS: I also wrote this post that gives you some hints for finding your own values…



PS ~ Sick of working just to pay the bills? Get my most popular, FREE online training here: My 3 Step process To Find A More Meaningful Career.

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