By JUINN TAN
When I took up the task of writing this article, I thought it would be a piece of cake. I’ve always seen myself as someone who tries to defy the stereotypes that have been built around me, especially as a woman.
But, as I sat down and got started, I realised that all the methods I’ve picked up over the years to combat my very own self-limiting beliefs were not because I saw myself as a woman, but because I saw myself as simply someone who wants to be better every day. So, if you’re reading this and you’re not a woman, you may find this beneficial too.
Never expect to be treated differently
One of the earliest lessons my parents taught me was to go into any situation with zero expectations. It’s not a pessimistic view on life, but rather adopting an “always-ready” attitude towards everything you’re about to face.
Therefore, I believe that the first step to getting rid of your self-limiting beliefs is to stop expecting to receive any sort of special treatment, regardless of your gender.
I was brought up on the principle that your thoughts shape the world around you. So, if you go around thinking that you should be spoken to or treated differently just because of the cards you’ve been dealt, then boy, are you in for a lot of frustration and disappointment.
I never want friends, family or strangers to treat me “like a woman”. I want them to treat me like a human being. In fact, one of my favourite quotes from the movie Fight Club – “You are not special. You not are a beautiful and unique snowflake” – may seem to paint a bleak picture of the world, but it has kept me grounded in more ways that I can count.
Of course, this way of thinking didn’t just happen overnight for me. It took a lot of practice and resilience because some people naturally resist something that goes against their stereotypical views of the world. And the only way to handle this is to:
Get knocked down over and over again
I know risk-taking people who would barely stop to think twice before jumping into the unknown. I’m not one of those people. I take calculated risks and sometimes I may even get a bit too cautious.
But even being careful has ended up with me being hurt mentally, emotionally or physically. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t get any less painful. You just learn to handle it better.
I’ve never been afraid to cry – crying doesn’t make you weak. In fact, my elder siblings used to call me the “crybaby” of the family. What makes you weak is being too afraid to get back into the ring and fight your way to the end.
Sometimes you’ll narrowly dodge a punch to the face, sometimes you’ll block it and escape with just a small bruise. Other times, you’ll get a chance to hit back.
My point is, you will never know what you can or can’t handle until you get knocked down at least once in your lifetime. And when you get up, gather your senses and realise that you’re still standing, you need to charge on ahead.
At the risk of sounding like a Tumblr post, you need to seize every chance you get to grow into a stronger version of yourself, no matter how ugly it may be. I believe that this applies to every person, man or a woman.
In fact, I don’t know when women started being referred to as the “weaker sex” because I personally know and admire plenty of women who are exactly the opposite. Which brings me to my next point.
Surround yourself with the right people
I’m a firm believer that you are shaped by the people around you. Two years ago, I was stuck in a job that gave me no sense of pride in what I was doing every day. Worse still, I wasn’t driven to do anything about it for a long time.
Then one day, I decided to reflect on my own feelings and I realised that I was surrounded by people who did not move me in any way. So, I gave myself until the end of 2015 to start looking for a new opportunity and by mid-2016, found myself in the company that I am in now – Supahands.
I remember coming home after my first week at Supahands and gushing to my now-husband about how energising it was to be with like-minded people who were all passionate about what they were doing.
It was the first time I felt so driven to achieve something in my career and it was my new colleagues who made it happen. More specifically, I was in awe of my female colleagues, even those younger than myself.
I had never been around women who were so career-driven before and I wanted to learn more about them. I never used to bother taking the time to be with colleagues in my previous jobs, but for the people at Supahands, I was even swapping my precious time at the gym for a few more extra hours at work. If you know me or have read my previous article, you know that doing that is a huge deal for me.
I no longer wake up every day dreading work, and this is a feeling that I never thought was possible. Suddenly I believed in the things that I could achieve as a person. So, I’d like to think that the team I have been blessed with here is proof that the right people can do incredible things for one’s confidence and motivation.
There’s a huge responsibility in writing an article that offers advice to others. You want to make sure that whatever you have to give is something that is beneficial to readers and helps them take a step in the right direction.
Therefore, at the age of 28, I am reluctant to call myself the best person to offer advice in any field. I know I’m young, but I have been through some very eye-opening experiences and what you’ve read in this article is just a small part of what I have slowly (and sometimes painfully) learnt so far as a child, daughter, friend, wife and manager.
I’m sure the lessons won’t stop coming and all it takes is just that extra push to reap all their benefits.
Juinn is a Digital Marketing Manager at Supahands by day, weightlifter at The Vanguard by night, and a full-time geek who loves video games, pugs and nasi lemak. To get in touch with her, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org