Stop Ignoring Your Rebellious Streak. One Surprising Reason Why You’re Feeling Depleted.

"Without Deviation from The Norm, Progress is Not Possible." - Frank Zappa

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Do you feel emotionally tanked? So much so that your life vest can no longer hold you up? That's your soul's whisper clawing at you in the form of an emphatic rebel yell. Will you answer it? (Photo credit: Seth Doyle, 

Are you a risk taker? Or do you wind up seeking other’s approval?

Revel in your underdog status? Or do you take feedback to heart?

Prefer rocking the unconventional? Or do you adhere to society’s expectations?

The fact is, when you “filter” everything you say and do, that little rebel inside you inevitably shrinks. It’s as if there’s an immediate imbalance between people pleasing and putting your needs on the backburner. You might not think it’s a big deal to be extra helpful at work, for example, and likely skimping on social outings and invitations.

However, “the accumulation of hundreds or thousands of disappointments, each one hardly noticeable on its own” is how the onset of burnout begins. This is according to Richard Gunderman, MD, PhD, professor of radiology and philosophy at Indiana University, who alongside other researchers, sees the build-up as a very controlled, very exhaustive (yet unconscious) effort.

On the other hand, the Association of Psychological Science reports that individuals (starting in adolescence) with higher levels of rule breaking, those who protect their interests and aims, garner more favorable outcomes and fulfillment — even better income streams. Instead of control, virtues like freedom, relaxation, and personal grit are present and accounted for. Another outer-facing surprise: personality, more so than IQ, has played a role in our shining achievements since birth. 

These findings pack a one-two punch where the timid at heart is concerned.

Given this dynamic combination, does playing it safe by people pleasing hold us back from opportunity, let alone secretly deplete us (both emotionally and financially)?

It’s quite possible. In an article titled, “5 Common Mindsets That Get in The Way of You and Your Dreams,” our minds dictate what we think we should do according to society, culture, and family. So, we take external pressures and impose them on ourselves creating a cycle of internalization.

This mindset, according to the author, is called “rule following” and it creates a barrier where we keep ideas to ourselves fearing that we might go against the grain. The result: “You’re scared to stand out, so you play small. You maintain the status quo.”

(Photo credit: Brooke Cagle,

What if you came to the realization that you could choose differently? Speak up? Take a leap of faith? Raise your hand and share a bit of your rebel-esque genius? The sure bet is that your world wouldn’t crumble. It would be nothing short of magical.

To begin to expand your horizons a distinct set of muscles need toning and flexing. Ready for a mentally stimulating work out?  

Here are four ways to become a rebel “at the cause,” not the effect of your life:

Ideas don’t happen at the committee level.

When there are too many “Dear Abby” advice columnists in your life (albeit with good intentions and fair opinions) your thinking will be muddled and so will your actions. Keep in mind, your internal gut check is the only committee member who can truly align your heart, mind, and purpose.

Flex that muscle:
Look inward…often. Listen to that small, still voice… intently. Repeat the process.

If everyone likes you, you’re doing it wrong.

Invest stock in the word “no”. Start by turning down a request and offering an alternative solution. Therefore, you can still be helpful, yet provide the space to be on your timetable not wrapped up in someone else’s.

Flex that muscle:
Disappoint with delegation. Be okay with not being the first to toe the line.

Don’t climb the ladder, knock it over.

Each week, commit to one idea or proposal and carry it forward. Devise that new social media strategy and email it over to your boss. Suggest being the next host for your book club. Do anything that raises your visibility to the next rung and step it up.

Flex that muscle:
Move to create traction. A two-degree difference is all that separates you from tired pleasantries to ample promotion.  

Tame the story, not your behavior.

After coaching clients around their specific challenges, it’s almost never about the scenario at hand. The real hurdle is the fear, worry, resentment, or any other feeling that ensues a bias of some kind… most often toward ourselves. Our imaginations run wild with “what if” stories that have no bearing on the truth.

Flex that muscle:
Kick up the dirt. Underneath the sand and worn out shells is a pearl. So, acknowledge your feelings and realize the muck that covers up the good, the beautiful, and the bountiful.

The fact is, you’ll never be depleted when you’re too busy being awesomely brazen — embracing what is well with your soul.   

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