Updated: Apr 2, 2021
A while back I saw a LinkedIn post that read:
Want to be successful? Wake up at 4am.
Even this seemingly innocuous suggestion is laden with characteristics of white supremacy, patriarchy, and capitalism.
It’s problematic for a few reasons. First, it’s completely based in black and white, either/or thinking: it suggests there’s one definition of success and one simple formula for achieving it. Within that notion is the idea that success is something to be achieved rather than a journey to be cultivated and experienced.
It also brings in our old friend the myth of meritocracy: It implies that each person has equal capacity for success if they only try harder. Wake up earlier—just do it! Set more alarms, try harder, force your internal clock further!
I’m currently in an exploration of figuring out what is best for myself regardless of what other people tell me I should be doing. This is a huge learning experience for me. I wasn’t taught to take in advice, sit with it for a beat to see if it feels right, and then act. I was taught to do what other people told me to do, end of story. And that’s led me to doing a lot of shit I really, really didn’t want to do.
Even now, as I’m in this conscious state of seeing what feels right for me, it’s easy to get caught up in other people’s “shoulds.” I feel anxiety buzz in my stomach when I actively go against the things I’ve been told I should be doing.
That’s our conditioning, the internal system in place to ensure that we don’t step out of line. And that’s why the most radical thing we can do is listen to our intuition and do what feels right for us.
Taking a break in the middle of your day to go for a walk outside is a radical act.
Making your meetings 50 minutes instead of 60 to allow time for reflection and bathroom breaks is a radical act.
Holding space for others to feel their feelings without worrying about the line between personal and professional is a radical act.
If we want to make real change, these are exactly the little steps we can take every day to further a feminist economy, one based in equity, inclusion, and humanity.
So if your internal clock loves getting up at 4am, that’s great. You do you. If you’re like me and a 6:30 to 7:30am wake up time is your sweet spot, high five.
I encourage you to listen to yourself and your body more than anyone else around you. Allow your definition of success to be fluid. That may mean what you wanted 6 months ago and what you want 6 months from now are completely different from what you want today—and that’s a wonderful thing.
It doesn’t mean you’re flakey or indecisive, it means you’re listening to your internal cues and truly following your own unique path.
And you know what’s definitely not on my path? Waking up at 4 in the morning every day because some bro told me to.