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The One Thing I wish I knew in my 20s

dancer stretching in a studio

To say I was lost in my early 20s is an understatement. As a dancer, I moved to NYC and immediately got work in a bar while working diligently towards “my big break.”

I was in dance class and (unpaid) rehearsals for 3-8 hours a day. When I wasn’t at work or in the studio, I ran around to galleries, openings, and friends’ performances. I wanted to fully take advantage of “the city.” 

And aside from my peers, I had zero guidance and no life plan except to “get into a dance company.” I could neither sing nor act, so I was limited to modern dance. As for actually making a living…one of the most prestigious contemporary dance companies in New York City couldn’t afford to pay their dancers off-season. No one told me that, either… Eventually, I got into photography and writing. But it took a while. And it wasn’t until I was well into my 30s that I learned this valuable piece of information from self-help author Dr. Nathanial Branden. And that is,

No One is Coming

No One is Coming to choose you.
No One is Coming to love you.
No One is Coming to offer you your dream job and get you out of the mess of your so-called life.

Now maybe you’re saying, What are you talking about? I don’t think like that!

Okay, maybe you don’t. But let me ask you this.

Have you ever postponed doing something because you didn’t feel you were at “the right” weight? Or had “the right” look? Or, Do you sit around and wonder how you will launch your creative career while taking crappy jobs and hoping to be discovered? Or do you work a corporate job perfectly but find yourself waiting for a promotion or someone to notice you and mentor you?

Then I am telling you right now it won’t happen like that. 
And this message is especially important to women. Look, I consider myself a feminist and was raised by a single mom. I knew from day one that Prince Charming was a lie. But as a female in our culture, that didn’t stop me from internalizing a need for external validation.

To be the prettiest, you had to be America’s Next Top Model.
To be seen as talented, you needed to win Project Runway or American Idol.
And for ALL of those, you needed to be chosen in the first place.

While men are encouraged to be assertive and take action, women are encouraged to keep up their appearance, work hard, stay in their lane, and wait for that external recognition to be waved at us like a fairy wand.

So we wait. 
And wait.

And wait…

But once you realize No One is Coming, you can change the narrative.

Being pretty, relatable, or likable is all good, but they aren’t “the things” that will get you where you want to go.

What will is: taking ownership of your life, asking for what you want -even if it means risking rejection -instead of waiting for someone to give it, making your own choices, and actively pursuing goals and dreams that are bigger than likes or approval.

It’s overcoming passivity: waiting for someone else to save us or solve our problems can lead to a passive mindset, where we feel helpless and victimized. Dr. Branden’s statement challenges this passivity and encourages a proactive attitude.

No One is Coming?

Say to yourself,

I’m here.
I’m here to choose myself.
I’m here to love myself.
I’m here to sort myself out.

–Katya Moorman

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