In the 1990's, being raised with both parents in the Army was unique, but at the time it was all I knew. I was born in Stuttgart, Germany in 1989 and soon after, both my mother and father deployed to Saudi Arabia to fight in Desert Storm. These days they have rules against that sort of thing. I'm grateful they both made it home to me.
A relocation to the United States landed us in Augusta, GA, known for The Masters Golf Tournament, sweet tea, and coming home when the street lights came on. One day, the stork left my little sister on the front steps, and two millennials spent their childhoods being raised by the standards of two Army Majors.
"Age ten is when we learn how to be good girls and real boys." - Glennon Doyle, Untamed
I choose to live my life believing that people are doing the best they can. Unless they are sociopaths (seriously), parents want what they think is best for their children: safety, financial security, and a life better than their own. In the pursuit of those things, children can be molded into alternate versions of themselves, regardless of the best of intentions. Lack of awareness still has consequences.
One example is the mantra "measure twice, cut once" which was repeated for decades in my household. It's disguised as preparation, but it drives perfection. As an adult and now business owner, I have a difficult time making quick decisions because of this subconscious barrier.
High school was where my checklist life began. I filled my time with all kinds of productive activities to ensure I got into a great college, and it worked. Check.
Choose a lucrative major. Check.
Maintain a 3.0 average. Check.
Land a prestigious Summer internship. Check.
Extra-curriculars, Business Fraternity. Check.
Secure a job before graduation. Check.
I was feeling pretty damn confident at this point. I was really doing life right
Moving to Tampa for my first corporate job, I had $400 in the bank, a little blue car, and my Xbox. I didn't know a soul but I wasn't scared; I was ready. I was going to work hard, climb the corporate ladder, and be happy. That's how it's supposed to work, right?
Excitement doesn't begin to describe how I felt about work. I loved it so much I couldn't wait for the weekend to be over (not kidding). For some reason, others around me weren't as thrilled. They were jaded, apathetic, and there to collect a paycheck. After a while, I started to pick up their slack, because someone had to do it. My boss was chasing shiny objects and our customers were suffering. I hustled and hustled for two years until one day I ended up in the emergency room at 23. Stress-induced cysts burst inside my thyroid and my ovaries. It's called PCOS and I will have the condition for life.
This is when I started to examine my checklist life. Maybe the luxury apartment, the Lexus, and the six-figure job don't mean all that much if my life doesn't belong to me, or I don't make it to 40. In retrospect I am grateful for that experience because it gave me the opportunity to discover who Kim Linton wants to be, and less of who other people want me to be.
Climbing the corporate ladder, or even sitting on a rung, isn't a bad thing. I've just realized that my place is at the bottom of it - holding it steady for others who are climbing.
I love seeing the way the world works. It's complex and ever-changing. People are brilliant, funny, compassionate, and have done astounding things. It's this millennial's mission to create a space and help them do so, together. And as more millennials find themselves leading, it's important to me that we observe first, challenge the status quo if necessary, and break cycles of bad habits.
My name is Kim Linton. I'm a Certified Dare to Lead™ Facilitator and Agilist. If you're into this type of stuff, please connect with me on LinkedIn
. I would love to chat with you.
Parallel Listen: "Nobody Can Save Me
" by Linkin Park
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