We all fall victim to this at a very young age. It's not your fault nor anyone else's. It's simply a byproduct of the world we live in and perhaps a result of your loved ones loving you too much.

Let me explain. At some point in your life, you had an idea. A grand idea. You wanted to be someone unique. You wanted to build something magical. You wanted to create a vision that no one had ever seen. So, you told everyone about it.

Then, your perspective changed. You realized that you didn't want to do that thing anymore. Why? You couldn't put your finger on it but all you knew was that it didn't sit right.

But, everyone kept asking you about it. Your parents said you'd be the best person to do this thing. Your closest friends said they couldn't imagine you doing anything else.

The thing is, you could imagine doing something else. In fact, that's all you wanted. Were your family and friends right? Were you destined for only this one thing?

The answer is no.

To be successful in life, you must first define success. At the end of the day, it is probably tied with personal happiness. Therefore, to reach happiness, give yourself the permission to get there by doing this one thing:

Stop believing the narrative, or story, you tell yourself.

We are not defined by the experiences of our lives unless we want them to. Sure, you committed to the idea of becoming a certain person several years ago, but life has changed. Your priorities have shifted. Just because you started one way does not mean you must continue that way.

For the past three years, I kept telling myself (and everyone around me) that I would open a gym. Telling everyone was a motivation that I would stick to my word, but it ended up backfiring. Instead, I felt chained to this goal that no longer felt relevant. Deep down, I didn't really know if that's what I wanted to do. At the time that I came up with the idea, it felt like the obvious thing but sitting here, three years later, it filled me with dread.

Earlier this year, I finally gave myself the permission to let go of that narrative. I didn't have to open a gym unless I wanted to. People asked about it because that's the story I put out there. Well, guess what? Stories change.

Freeing myself from the burden of this expired dream has been the best thing I've done for myself. The world has opened up with possibilities and the old saying, "Think outside the box," is actually happening.

If you are stuck in a crossroad and a phase of transition, I challenge you to acknowledge the narrative of your life and then feel empowered to stray from it. It's in this zone of discomfort and unknown where the most incredible things can happen. 

Published on: Jun 28, 2018
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.