Advice for Life: Stop Asking

On my first night in a campground just outside of Tampa, I stayed in one of the most beautiful places I think I’ve ever been. The water was so clear you could see the fish swimming between your legs. The sand was white and literally right behind the campsite. I’ve been living in Colorado for a really long time. Read: no beaches. I was excited to have time with my feet in the sand – you know, Margaritaville style.

As I untied my sneakers and sat on the shore, a couple of people walked up just south of me. They had all of the gear to go fishing. Now, let me remind you: it’s sunset. It felt like a weird time to be fishing but it turns out they had a lesson to teach me.

“Do it this way,” he said with confidence. “You have to pull the line the second it hits the water. You have to pull back faster. You have to go deeper.” They had all the fishing advice in the world. The other person seemed like they wanted the advice. Every few minutes they were asking, “did I do this right? Did I get it? Is that a fish?”

I learned to fish at a very young age thanks to a southern family who insisted on kids playing outside. I used to play in lakes and grab fish all the time. Fishing is not hard. People have been fishing since literal ancient times without any of this gear – so I couldn’t help but wonder why they kept asking so many questions.

At that moment, I looked into the water and saw a massive fish and a small school following it. I slowly slid my hands to sit under the water for a moment. I am not kidding you when I say this fish swam right between my hands. I caught the fish. I stood up and the fishermen down the way remarked: “Holy shit! How’d you do that?”

I knew I could catch a fish if I just allowed it to come to me. Then I did.

I’m sure this is going to sound a little bit like a fable, but stick with me here. Yes, this is a metaphor for life.

Have you ever considered how hard we make it to just be? How challenging it feels to not look around for answers or ask any questions? How easy it is to buy into the idea you need all the gear to trust yourself and your instincts?

Most of us were trained at a very young age to look around for help and advice. We were taught it’s important to get consensus, compromise, and make sure everyone has input. That’s not necessary.

This is your one and only life. And when you’re making decisions for your life, or in this case to make sure you get something to eat tonight, you need to do what you like. You need to pick what your gut tells you to do, and you don’t need some fancy equipment or advice to figure it out. You need to listen and allow.

That’s why my word of the year for 2022 is allow. Allow myself to trust in my gut. Allow my heart to make choices. Allow others to give to me even if I know I could do it myself. But to also allow my gut to speak the loudest.

I started this tradition of a word of a year with my friend Michaela three years ago before the pandemic. Every year she sends me a small token with my word of the year on it. I have last year’s hanging in my van.

Last year’s word was brave. I needed to move forward. I needed to see how I could navigate trusting myself. But this year? I allow. In the same way that this person allowed themselves to keep talking even if they knew how to fish. In the same way I will allow myself to choose.

So pick a word and remember that whatever happens next is your destiny. Allow it to happen. You can allow the good, the bad, and still catch the fish – whatever it is for you.

Kat

PS: if you’re allowing a new job to come into your life, this week’s blog post is for you. Read it here.

Weekly Letters

Kat Kibben View All →

Katrina (Kat) Kibben [they/them] is a keynote speaker, writing expert, and LGBTQIA+ advocate who teaches hiring teams how to write inclusive, unbiased job postings that will get the right person to apply faster.

Before founding Three Ears Media, Katrina was a CMO, Technical Copywriter, and Managing Editor for leading companies like Monster, Care.com, and Randstad Worldwide. With 15+ years of recruitment marketing and training experience, Katrina knows how to turn talented recruiting teams into talented writers who write for people, not about work.

Today, Katrina is frequently featured as an HR and recruiting expert in publications like The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Forbes. They’ve been named to numerous lists, including LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Job Search & Careers. When not speaking, writing, or training, you’ll find Katrina traveling the country in their van or spending some much needed downtime with the dogs that inspired the name Three Ears Media.

2 Comments Leave a comment

  1. For the past several years, I’ve also done the word of the year with friends. It’s a good way to remind yourself what aspect of yourself you’d like to focus on changing or improving. I still need some retrospection of 2021 before I choose my word for 2022, but I like your choice.

  2. Great post, Katrina! I just finished reading the new “The Office” book compiled by Brian Baumgartner, and I had always wondered whose choice it was for [spoiler alert if you’re bingeing the series and haven’t finished yet!] Michael Scott to leave in season 7. Turns out, it was Steve Carrell’s own decision: more than once in his career, he has made (allowed!) the decision to exit a project on a high note. So before anyone jumps the shark, he takes his leave. I was really struck by this: rather than waiting to get in a rut, to allow yourself to think: “I have it great right now — what *else* could I do/be that’s great?” That makes for a more posiitve “So, why did you apply?” conversation too!

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