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Embrace your unique Rhythm: Breaking with what’s 'Normal' by Willemijn Laan

In a world that often wants us to fit societal norms, I know how a lot of us can feel like a square peg in a round hole. The concept of a “normal” workday, with its structured hours and expectations, can feel suffocating to those of us whose minds operate in a more unconventional way.

I know a lot of people who can get lost in hyperfocus when working on a project. For them, diving deep into a task for hours is natural and essential for producing their best work. But in a culture that praises multitasking and constant connectivity, hyperfocus (especially if it takes up more than a few hours), can be seen as antisocial or even as unhealthy. It’s frustrating, isn’t it?

During those moments of passionate working hours, when inspiration strikes and productivity thrives, people often dismiss it as wrong or unsustainable. Because evenings might be seen as moments to sit on the couch and watch a movie together, Saturday nights are there to go out and have fun with friends and Sundays are seen as family quality time moments.
Even more so when it comes to not always being able to spend regular weekend hours with your partner or the kids. It’s as if there’s this expectation that families should adhere to a strict schedule, but in reality, life doesn’t always fit neatly into those boxes.
But are these alternative modes of operation truly wrong, or are they simply misunderstood?

In my coaching practice, I often speak to people who, like many of us, experience the pressure to conform to what’s considered ‘normal’. Throughout their lives, they’ve been told that their way of working or operating is wrong or unhealthy, and that has taken a toll on their self-esteem. It’s easy to internalize society’s messages and feel inadequate or unworthy because your natural rhythm doesn’t align with the norm.

This pressure to conform not only affects our self-esteem but also disrupts our creative flow. You know how important creativity is to people; it’s where we thrive. Creativity needs freedom to flourish, without judgment or constraints. When we’re forced into a rigid structure that doesn’t accommodate our unique way of thinking, creativity suffers, leading to frustration and dissatisfaction (which is actually one of the main reasons for relationship problems. Just saying…)

I was having a conversation about how this also applies to my own partner. His hyperfocus and late-night working sessions have often been criticized by others who can’t understand why he can’t stick to the ‘normal’ 9-to-5 routine. But creativity often strikes him in those late hours, sucking him into his ‘rabbit hole’ where the world around him disappears for a few hours or even days. Resulting in feeling like a ‘bad’ person when he finds himself in his flow for more than a few hours. Apologizing for his ‘unsocial’ behavior…

So, what’s the solution? I believe it’s embracing our natural rhythm and surrounding ourselves with people who appreciate and support our unique abilities (like always to be honest). Instead of trying to force ourselves into a predetermined mold, we need to honor our strengths and operate in a way that feels authentic to us.

Maybe it means going for flexible working arrangements or carving out space in our day for uninterrupted focus. Or perhaps it involves seeking out communities of like-minded people and partners who understand and celebrate our ‘unconventional’ approach to work and life.

Ultimately, embracing our unique rhythm isn’t just about finding success in the traditional sense. It’s about finding fulfillment and happiness on our own terms. By going against what’s ‘normal’ and embracing what makes us different, we open ourselves up to a world of possibilities and unlock our true potential.

Here’s to embracing our uniqueness and living life on our terms!


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