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Are You Living in Fear of Being Ordinary?

I had a client whothe cave you fear to enter quote asked me this question:
“What if this is all I can accomplish? What if I am just going to be ordinary?”…

That is an interesting question, and there are many ways to answer it…

She was afraid that her life was not going to have meaning because she was afraid that she was only ever going to lead an ordinary life…

What Does Being Ordinary Mean to You?

It means different things to different people and a lot of it depends on our value system. If you think that you are ordinary because you aren’t famous or have your own reality TV show, that is different than the person who thinks that they are ordinary because they haven’t cured cancer or won a Nobel Peace prize.

So, being ordinary might mean that you are average…you live in an average neighborhood…with an average income…and average
dreams…that is one definition…there could be many…

The Fear of Being Ordinary

The problem happens when we start to think that “being ordinary” is a bad thing. It isn’t…because we are all ordinary; we are all just human beings. Ordinary people are the ones who do extraordinary things. Everybody starts out ordinary.

Underlying that fear is the fear of not “being enough” or the fear of not being “good enough” or a fear of not “being special”. That fear is a limiting belief and it’s not true. It just feels true in the moment.

The Quest to be Special

In our society there seems to be the quest to always be better, to always be striving to do more and more. We don’t seem to
be able to settle.

One thing that I have learned in my life is that there is always someone coming up behind you that is better at something that you do. It might not be right away, it might be years from now, or even decades from now…but as we learn and grow as a species, there will be people who come along who are smarter, faster, and cleverer at that thing that you do.

So, does that mean that you just dust yourself off and don’t do anything…no…absolutely not.

Ask yourself “Why am I afraid that I will only be ordinary?”.  Is there something, deep inside of you, that you want or need to do…is that why you are afraid? Look at yourself honestly and see if there is a yearning that needs to be fulfilled…is there something extraordinary there…that you believe is your task in life? You can push past that fear of being ordinary and accomplish what you need to.

This is an amazing quote by Joseph Campbell :

The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek. – Joseph Campbell.  Tweet this!

In order to overcome that fear or any fear…you need to acknowledge it, accept that it is there, discover the root in your imagination …so that you can let it go…because it isn’t real…is it?

So when you are ready to face that fear, these easy steps can help you:

  • Focus on your values (if you don’t know what they are, discover them)
  • Stop criticizing yourself; you are just getting in your own way
  • Know what you really want
  • Know WHY you really want it
  • Do the best you can, without getting stuck in perfectionism
  • Listen to that still small voice inside of you; you know the one that I mean…

And in the wise words of Dr. Seuss:

You have brains in your head.

You have feet in your shoes

You can steer yourself any direction you choose.

You’re on your own. And you know what you know.

And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.


We Are All Ordinary

…and that’s okay…just ordinary people…who go on sometimes to do extraordinary things. There are people in your life that you are anything but ordinary to.

To a child, his parents are extraordinary. To a parent, the child is extraordinary. To a beloved partner, you are extraordinary. We are ordinary people who get occasional extraordinary moments.

So, my friends, there is power in being ordinary because it has always been the ordinary people who have done extraordinary things…so look at that fear you might have had of being ordinary…and ask yourself “What message does this have for me?” and “What do I really want?”…you might be surprised at the answers…because you matter…

“Drive your own life…you deserve to, don’t you?”  Sherie Venner

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I am a Relationship Coach who helps others create happy, healthy, loving relationships…including the relationship they have with themselves…by breaking through those blocks and barriers to success. I use various techniques gathered through training as a Master Practitioner of NLP, timeline, hypnosis and common sense gathered through life experience.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Angela August 18, 2013, 12:19 am

    I am learning how to accept myself and not compare. In my home life and alone time, I can do pretty well. Staying centered, in the moment, and peaceful. At work however, I am buffeted by feelings of worthlessness and comparison. It doesn’t help that it really IS a competition out there! And as I’m a retail clerk, there are the occasional customers who pull rank since I’m just someone behind a counter. Not everyone of course, I’m fortunate that where I work has a pretty “human” customer base. But once in a while, and that is sometimes enough to really set my self-esteem back. Maybe over time, this will happen less and less.
    Thank you for your post.

    • Sherie August 18, 2013, 2:21 am

      Angela, I hear you…When we are in that type of situation, we often “see” ourselves through the eyes of the other person…just because they are reacting to us in that way. The question to ask yourself when you form an assumption about yourself…based on how the other person is treating you..is this…”Is this true?”. And it isn’t…they are reacting that way because of how they feel about themselves…so don’t let yourself get caught up in it, k? Thanks so much for dropping by and reading the post and commenting.
      Sherie recently posted..Needy and Desperate? This Simple Guide to Feel Confident in Your RelationshipsMy Profile

  • Linda zanson September 29, 2012, 12:07 pm

    This is so true, we are ordinary to people, who just pass by, but extraordinary to those, who love and appreciate us. So when we don’t try to change and be somebody else, we will always find those who will see us as extraordinary 🙂 Great article as always my dear extraordinary friend.3. thank you for share this picture.
    Linda zanson recently posted..Love Quotes [61-80]My Profile

    • Sherie September 29, 2012, 3:17 pm

      Thank you, Linda, yes, we are extraordinary to those who love and appreciate us. : D I appreciate you taking the time to comment!

  • Dr. Daisy Sutherland July 23, 2012, 5:23 am

    Great Post! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and for motivating others to get out of their own way! Too often people are so busy comparing their lives with others that they neglect to see what is right in front of them. Loved the Dr. Seuss quote and it is so true…we are all special and should simply accept and stop comparing or trying to find fault. Hugs!

    • Sherie July 23, 2012, 11:43 am

      Dr. Daisy, thanks so much for your wonderful insights! : D Big hugs, back!!

  • Mary Pougnet July 22, 2012, 9:46 pm

    Great post Sherrie, thanks for sharing. Being ordinary is ok, it’s what we humans are. We’re all the same, we put our shoes and pants on the same way, each of us has our own unique experiences and accomplishments, yet we are still ordinary. I enjoyed how you bring this to awareness, there is no better than or less than, we are ordinary beings, each with a different story. : )

    • Sherie July 22, 2012, 10:26 pm

      Mary, well said! …and thank you for commenting! : D

  • Sharon O'Day July 22, 2012, 8:50 pm

    Boy, Dr. Seuss nails it every time, doesn’t he? Talk about promoting personal empowerment! Lovely article, Sherie!

    • Sherie July 22, 2012, 8:55 pm

      Dr. Seuss was a genius, I think! Thank you, Sharon, dear…I appreciate your kind words.

  • Susan Preston July 20, 2012, 10:12 pm

    Great post, Sherie. I especially love Joseph Campbell’s quote. This really resonated with me when you wrote, “We are all ordinary…and that’s okay…just ordinary people…who go on sometimes to do extraordinary things. There are people in your life that you are anything but ordinary to.” Thanks, for sharing 🙂

    • Sherie July 20, 2012, 10:36 pm

      I am so glad that you stopped by and read the post, Susan! Thanks so much, my dear, I really appreciate you!!

  • Solvita July 19, 2012, 11:29 am

    This is so true, we are ordinary to people, who just pass by, but extraordinary to those, who love and appreciate us. So when we don’t try to change and be somebody else, we will always find those who will see us as extraordinary 🙂 Great article as always my dear extraordinary friend!

    • Sherie July 19, 2012, 11:39 am

      Awww…dear Solvita, you are my extraordinary friend, too! <3 <3

  • Lisa Birnesser July 19, 2012, 9:54 am

    Loved this post, Sherie. Sometimes we try so hard to be different that we just don’t give ourselves permission just to be who we are. I think we make it a lot harder than it needs to be. Love the Joseph Campbell quote!

    • Sherie July 19, 2012, 10:04 am

      Yes, we do make it harder than it needs to be! That Joseph Campbell quote is one of my favorites. Thanks for commenting, Lisa!

  • denny hagel July 18, 2012, 6:49 pm

    One of the most important truths I was raised with was that my concern was to only be with how God would see my achievements, not man. Thanks for sharing this! Great article!

    • Sherie July 18, 2012, 8:17 pm

      Denny, thanks for your insights! : D

  • Meryl Beck July 18, 2012, 3:50 pm

    Sherie– I had never thought about the word “ordinary,” and what you said makes sense. We are each a combination of being ordinary and being our unique self!

    • Sherie July 18, 2012, 4:30 pm

      Meryl, that is such a lovely way to put it! Thank you!

  • Beautiful Sherie! I especially loved this part, “To a child, his parents are extraordinary. To a parent, the child is extraordinary. To a beloved partner, you are extraordinary. We are ordinary people who get occasional extraordinary moments.”

    • Sherie July 18, 2012, 3:29 pm

      Thank you for your very kind words, Lisa, I appreciate that! : D

  • Susan Myers July 18, 2012, 12:11 pm

    Love this tip: Stop criticizing yourself! Great post Sherri!

    • Sherie July 18, 2012, 12:24 pm

      It’s important to do! Thanks, Susan, appreciate you commenting!

  • Lorii Abela July 18, 2012, 10:27 am

    Great post, Sherie. Very encouraging as well as thought-provoking. Truly love this post.

    • Sherie July 18, 2012, 10:59 am

      Thank you for your kind words, Lorii!

  • Becky Fisher July 18, 2012, 8:38 am

    We don’t need to conquer the world to be special. We need to just positively influence those around us. If that’s ordinary — I’m good with ordinary!

    • Sherie July 18, 2012, 9:36 am

      Ordinary can be brilliant! Thanks so much for your comment, Becky!

  • Marie Leslie July 18, 2012, 8:15 am

    I think our society has gotten too hung up on the necessity of being “special.” It reminds of a recent commencement address by David McCullough about how we’re not “special” because when everyone is, no one is. We need to focus on simply living our own best lives and achieving our own potential and stop worrying about some societal standard of “greatness.”

    • Sherie July 18, 2012, 8:21 am

      Marie, love that insight. Thank you for commenting!

  • Blair Warner July 18, 2012, 8:04 am

    Great message. If people would just be their best self, they would not be ordinary, for we are all extraordinary in our own way. We do need to learn to be ourselves , though. That is part of our journey and adventure.

    • Sherie July 18, 2012, 8:13 am

      Thank you, Blair!

  • Karen Presecan July 18, 2012, 7:13 am

    Wonderful post. Thank you for the lift this Wednesday morning! xo

    • Sherie July 18, 2012, 8:13 am

      Thank you, Karen!

  • Anita July 18, 2012, 6:15 am

    Back to basics and simply stated! What a wonderful and enlightening post! I think a lot of people get caught up in trying hard to fulfill passions and purpose..when all they really need to be is them 🙂

    • Sherie July 18, 2012, 8:12 am

      Yes! Thank you, Anita!

  • Jamie July 17, 2012, 11:13 pm

    My partner from time to time calls me “normal.” In his heart, this is a very good thing, but for me, I always took it out of context and took it as a bad thing.

    It is okay to be ordinary. However, in a society where we’re always comparing ourselves, and always trying to stand out amongst the rest, it’s hard to accept that yes, we’re all just ordinary, and it’s okay to be that way. 😉

    • Sherie July 17, 2012, 11:40 pm

      Yes, it is okay to be that way and to stop comparing ourselves…that is a very good thing…Jamie, thanks for your comment!

  • Martha Giffen July 17, 2012, 10:26 pm

    Funny how we fear being ordinary. We are all special so really nobody is ordinary. We are all created to create and the way I see it, the only thing to fear is not being able to create.

    • Sherie July 17, 2012, 11:12 pm

      And that, dear Martha, is an awesome point! Thanks for your comment!

  • Sue July 17, 2012, 6:37 pm

    Great article. I like how you advise us to know what we want — until we get clear on that, it’s hard to really move forward and easy to criticize ourselves. Loved the post!

    • Sherie July 17, 2012, 6:45 pm

      Sue, thank you!! Love your insights!

  • Olga Hermans July 17, 2012, 12:08 pm

    I believe it is time for each and everyone of us to come out of our caves and go after the dream that is on the inside of us. I wrote some articles about that in the beginning of the year and I strongly beleive that this is the time for all of us to show ourselves strong.

    • Sherie July 17, 2012, 12:22 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Olga!

  • Alexandra McAllister July 17, 2012, 10:37 am

    Such a beautiful and inspiring post, Sherie! Love this quote in particular: “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek. – Joseph Campbell.” Your steps on how to face the fear really are great. This one spoke to me: “Stop criticizing yourself; you are just getting in your own way!” Thank you!

    • Sherie July 17, 2012, 11:17 am

      : D You are so welcome,Alexandra! Thank you for reading it and commenting, dear! It is so important that we stop criticizing ourselves, isn’t it?

  • Nisha July 16, 2012, 5:46 pm

    What an interesting post! Sometimes I think society is so focused on the idea that everyone needs to find their passion, that people don’t realize that it is okay to just be themselves, be good to people around them, and find the things that make them happy. If that’s being “ordinary,” I’ll take it! 🙂

    • Sherie July 16, 2012, 6:40 pm

      Right on, Nisha! Thanks for your comment!

  • Eva Blaskovic July 16, 2012, 12:07 pm

    Wonderful and encouraging post, Sherie. It’s true; there is an underlying message in society that we need to stand out or be extraordinary in some way to be fully valued, or we just need to feel special. I like how you highlighted that we are all special in some way to someone for something. Parents to kids, kids to parents (and extended family), and partners to each other. Sometimes people forget or overlook the value they have to someone, even without awards, fame, or a lot of money.

    And, once again, Dr. Seuss has demonstrated his insightfulness and wisdom beyond his superior literacy talents.

    • Sherie July 16, 2012, 12:39 pm

      Eva, thank you so much for the lovely comment and your insights! Dr. Seuss was amazing and look at how enduring his work has been!

  • Carolyn Hughes July 16, 2012, 11:29 am

    Love the quotes but this one stands out for me! “Drive your own life…you deserve to, don’t you?” Sherie Venner Great post that reminds me that being ordinary for some is extraordinary for others and vice versa. What matters is that we appreciate ourselves and go for it!

    • Sherie July 16, 2012, 11:43 am

      Thank you, Carolyn, that is my quote! : D

    • Eva Blaskovic July 16, 2012, 12:09 pm

      Yes, I love that quote too.