Ask Mr. Manners

No rules allowed

Ever since high school you have most likely been told that success is about making choices. People ask, “What do you want to do with your life?” The undercurrent is always clear: You’ve got to make a decision and stick with it, because focusing on who you want to be is the only path to prosperity. I was once told by a relative, “Here’s your lane, son – stay in it, bear down, and you’ll make it.” But the truth is, rules like that are made up by people who need them so they don’t feel scared. Ignore them.

As a person who has changed careers twice so far in his life, I can tell you this: You don’t have to decide what you want out of life. You can have it all. You can make big money and pursue creative passions. You can have an engaging career and also raise a terrific family. You can reach a certain level of achievement, then pivot into something else, even if it feels dangerous to do so.

Pursuing your dreams – every single one of them – is what matters, and it’s okay if they don’t fit neatly into the same box. As we enter into the month of June, its exciting to think about the upcoming Pride festival. An important part of the festival is taking time to reflect upon the work done for us by our forefathers. As you are enjoying the parties and festivities remember that the reason you have all of your rights is due to the work of those who came before you. The success of our LGBT ancestors came because they refused to subscribe to the rules laid out for them. They knew that life could be better, that it could be equal, and they made new rules.

The past year has been a big year for our community. We have had wins and we have had losses. My heart breaks as I think about the LGBT of North Carolina, and the laws that have been passed to discriminate against them. However, my spirits are lifted when I hear about the employers and organizations in that state who have stood up for our rights and fight to protect us. They have decided that that rules does not apply to them, and have worked to change the game.

So what rules are holding you back? Part of being associated with the LGBT community is a legacy of making our own rules. It’s a legacy of changing perceptions and working to be better. We are bold, we are not scared. So dare to be different, dare to be bold. Use this Pride season to reinvent yourself and add your legacy to those who have come before you.

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