Many of us are living a life that others have designed for us. Family members and caregivers who have provided for us may project their goals and aspirations on us. Even our friends, who sometimes think they know us better than we know ourselves, may offer heavy-handed advice about what we should be doing, the goals we should be setting, and the person we should (or should not) be dating. While our family and friends, who usually only want the best for us, may have great ideas about how we should live, it is ultimately up to us to decide our life’s path. We must write our own script if we want to live an authentic, empowered, and engaging life.

Writing our personal script requires being bold and making firm decisions about what we want and what we don’t. Here are a few tips to encourage and inspire independence, clarity, and forging one’s path: 

Don’t be afraid to take risks: 

Fear can stifle us, which keeps us accountable to the status quo and other people’s expectations. If love is unconditional, your family and friends will love you win or lose. Taking a risk on a new career or new direction in life that is more aligned with what you want is key to owning your journey. Know that missteps are just learning experiences, and the people who support you and love you will always have your back, so there is nothing to fear. 

Explore and Experiment: 

If you aren’t sure what your path to happiness looks like, you can explore and experiment with professions, hobbies, and interests that inspire and motivate you, but you must get out of your own way. Resist the ease of grabbing at things assigned to you by others and go off the beaten path. Try something different, go someplace different, engage in something different. You can find what lights up your authentic and engaged self by exploring new things! 

Follow Your Passions: Everyone has a talent or passion that moves and inspires you. If the talent or passion at your core is something that hasn’t been done before, be empowered to use it to uplift yourself and others. Find the things you’re most passionate about, invest in them, and move yourself and your dreams forward with confidence. 

Believe that What You Want Matters: 

Resist shaping your life around others’ expectations and living in the shadows of others—doing what’s always being done or fearing the judgment of others. You were made to do more than survive; you were made to thrive! What you want matters, and your life is your own. Make choices that make YOU happy. When we live authentically, committed to our passions and unafraid to take risks, we unleash our internal, individual power. Write your own script. Live your own life.