As humans, we have the ability to make conscious decisions. Everyday, we wake up, take inventory of our feelings and emotions, and make decisions for how we are going to show up in the world. When we put conscious thinking behind our decisions, it tends to be full of “shoulds” or “should nots.”. When thought is not put behind our actions, our animalistic desire will kick in and we will act in the way that will most likely allow us to survive.

So, my question to you, is what happens when too much thought is put behind the way we show up every day? What happens to our animal within?

Working at a high school boarding school I witnessed teenage girls constantly choosing to sacrifice food in order to like their bodies more. It was a conscious choice, not necessarily based off their core values.

I think about one individual in particular who could have excelled at athletics- and wanted to- but showed up at practice weak and dehydrated every day.

Recently, a girl friend of mine told me that she feels the need to gossip at work- “It’s the only way people like you there,” she said through tears. So everyday, she walks into the office- unhappy- and listens to and participates in the office drama and come home feeling worn out and disappointed in herself.

This is no comparison the optimistic, upbeat young woman I knew in college- one who would never put down another- to this defeated, and sometimes hurtful young professional.

But what about Marc Elliot? Marc is a young man with Turret syndrome, who spent his childhood and early adulthood attempting to stay quiet and not call attention to himself. He was embarrassed about how he acted and the response from society reaffirmed his embarrassment.

It wasn’t until Marc realized the opportunity he had to educate and make a difference. He is now a motivational speaker and an inspiration to me, and since embracing his differences, and being true to himself, he has seen a decrease of his symptoms.

No- you, in your defaulted animalistic state is not perfect. But neither would you be if you conformed to each piece of feedback you received. Discovering your purpose in the world and staying true to that purpose every day will take adapting. Knowing what you care about- what you value- and making sure your actions and behaviors align with those values means you have to spend the rest of your life being intentional.

We need to evaluate the progress and sacrifices we make when we observe, tame, beat, starve, or parade our inner animal.



Danielle Aaronson

Danielle Aaronson

Danielle’s mission is to inspire leaders to make intentional choices that move them to positive action. She speaks at conferences, management summits, and leadership programs as well as facilitates efforts with executives and senior leaders at organizations seeking to influence their culture. Her mantra, “be the change you wish to see in the world” has allowed her to strive every day to be the best she can be and help others recognize the potential they have to make a positive difference. @deaaronson

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