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Earlier this month on Medium, Elle Luna posted an awesome, insightful (and beautifully illustrated) piece entitled, The Crossroads of Should and Must.

Yesterday we shared Elle’s definition of Should and Must and the reasons she decided to embark on a year of choosing Must. Today, we share two of the biggest mental obstacles that arise when choosing must (or choosing to live in the grey):

Choosing Must raises questions that are scary, big, and often, without an easy answer in sight. Here are two of the biggest fears I’ve heard, and what to do about them.

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Money can be a bridge to the freedom of exploring Musts. And it often doesn’t require much. But it does require determination. Money can be used to buy you a day, a week, month of time to work on a Must, which may amount to nothing. Or it can be used to buy a sweater, a suit, a car — the value of which is obvious and low risk.

Of course, the best way to make money is to figure out what you love and then give yourself to it. Because the people who consistently choose Must over Should find a way to make it work, and, once they take the leap, they find it’s easier to make money doing what they love than they ever imagined.

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Finding our calling doesn’t mean we need to quit our jobs. And it also doesn’t mean we need to book a one-way ticket to a faraway magical land where there’s no cell service. As someone who did both of those things, I know first hand that it’s easy to pack a small bag, wave goodbye, and push the eject button for a while. But the return, the re-entry phase, can be absolutely brutal.

The harder road, trickier, and more sustainable, is to make shifts every day within our existing reality. To integrate, not obliterate. For Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In was a tiny yet growing piece of her heart for years until it exploded into the world — all the while she was still running one of the world’s biggest companies and raising two children. Weaving our Must into our existing reality is about co-designing small opportunities with our teams. It’s about setting aside quiet time to be alone with our thoughts, and then actually following through. It’s about doing one small thing, anything, to honor our personal truth — today.

But while money and schedules are the reasons cited most often for not making the leap, I believe the real reason is something deeper and far scarier.

Tune in tomorrow ( *cough* #FailureFriday) to learn what that reason is!


  • LITG, you rock! Every article, every video, every word on your site speaks to me which such clarity and certainty – it feels like I have found a new best friend. I started as a way to capture this passion for appreciating and celebrating the small wins in life that lead to taking risks and truly living life. Cheers to you! You’ve made my day.

  • Live in the Grey

    Thank you so much for the kind words, Courtney!

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