Quit Your Job, Sis

Let’s Talk About Privilege

March 27, 2023 Lindsay Hanson Episode 164
Quit Your Job, Sis
Let’s Talk About Privilege
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

There’s no denying that each of us is dealt an entirely different hand in life. Some of us start with less ideal cards than others, while others seem to be handed life on easy mode. The beautiful part about life is - you can always change your cards. 

It's easy to look at celebrities or successful entrepreneurs, see their wealth and success, and think, “it must be nice.”

By doing this, we fail to see all the decisions and intentional actions it took for them to reach this point of ‘success.’ We fail to see their hard beginnings and struggles along the way, and we minimize the hard work it took for them to achieve their dreams. 

And in doing so, we subconsciously tell ourselves that we’re not capable of having what they have.

In this episode, I discuss the concept of privilege and how shifting your mindset can help you make intentional decisions toward the life of your dreams. 

Stop comparing yourself to others who are running a different race; stop disempowering yourself, telling yourself that others’ success is due to privilege. (Hint: Even if it’s true, it’s not a helpful thought pattern.)

You have the power of choice. 
You have the power to change your circumstances. 
Don’t let them define you. 

It’s time to decide where you want to be and start from wherever you are right now. Tune in to this week’s episode to learn how to move in the direction of your dreams!

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[00:00:59] Hi, loves. I wanna talk about something today that's been on my mind a lot lately, and I haven't figured out how to articulate it in a way that's not just going to sound privileged, which is ironic because privilege is exactly what I wanna talk about, and sometimes I feel like it's something that I just shouldn't talk about because it's very easy to look at me and be like, 'this middle-class white girl is so out of touch and ignorant and doesn't understand what she's talking about,' and if that's how I come across, please let me know. Slide into my DMs and cancel me. But I feel like it's been on my mind so much lately that I really just wanted to make this episode because I feel like it is going to resonate with a lot of you, and I'm sure if you're listening to this podcast that you're not, and if I'm able to help even just one person shift their perspective in a way that's going to allow them to change their lives and get to where they wanna be, then it'll be worth it.

[00:01:58] I want to start by saying that privilege is very real. Life isn't fair to many people, and some people are just dealt a shit hand, and I would never say that's not true. I would never want to minimize or invalidate anyone's experience. Because that's real. You can't deny that just by the circumstances some people were born into that, they are more privileged than others.

[00:02:23] And I just, I wanna fully recognize that because I think there's space for us to recognize that as the truth and shift our perspective on it a little bit in a way that will better serve us all in the long run. So this has mostly been on my mind because of comments that I'll see on social media, sometimes on my posts, but mostly on other people's posts where they are sharing something about their life or some success that they've achieved and there's a lot of people in the comments who are talking about how that person is privileged, right? So, for example, there was a video that came up on my feed last night, and this woman was a stay-at-home mom. I have a lot of stay-at-home moms on my TikTok feed. I don't really know why, but they're always there.

[00:03:10] This woman was a stay-at-home mom, and she got a comment saying, "Not all of us are privileged enough to be a stay-at-home mom." And in her response, she talked about how it wasn't an accident that she became a stay-at-home mom; it was a result of the decision she had made and actions she had taken in the years leading up to her becoming a stay-at-home mom.

[00:03:35] Because that was always her goal. And so she was very intentional about the decision that she made to be able to put herself in that position. And I think there are so many times when it's easy to look at someone who has an easy life. Someone who has a lot of money or has whatever type of lifestyle you want, and look at them and chalk it up to privilege, right? And in some cases, privilege played a large part in it. Some people are born into a life on easy mode, and they're born into generational wealth. They inherit a family business. Things tend to be very easy for them just because of the circumstances they were born into.

[00:04:15] That is very true. But I think a lot of the time when we're looking at the success, someone has created and chalked it up to privilege. We are ignoring the decisions, actions, and work they had to put in to get themselves into that situation. And while they may have, for whatever reason, had an easier path than others, there was still a lot of intention and many decisions that went into them getting to where they are now.

[00:04:48] By just chalking everything up to privilege, we are ignoring all of that, which doesn't serve us. Jeff Bezos wasn't handed Amazon; he started a business in his garage and turned it into what it is today. Mark Zuckerberg wasn't handed Facebook; he started it in his college dorm room.

[00:05:09] And so when we look at these people, we're like, 'oh, it must be nice' to be wealthy or successful, or whatever. One, we're minimizing the work that they put in to get there, but think about what you are telling yourself. If you're looking at someone who has something that you want, someone who has wealth, someone who has a successful business, and you are saying that they only have that because they are privileged, because they had some sort of privilege that you don't have, then you are telling yourself that you can never have that. You can never achieve that level of success and will never get there. You're putting up a wall and space between you and that person. One of my very early podcast episodes was about this, where I talked about how we tend to see celebrities and really successful business owners, millionaires, and billionaires as superhuman. It's like we're not on the same level as them, which puts this wall up between us and them, where we are reinforcing this story subconsciously to ourselves repeatedly that we cannot have what they have. But every single person who is a celebrity, massively successful, and wealthy is just a person.

[00:06:33] And, in fact, many of them weren't born into ideal circumstances. That's often not the reason why somebody achieves success. And if you look into a lot of celebrities' origin stories, I would say many, if not most, of them, involved some level of struggle. And I actually looked this up because I was curious, like, what are some really well-known celebrities who weren't handed a life on easy mode, and I knew that Oprah grew up poor and she was abused as a child.

[00:07:08] And she had a very difficult, traumatic childhood, and now, I mean, she's fucking Oprah, right? And Leonardo DiCaprio grew up in a very poor area, surrounded by drugs and violence, and just not set up for success. Right? I did learn that Ed Sheeran used to sleep in subway stations.

[00:07:33] Was that common knowledge? I don't know. I did not know that. And also, Holly Berry was at one time sleeping in a homeless shelter, right? So when we look at it from that perspective and really understand how someone got to where they are, we can see that many people have a much more relatable journey. And the stories that are inspiring are the ones where somebody started from nothing and then worked their way up to get to where they are now.

[00:07:58] My point is there are a lot of people we could look at and consider privileged, but they were not handed their success. It was a result of their decisions and the fact that they held onto their vision of the life they wanted and what was possible for them, despite the fact that they found themselves in less-than-ideal circumstances.

[00:08:19] They didn't let those circumstances define them. And so I think it's easy to get stuck in a victim mentality when we're looking at someone who has what we want and we feel like our circumstances are less than ideal, and they may be less than ideal, but ruminating on that is not going to serve you.

[00:08:40] It takes away your power. It is so disempowering for you to look at someone who is successful and say they are there because they're privileged because, again, you're telling yourself that you can't have that because you just weren't handed the right set of circumstances, and that's just not fucking true.

[00:08:59] You still have power. You still have the power to change your circumstances, and the people who achieve success are often the ones who just did not let their circumstances define them. They may have been born into shitty circumstances or found themselves in shitty circumstances at some point along the way.

[00:09:17] But they didn't let that define them. The choices that you make and where you choose to go from where you are right now to get to be what defines you. But we all have to start from where we're at. I think of it like a race, right? Imagine you're in a race, and everyone has a different starting point.

[00:09:36] So there are gonna be some people who have an easier time and a shorter time getting to the finish line because they're starting closer to the finish line. But the thing is, the trophy isn't for whoever finishes the fastest. In order to get the reward, all you have to do is finish, and it does not matter how long it takes you.

[00:09:56] So the best thing that you can do for yourself is to get started from wherever you're at, from wherever your starting point is, and ask yourself, how can I get to that finish line? How can I get to where I wanna be? Because the thing is, if you're just sitting at the starting point complaining because other people have an easier journey than you, you are not getting any closer to where you wanna be.

[00:10:16] It's keeping you stuck at that starting point of where you are now. And yes, it's true that it's not exactly fair and that some people are gonna have an easier journey than you. That may be true, but ruminating is not helpful because the fastest way for you to get to where you wanna be is by starting today from wherever you're at and asking yourself, how can I get to that finish line and start making moves?

[00:10:42] Ignoring everyone else, staying in your lane, and focusing on what you have to do to get to where you wanna be. And I can even use myself as an example, and this is the part that might get me canceled, but I feel like it's important for you guys to understand everything that got me to where I am today, right?

[00:11:02] Because you can look at my life now and see that I can set my own schedule, work when I want, work where I want, and see that as a privilege. And it is a privilege, but I wasn't handed a business like I had to figure this shit out. I didn't come from a family with a parent or an uncle who was a business owner who could teach me how to start a business. I wasn't handed a business loan; I had to bootstrap myself and figure it out. And you could say, well, yes, but you had the privilege of having money saved up that allowed you to quit your job, and it's true, I had about a year's worth of expenses in my savings account that I used to support me in that first year that I was building my business, which was part of why I quit my job the way that I did because I knew that I had that safety net. 

[00:11:57] If you listen to this podcast, you've heard plenty of stories of people who didn't have that same safety net and still decided to quit their job and start a business. So that one thing is that there's no one right way. Everyone's path is different. But the other thing is that money that was in my savings account wasn't handed to me like that money was there because I made the decision ever since I was 16 years old, working part-time at my local grocery store, to save the majority of the money that I made in the jobs that I was working. 

[00:12:26] So was that privilege, or was it a decision that I made? You could also say that I had the privilege of saving the majority of the money I made because I didn't have to pay for my own education, which is true, my parents paid for my college tuition, and I'm very grateful for that. I'm very grateful that I didn't have to take out student loans. And yes, that was partially because my parents were able and willing to pay for my education, but it was also partially because of the decisions that I made to go to a school that I knew my parents could afford to pay for so that I wouldn't have to take out any loans because I did get into a school that was further away from home and more expensive.

[00:13:15] And if I had chosen to go there, I likely would've had to take out student loans, but instead, I chose to go to a school that was close to my home, live at home, all through college so that I would save on room and board. And the only reason why my parents were able to cover my tuition at that school, which was a really good school, is because half my tuition was paid for by a scholarship that I got because I was at the top of my class in high school, which was a result of the decision that I made to prioritize getting good grades in high school, we could keep going. And I get that. And I get that not everyone is born into circumstances where it's easy to do well in school, and their parents aren't able to pay for their education.

[00:13:59] And I get that. And I'm not minimizing that or invalidating that at all. But my point is, when you actually look at my journey, you could chalk it up to privilege, or you could chalk it up to some very distinct decisions that I made and actions that I took and risks that I took that a whole lot of people aren't willing to take and work that I put in to get here.

[00:14:21] It's some combination of both of those things, but at the end of the day, it simply does not serve us to look at somebody else who has something we want and say they only have that because they're privileged. And we are much better off if, instead, we focus on ourselves, look at our situation and where we are right now, ask how we can get to where we wanna be, and start making decisions and taking actions that will help get us there.

[00:14:49] I fully recognize that my circumstances were much more ideal than a lot of other people who may want to start a business and work for themselves but didn't have as ideal of a situation where they were able to quit their job in the way that I did. There are also a lot of people who had it much easier than I did.

[00:15:09] There are people who, as I said, were born into a wealthy family or inherited a family business, or their parents gave them a loan that allowed them to start their business, but it wouldn't have served me to sit there and focus on that and tell myself, oh, well, I don't know how to start a business. I don't have any examples of entrepreneurship in my family, so it's just not gonna be that easy for me.

[00:15:33] Or no one handed me a loan, so it will be really hard for me to build a business. I never went there; I never focused on those things because how would that have served me? I had to look at what I did have in the situation that I was in and make the decisions from that place to get myself to where I wanted to be.

[00:15:52] And so it's frustrating when I share some part of my journey or my life now, and I get comments about being privileged because I feel like there's no way for me to respond to them in a way that doesn't just sound like I'm being privileged. Do you know what I mean? What I want to say to anyone who leaves comments like that is like, why are you disempowering yourself?

[00:16:15] Yes, I can understand where you're coming from. I recognize that I had a lot of privileges that many other people may not have, but that doesn't have anything to do with what you or anyone else can create for the. We can all create the life we want, and our journeys will look different.

[00:16:32] But I would never say to you that because of your circumstances, you don't have the power to create the life you want because I don't believe that. I believe that no matter where you're at right now, no matter where you come from, you can create whatever you want for yourself, and I'm not gonna disempower you by validating this victim mindset that you're stuck in, and that is not fucking serving you.

[00:16:55] So I hope that that point came across clearly in this episode and that it didn't sound like me being privileged, ignorant, and out of touch. Please let me know if this resonated with you or if it did not slide into my DMs. I really wanna hear what you guys think about this topic because it's something that's been on my mind for so long, and I've just been struggling so much with how to articulate what I wanna say because I really, truly don't wanna offend anyone or invalidate anyone's experience at all.

[00:17:26] It's not my intention, so I hope that's not how I came across. But I love you guys. You are capable. You have the power to change your life, and I hope that this podcast is helping you to get closer to where you wanna be. So thank you for listening. Thank you for being here. I love you. I appreciate you.

[00:17:45] I am here for you always, and I will talk to you guys soon.

What is the role of privilege in achieving success?
Are we too quick to credit privilege for success?
Celebrities and what it takes to achieve success
Taking control of your circumstances
What is your starting point?
Lindsay's personal story on overcoming adversity
How you're limiting your own potential
Actionable tips you can take to get started on achieving your goals