Defying Gravity

I first saw “Wicked” on Broadway when it opened about seven years ago. I fell in love with the story of the so-called Wicked Witch’s obstacle-strewn path and her heart of gold that lies beneath. Elphaba, whose greenish hue and outspoken ways make her an easy target and social outcast, just wants to make the world a better place. Because of her “differences”, her path is not an easy one, but Elphaba doesn’t give up easily. She sings of not accepting limiting beliefs and learning to trust her own instincts. Ultimately, she chooses to defy gravity, that is, the rules and limitations that have been placed on her and are holding her back.

Are you defying gravity in your life? We live in a world surrounded by the weight of “shoulds” and “must do’s”; social and familial pressures abound. When was the last time you stopped to think, “Am I doing this because I really want to or because it’s what I think I’m supposed to do?” How often do we give in to “groupthink” to be accepted as a part of the herd? What exactly does the herd stand for anyway? In our quest for security and sameness, we often lose sight of what’s most important to us.

We all learn ways of being from our family, friends and the media, but we each have the ability to think and make decisions for ourselves. Base those decisions on what you want and your own preferences, instead of something that you learned long ago that no longer serves you.

Here are three things to do before succumbing to “groupthink”:

1. Gut check
Your intuition will give you cues to let you know whether something feels off to you. Pay attention to the feeling in your stomach as someone is saying something you’re not sure about. If the hair on the back of your neck stands up or if you hear a small inner voice questioning a particular line of reasoning, don’t just automatically agree or give into it. Your body is a wonderful measure of whether the rest of you should go along with it. In fact, our body often gives us physical clues before our brain follows suit.

2. Give yourself 24 hours
If you are feeling pressured into making a decision and something just doesn’t feel right, give yourself at least 24 hours to sit with it. How often have we said yes to something or given in at a moment’s notice without really thinking it through? If you are feeling even a little bit unsure about something, give yourself the time and space you need to check in with your own inner compass.

3. Know where you stand
How can you really know where you stand on something if you haven’t looked at the full picture? Do your research, ask questions, talk to a trusted friend or advisor. Once you have gathered enough information to have an adequate understanding of a particular topic, then you will be well-equipped to come to your own conclusion – against the grain or not.

My husband surprised me last year for Valentine’s Day and took me to see “Wicked” again here in Los Angeles. As Elphaba sang, “Something has changed within me. Something is not the same. I’m through with playing by the rules of someone else’s game. Too late for second-guessing, too late to go back to sleep. It’s time to trust my instincts, close my eyes, and leap,” I am reminded that I am the leader of my own ship, no one else.
Be original. Be unique. Most importantly, be yourself. Defy gravity and take the leap. You may find that you already know how to fly.

©Liz Dennery Sanders 2009

Liz Dennery Sanders wants you to build your buzz and be successful beyond your wildest dreams. As the CEO of Dennery Marks Inc., a brand development and celebrity outreach firm, she founded SheBrand, to help female entrepreneurs, executives and small business owners build powerful personal brands with style, attract more clients and position themselves as experts in their industries. You can reach her directly at or

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