In this episode of the Feel Good Effect, we’re diving into dismantling outdated rules, unleashing your power, and designing a more purposeful life with Majo Molfino. We talk about how to use design thinking tools to break free from ways of thinking and myths that tend to hold us back.
How to Dismantle Outdated Rules & Design a More Purposeful Life with Mojo Molfino
Breaking the “good girl” myth
Majo describes her previous self as a typical “good girl”, a daughter of immigrants who felt like she had to repay her parents for their sacrifice, terrified of disappointing them.
As a result, she won all the trophies, got straight A’s, did all the “right” things, and put a lot of pressure on herself to be perfect and to perform.
It caught up with her in her early 20’s when she worked a nine-to-five cubicle-job in Washington D.C. and just felt soul-crushed.
She remembers looking into her eyes through an elevator mirror and feeling like she was wearing a costume, thinking, “this is not who I am. I am playing a role”.
That moment allowed her to make some space between herself and that identity and she realized she was so much more than the social role she was playing to perform and please based on what the systems she has been living with her whole life have told her to do her.
Moving out of suffering
We can go through the motions for years and never have an epiphany moment like Majo, in which we realize that we aren’t living in alignment with our truth.
Suffering is what prompted Majo’s realization.
She was in a depression, had just ended a toxic long-term relationship, had just moved back in with her parents, had existential anxiety about not knowing what her purpose was, all of which led her to therapy for the first time.
The suffering is necessary to awaken.
Feeling the pain of her suffering allowed her to tune into the sensations and wake up to more mindfulness, the blessing of hitting rock bottom.
Sometimes, connecting with our pain allows us to feel it, understand it, and grow from it.
However, when embodying the “good girl” archetype, there might be the temptation to numb the pain through various addictions, whatever we can do to escape the grief.
And this process can occur at any point in your life, often occurring multiple times.
Feeling good, breaking this myth, and unleashing your power is not about instant gratification; in fact, it often does not actually feel that great in the moment.
Bypassing pain does not lead you to where you want to go, instead, it leaves you stuck in old patterns.
For that reason, Majo’s book is not a comfortable read for a lot of women, as it’ll trigger some uncomfortable self-reflection.
This work is difficult, mindfulness is difficult, making bypassing it so tempting.
Keeping up a meditation practice is so difficult because so much of it is sitting with the discomfort.
How do we sit through the discomfort of seeing our own shadows, seeing parts of us that are broken or that are inviting us to have more integration?
Whether we let ourselves feel them or not, those parts are there, it has to be a decision to confront it.
The journey is messy.
Breaking away from expectations
As many are familiar with, and especially as a child of immigrants this came up for Majo, there is a dialogue from a young age about not pursuing the creative fields.
There is a message around your worth being what you can achieve.
The immigrant psyche is very much based around meritocracy and dialogue around hard work being the way to achieve anything.
Majo immigrated to the U.S. from Argentina with her parents when she was two, and she recalls the hunger to have economic security and the highest degree of education possible.
Especially for immigrant daughters, breaking away from parental expectations is huge.
A lot of people have that, but there is something heavy about it when parents have sacrificed so much for their children and there is a sense of needing to pay back a debt.
When Majo was able to let go of that, though, she was then able to come into her authentic path.
Parental expectations play a huge role in how we think we are supposed to be and the rules we have set for ourselves.
The five good girl myths
In starting her own coaching business for women, Majo began noticing patterns of five persistent, subconscious tendencies that women were falling into, which she calls The Five Good Girl Myths.
For each of these rules that we follow, we also have to consider what we give up.
1 | The myth of rules
The tendency to seek and follow external rules and authority instead of trusting our own desires, needs, and opinions.
- The powers given up: your purpose and self-authority
When you follow the rules, you give up your own inner-authority and connection with your desires, opinions, and needs because you are listening to external authority.
We must go through a process of seeing the invisible rules that float around us and connect with what gives us meaning versus the meaning that has been projected onto us by society.
2 | The myth of perfection
The tendency to demand perfection in ourselves and others instead of embracing the stakes and the reality of how things are.
- The powers given up: your creative confidence, vulnerability, and authenticity
3 | The myth of logic
The tendency to choose logic over intuition in decision making
- The powers given up: your imagination, empathy, and intuition
4 | The myth of harmony
The tendency to seek and keep harmony instead of embracing the conflict and confrontation needed for change
- The powers given up: your voice and truth
5 | The myth of sacrifice
The tendency to put others’ needs above your own at the expense of your self-care and wellbeing
- The powers given up: your time and energy & your contribution and destiny
The patriarchy affects gender groups differently.
These “good girl myths” are the myths in which it has been observed to hurt women.
However, the myth of logic is one that men tend to also grapple with, as society is pushing them to be totally disconnected from their emotions and intuition.
It’s okay to have different lived experiences than what you read because when you write, you write from that perspective and you have to take it for what it is.
Empathy is key in being able to tune into other people’s lived experiences, which is the reckoning so many white people are going through right now.
Determining your myths (but not your personality)
Majo offers a quiz in the book to help women figure out their primary and secondary myths.
Sometimes certain myths come up for women in certain contexts, such as at work.
This assessment is not a personality framework, though; these myths are fluid programs of conditioning that we are managing within ourselves.
This is important to not identify with these myths, instead, understanding how these can change over time.
Majo’s book is out there in the world, now.
Seeing our attachments to the results of our labor, Majo is working to have distance from that, non-grasping and non-attachment
She is learning to let go of control.
Perfectionism was a protective mechanism, and in recognizing that she can let it go.
She can notice it arise and do the things anyways; we can’t let these things stop us from creating and sharing our gifts.
If you wait until you’re an expert, you’re going to wait forever… it is through the process that you learn and grow.
On what it really means to be healthy
Self-compassion. A healthy mind, body, heart is one in which you’re able to accept the fact that life is hard, that there is pain… and you’re still able to hold yourself with gentleness, dearness, and self-compassion.
Majo Molfino is an Argentine-American author, designer, and women’s leadership expert. She is the host of the HEROINE podcast featuring top female leaders, creatives, and visionaries. Her leadership program, IGNITE, guides women to design and share a creative dream with the world. She has a master’s in learning, design, and technology from Stanford University and a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in cultural studies from McGill University. She lives in California with her husband.
Connect with Majo on Instagram @majomolfino
Heroine Podcast: Majo interviews female creative risk-takers across various industries to talk about the heroine journey and the messy process of stepping into leadership
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