The kids (as you know) are home for the foreseeable future. One unexpected benefit of this (in addition to random, mid-day hugs) is that I get to hear the soundtrack to their current movie obsession over and over and over again. Lately, it’s been “Hey Siri, play the My Little Pony: The Movie Soundtrack.” Mostly (to be honest), I just tune it out… but every now and then one of those songs will make its way into my brain and get lodged.

This time, it was “Time to Be Awesome” by Rainbow Dash. She’s talking to a group of parrot pirates encouraging them to stop doing the bidding of the Storm King, and instead do their own AWESOME thing. It’s catchy, and worth a listen (click here).

(My favorite lyric is “Hey Scallywags, it’s time to be awesome!” 

Scallywags! Love.)

The song is simple, and the truth inside is important. 

The Pirate Captain (who is a woman, by the way, so kudos on that, MLP) says:

Parrot Pirate Captain

You’ve no idea how hard it’s been 
This dull routine we’ve been forced to do

Rainbow Dash

Don’t let them rob you of who you are
Be awesome, it’s all up to you 

Parrot Pirate Captain

I feel the light, stirring deep inside
It’s like a tale still yet to be told
And now it’s time
To break the shackles free
And start living like
The brave and the bold

On the very surface, this is a song worth hearing. 

It’s so empowering!

“I Should Listen to My Heart and Be Awesome! It’s All Up to Me!” 

But that isn’t the reason that it rose above the noise and caught my attention. It was, instead, the assumptions and expectations held by Rainbow Dash that did it.

The Parrot Pirate Captain is explicitly and persuasively naming “This dull routine we’ve been forced to do.” I get where she’s coming from: there’s a bad guy on the loose and he’s pressed her crew into his service. 

But, on the other hand, he’s not here now. Why are you acting in this way, in this moment?

Rainbow Dash, for her part, isn’t buying it. She’s not saying “Gosh, it’s hard to feel afraid. I would be afraid, too. Let’s see if we can find a workaround where your fear gets to stay and we find some small way to sneak ahead a little bit, too.” Instead, she rejects the premise of the whole thing and cuts to the chase.

“Don’t Let Them Rob You of Who You Are. Be Awesome. It’s All Up to You.” 

Indeed, Rainbow Dash. Indeed.

That Parrot Pirate Captain was convinced she had no choice. She was at the mercy of life’s expectations. 

And like a true friend, Rainbow Dash says – in essence and to great effect – “Fuck that.” (Rainbow Dash can’t say that, because she’a a fictional talking pony in a children’s movie. I DO realize that.)

Let’s try out her strategy on a few of the stories that you might be telling yourself (except I’m going to use “choose awesome,” because I like it better than ‘be.’

  • “I have to occupy my kids so I can’t do this training that might help me market my practice.”
    • “Don’t let the circumstances of COVID-19 rob you of who you are. Choose awesome. It’s all up to you.”
  • “I have to check my email sixteen times a day.”
    • “Don’t let the world’s unrealistic expectations of your availability rob you of who you are. Choose awesome. It’s all up to you.”
  • “I can not share anything at all about myself with my clients at any time. This means that I cannot follow any of your advice or market my practice.”
    • “Don’t let your black and white interpretation of yourself and the world rob you of who you are. Choose awesome. It’s all up to you.”
  • I must not be someone different than I intended to be. I’m a professor, a mom, a good daughter, a kind person, and a serious thinker. That’s who I am, and there are some things you just have to accept.”
    • “Don’t let your expectations of who you are rob you of who you are. Choose awesome. It’s all up to you.”

I Want to Be That Friend For You. 

If you hear yourself say I can’t, I must, I should, I shouldn’t, I’m not able, or it’s impossible, I want you to hear me in your head, giving the old Rainbow Dash battle cry:

Choose awesome. It’s all up to you.

About the author

Dr. Amanda Crowell is a cognitive psychologist and business coach who helps accidental entrepreneurs get more clients and have a bigger impact. She is the author of Great Work, the host of the Unleashing Your Great Work podcast, and the creator of the Great Work Journals. Amanda's TEDx talk has received almost two million views and has been featured on TED's Ideas blog and Ted Shorts. Her ideas have also been featured on NPR, Al Jazeera, The Wall Street Journal, Quartz, and Thrive Global.