Sometimes you have to fight for what you want in life. That fight might mean living up to expectations – your own or other’s.

Last week, I met a remarkable young woman. In fact, she brought tears to my eyes. She contacted me about career coaching and we met at a local coffee shop.

We began our discussion with a mini coaching session where she talked about her big dream of working in a career that she was passionate about. She had an idea about what industry it might be in but had faced a challenge along the way.

As we spoke, she confided that she had a learning disability that reared its ugly head in her senior year in college – so much so she changed her major to graduate. Her new major landed her in a position where the pay was dramatically different (under $10/hr.) from what she would have earned.

Clearly, she was unsettled and wanted more in her life. Challenges were just that…they were not barriers. She had big dreams and determination to fight for what she wants.

It gives me pause to think about what makes you give up and what makes you fight for the big dream that you have. Is it an internal drive or is it living up to expectations that may be influenced by family or other important people in your life? Is one stronger than the other?

When I asked her about what drives her, she talked about what her siblings had accomplished and that she wanted to be just as productive and successful. How many times has that standard played in your head?

As the oldest of three kids, I was the trail blazer so I did not measure myself against older siblings. However, I did hold a standard determined by my father’s accomplishments.

I recall feeling like I needed to measure up and did everything I could to excel in my career. The barometer was clear and at every promotion or career move I made, I looked for confirmation that I was on the right track.

It was not until many years later that I told my parents about the expectations that I had set for myself believing that was what they wanted. Their response: “They wanted me to be happy in whatever I did”.

I have no doubt that the young woman I met will be successful in what she does – because she is living up to expectations of herself and not letting anything stop her from getting it.