“Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits” – Thomas Edison.
What’s the point of living if not to follow your dreams?
This morning I looked back at the second post I wrote on this site. I had absolutely no direction for my blog, but I knew I wanted to write. At the time of writing the post, I had recently quit my corporate job and was bartending with no idea of how to get paid to do the things I love. The only skills that I had been paid for at that point were sales and account management.
In my second post ever, I wrote about faith. I wrote about life constantly testing my resilience and determination while I was attempting to construct a life that felt aligned with my passions and personal truth.
Little did I know that life would continue to intensify this test for the next 7 months. Little did I know that it would wipe out my emergency fund and push me to my rock bottom before giving me a glimpse of hope.
But 7 months later, here I am in a new beginning toward a life I can feel proud of and passionate about every day. When I look at where I am now, I wonder how this could have possibly happened. But truthfully, I know what I went through to receive these opportunities. I know the difficult decisions I had to make over and over again to get here. I still have a long way to go, but there were a few significant lessons I learned in the past few months that changed my life forever.
It wasn’t easy. I wanted to give up every other day. It still isn’t easy, but it is worth it. Below are 7 of the main lessons I learned along the way.
1. The high of ‘following your dreams’ will wear off
There is such an intense feeling of being high off life when you commit to following your dreams. The high is powerful and it feels incredible, but you’re eventually going to come back down to earth. You’ll start to notice yourself feeling unsure, confused, and lost.
You might notice a voice creeping in to tell you that you might not have what it takes to get to where you want to be. This is where building self-trust comes in handy. Committing to follow through on the small promises you make to yourself is a powerful tool to get your mind confident at shutting down your insecurities.
2. You need more than motivation to push you forward
I’m a HUGE fan of motivating quotes, videos, and songs. There’s no better feeling than being jacked up to achieve or complete something. But relying on motivators to get you through won’t always work.
Motivation is for quitters.
You won’t always feel motivated, and the days that you feel the worst are the days you need to get up and do it anyway. This is where the practice of discipline comes in handy. Mel Robbins’ 5-second rule is a fantastic tool to use if you’re facing challenges in self-discipline.
3. Your support system matters now more than ever
To be honest, I’ve never had so few friends in my life. I’m lucky to have an incredible family and a boyfriend who keep me centered and sane, but I’ve completely changed my social life. When trying to shift into the best version of you, people who liked the old version might not come for the ride.
It’s important to note that anyone who makes you feel poorly about trying to improve yourself is someone that should be removed from your life. If that’s not a viable option, then you should limit your time with those people or attempt to block out the opinions they provide (which is terribly difficult).
A longtime friend or parent who is wary of your wellbeing and trying to give you advice is very different than someone who is reflecting their own pain onto you and discouraging your progress. The sense to know the difference takes a high level of self-confidence, compassion, and the ability to take criticism.
4. When you have a vision that lights you up, don’t give up on it
Don’t give up. Even if you’ve been derailed and failed a million times- life is just showing you a different way to get to where you want to be. Just because you’ve been forced into a different route doesn’t mean the end goal will be any less fulfilling. Stay true to the feelings you want to feel in your work, the results you want to achieve, and the impact you want to make.
As long as you have a good understanding of that (your personal mission statement), you’ll be able to roll with the changes and let life guide you to the outcome that’s right for you. If you stay to laser-focused on a ‘plan’, you might miss a better opportunity that life is attempting to redirect you toward. Get to know yourself and your why (thanks Simon Sinek) so you can have a guiding light toward your dreams.
5. Be patient with yourself
It takes time to change the habits you’ve spent your whole life building. Consistent effort is needed to change the stories you’ve been repeating to yourself since early childhood.
What are the stories you tell yourself? Are you a victim, are you a conqueror, do things never go your way, do you tell yourself that hard work equals success, do you tell yourself that more money brings more problems?
Pay close attention to the stories you tell yourself. See if you notice a story that causes you pain or hinders your growth. Look back and see where that story started. Notice it. Accept it. Then, MOVE ON from it to allow yourself to become who you aspire to be. Don’t let something that happened to you when you were 7, cause you to react like a 7-year-old any time a slight resemblance to that event arises. It’s time to move on and step into the new version of yourself.
Even if you’re stuck trying to change a small part of yourself, don’t get defeated and give up on growth. Keep moving forward. Keep trying new tactics. A consistent pattern I’ve noticed my life as well as in my research of the psychology of successful people is that as soon as you’re beaten to the ground and ready to give up, is exactly when you should push harder because the light is right around the next bend. Change is hard, growth takes effort, and becoming the person you dream to be takes time.
Personal face-palm moment
Recently, in a high-stress turn of events in my personal life, I found myself sitting on the floor, acting like a 6-year-old, crying (face-palm emoji). I was questioned about an event that required me to provide an answer that would cause a high-level of distress for the inquisitor… So, I gave a white lie in my response and I was quickly caught in it. It was so ridiculous too! There was no reason to lie. But at that moment, I made a poor decision to try and foolishly control what I wanted that person to feel in the short-term, and I risked the long-term trust and security that person felt for me.
My deep desire to not disappoint my parents as a 6-year-old, and the quick fix of a white lie, was apparent in my 26-year-old self and my adult relationships. That was one of the biggest wakeup calls I’ve ever experienced. I didn’t realize I still had the capability to act so juvenile. That event transformed me as a person and forced me to choose from two paths, I could either ignore it and go on as I was, or pay close attention to this habit and work in every moment to forbid its existence.
If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll notice a few moments when your inner child reacts to a situation in the worst possible manner. Your weakest moments are usually the greatest opportunity for growth. It’s absolutely vital to be patient in your pursuit of becoming the person you want to be.
6. Rework your thoughts about failure
Failure shouldn’t be defined in anyone’s life as something to be afraid of. Reworking your thoughts about failure provides the ability to be relentless in your pursuit. If you don’t accomplish what you expected to, or you if you blow it on a project you put significant effort into, then it’s time to pivot and find a new way to achieve what you desire. I’m not suggesting to give up on what you’re chasing and find a different goal.
I’m suggesting to notice what caused the failure, and adjust your actions and habits so a new result can be found. Failure is simply a tool life uses to redirect you to the correct path or to teach you how to better manage your current obstacles.
We learn more from our failures than our successes. If you think of failure as a tool, you’ll have the ability to look at the failure, see where you went wrong, and improve so you never make the mistake again. Failure is instrumental in our growth and it’s the only way to learn how to succeed.
7. Pick up a practice, mantra or workout that gets you feeling centered and calm.
I have all three, and I believe having all three got me through the temptations to give up. My practice calms my mind (90-second breathing technique and yoga), my mantra helps me remove the anxiety that is triggered by my deep-rooted fears, and my workout helps me release left-over tension.
I have multiple practices, multiple mantras, and multiple difference workouts to keep my mind in the right place so I can confidently follow my dreams without looking back.
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You might also like:
How to get what you want: here
Using emotional intelligence (EQ) to change your life: here
90-second anxiety relief and sleep aid: here
Thanks for this post. Some great points here about needing support systems when things get tough. I’ve recently restarted my blog posts after a long layoff, and returned to my original theme. I’m feeling good about it now, but realise that there will be some times when I’ll have to dig deep to get my content out there.
I can’t agree with you more. It’s a great to feel good about the direction of your blog, I’m happy for you. I read your recent post about consuming news in the morning, and went through the same exact thing. I no longer watch the news in the morning- I listen to helpful podcasts surrounding things I’m eager to learn more about, and am very careful of the content I consume by choice. It makes an incredible difference. I got worried about feeling unaware of world affairs as well, but it seems that I always am up to date in some way. Good luck on the journey!