When I Grow Up...

Remember when we were kids and used to dream of what we wanted to be when we grew up? What no one told us, is that as adults, a lot of us would still be trying to figure out who we were and what we wanted to do even after we were ‘grown up’. You see, there’s no handbook for life and we’re taught to believe we’ll grow up, figure ourselves out and live happily ever after. Except, it doesn’t really work that way at all. We are way more complex than that and so our lives, what we enjoy, our goals, all of that will change (probably a few times in our lives). That’s OK, it doesn’t mean we’ve failed or we’re lost, all it means is that your path looks different from the next person’s, and honestly, I think that’s the point.

Many assume that success is the result of some secret formula that only a select few have figured out; I'll share that secret with you. Are you ready? The secret is.....there ISN'T ONE! That's right, there is really very little mystery to pursuing one's dreams and achieving success. There is, however, an unbelievable amount of hard work, dedication, determination and drive required. But, and here's the key, work doesn't have to be a four letter word, not when it's getting you a step closer to your dream.

For me, I found my passion totally by accident. I had just been diagnosed with a chronic illness and was struggling with unrelenting feelings of fear, anger, uncertainty, frustration; you name it, I was feeling it. This started me out on a journey of self exploration, because I was beginning to realize in 3 decades on this earth, I didn’t know who the heck I was and I had been living to fulfill what others wanted for me instead of what I wanted. Looking back on this now, I’m so grateful for getting sick (I know, but I really mean it), because it forced me to stop ‘going through the motions’ and start truly living.

 On this journey, I took time to get to know myself. Who was I, what did I like, believe, and, knowing that so much I had always taken for granted would now forever be out of my control because of my illness, what really mattered, and what didn’t. Instead of constantly asking 'WHY', I started asking 'WHY NOT'. From that journey, I found a new sense of focus, all the unimportant stuff melted away and for the first time I could clearly see ME and the path ahead. With this clarity came a decisiveness and a joy that I never thought possible. Instead of waiting for an opportunity, I decided to start making my own.

While I can only say what worked for me in my situation, here are some tips that I hope you will find helpful:

1. Be honest, I mean REALLY honest with yourself. What do you like to do and what is just not a good fit for you?

2. Be realistic, I know, it's not fun, but its necessary. Every dream, every passion, must have an element of realism. Not every path to your ideal career is for you, but there is one that's right, you just have to find it.

3. Be confident, it makes all the difference. For me, pushing myself (kicking and screaming) out of my comfort zone was both the hardest and best thing I have ever done.

4. Be yourself, because nothing will work if you do not embrace your own inherent value. After all, YOU are the one that determined your passion, YOU are the one that decided to pursue it, and YOU are the one that will make it a success.

Perfection is Overrated

Raise your hand if you know exactly who you are and your life is perfect (pause for hand raising).... ok, so if you are sitting there grinning at your screen with your hand raised, this blog post isn’t for you. Now, for the rest of us, sitting there wondering if anyone raised their hand, because we didn't, please continue reading.

Life is a beautifully imperfect journey for which there is no road map or GPS. Why? Because people are not perfect, no one, ever, especially not those that claim to be perfect. And that's the great thing about life, we're all imperfect and trying our best to navigate through life while balancing the pressures and demands the world often imposes. Today, more than ever, there is unbelievable pressure to be the best, to have the newest everything, and to make the most money.

We are constantly bombarded with images of so-called perfection that make us question our lives, happiness, and own value. But really, I think the path to happiness and living a full life is to stop trying to be everything to everyone, just be YOU. That's the only person you are meant to be, and you are the most perfect version of you, flaws and all, because you are the only YOU. We are, each of us, our own unique masterpiece and it's time to embrace that.

Getting to Know Yourself is essential to being happy and finding direction. Most of the time we tend to conform to the ideals placed upon us, who others think we should be and what they think we should want. But trust me, some day, when all of those people have moved on to something else, you will still be YOU, so why not build a life that YOU want, be the person you want to be. Take a look in the mirror (ladies, do this with no makeup on, I mean it), see yourself, and ask yourself who are you really? If you are who you want to be, great; if not, that's also great because the fact is each day is a brand new opportunity. While you're looking in the mirror, be sure to tell yourself 3 things you love about you, this is best as a daily exercise.

Part of getting to know yourself means taking some time to really think about what you like, and don't like as well as what you need. In this modern era of instant everything we have become fearful of introspection and quiet, but they are the keys to simplicity and peaceful happiness. We readily take time to criticize and judge ourselves, but almost never take the time to praise ourselves. Just starting each day with a positive affirmation can change your entire outlook and generates positive energy without even trying.

This takes time... life is not a movie or a short story solved in 2 hours or less, getting to truly know yourself takes time and patience. It also means accepting that over time, you change. Goals that were once everything to you, in time may become less important, this is because each interaction and experience you have helps shape who you are. As people, we are not static, but instead changing and evolving entities.

Ultimately, true happiness and joy come from within.

 

Overcoming Fear - The Four Letter Word

Overcoming Fear - The Four Letter Word

To start overcoming your fears, we first have to redefine fear. Sounds a little ambitious, I know. The fear most of us know is what the dictionary defines as an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.