Do you want to be happy? Are you willing to face what it is that holds you back from that? Are you willing to take a look in the mirror and get real with what's keeping you from living the life of your dreams?
I thought I was. I thought I was the self-development guru. I knew all the lines - that in order to be successful, I'd have to fail many, many times. That I would have to be okay with looking like a fool and that I would have to get real with who I wanted to be, not what I thought others would like from me. I thought I had it all down.
But, I suppose life is never quite done teaching you its greatest lessons. Sometimes, you have to learn the same thing over and over again to what feels like 80 times. Sometimes, we get so stubborn that we can't even see that we are causing our own suffering, our own pain.
I was recently talking with a friend about being a "gritty" person. I'm one hell of a gritty person. I have realized that I can survive just about anything. I might look sweet, but believe me, I'm tougher than most grown men. A lot of my close friends would say the same.
BUT, I'm also harder on myself than just about anyone out there. I do this, because I care. I care so deeply and I so deeply want to make an impact in this world. Once I know what direction I'm headed in, honey, I'm an unstoppable force. But, I guess life brought me to a point where I felt like I needed to change something and yet I had already exhausted all options. I felt like I had tried every damn thing in order to make things better.
I wasn't happy with my new life. I had moved to the wonderful city of Chicago, but I just knew that something wasn't right. I didn't feel like I was fulfilled at work, didn't know if I belonged where I was and just questioned every dang thing. I've always known that my emotions are like a gauge, always telling me which way to go next. However, I just felt plain stuck. I felt like I had put myself out there to make a change and time and time again, I'd get my hopes up to no avail.
Perhaps it was "Shiny Object Syndrome" like my life coach Sheila Petersen had mentioned, where everything else sounds like the next best thing. I thought I had figured out that I needed a change and now I just needed to make things happen. Work hard enough to get the results you want. Simple, right?
Oh, yet again, I was mistaken. The harder I worked towards making a change, the more it ended up hurting me. I mean c'mon. I'm very confident, but any one person can only face so many failed attempts. I had to face my demons. Once and for all.
Maybe you're not being treated like you feel you deserve at work. Maybe you don't understand why you haven't met the man or woman of your dreams yet. Maybe you feel like your friends always turn their back on you. Whatever the case may be, I, myself, was notorious for being a gritty person and saying, "work harder", "be better" and good things will come your way.
Sometimes, we just haven't faced that we are working hard enough, but we are failing to face what bothers us most in life. We all have insecurities, but some of us have made it up in our head that we are just going to keep on going with the self-deprecating thoughts or words. We are just going to keep hurting ourselves internally, because we just can't see when enough it enough.
To all you gritty people out there, I ask you, "Are you working harder in order to avoid what it is that really bothers you deep down?" We all have demons, but some of us never face them. The funny thing is we work harder thinking we are facing them, when we are really just focusing on something we've already mastered.
Perhaps you feel like you don't know how to stand up for yourself. Perhaps you feel like you aren't that good-looking. Perhaps you feel ungodly intimidated by certain people and your anxiety is at an all-time high. Whatever the case may be, you've got to decide ONCE & FOR ALL that you're not going to let these shortcomings rule your life anymore.
You're going to face what it is that bothers you. That sensitive subject that you literally could run away screaming from. Oh, but deep down it keeps on bothering you. I think it's time to pony up and look in the mirror. I'm not saying that you should blame yourself some more. HELL NO!
I'm saying you've got to decide what you're going to change, whether that be your negative thoughts or the way you let idiots get to you. Then, once you've done that, you've got to say SCREW IT. I don't deserve to live a life of suffering. Once I've done all I can, that's it. I'm going to be confident and own who I am. I'm going to be true to that woman (not society, not a man, not anyone else), because, let's face it, it hurts to be anything but ourselves. I mean it physically hurts.
And just like that, a whole new world opens up. You're not going to put up with the BS any longer. Done. You're on to better things. Laugh a little longer, cry a little harder, but realize that you're going to face it all. The good, the bad and the ugly. And it's going to be one hell of a ride. A life far from perfect, but a life well-lived.
There are some people in this world that get so hung up on what other people are doing, how they dress and what they eat for breakfast that you would think they should be arrested for stalking.
Isn’t it strange how those are the people who aren’t going very far themselves or are living a life that is rather empty. They aren’t hungry. They are just getting by and probably complaining while doing so.
Why should their opinion matter? If you’re going anywhere, you must remove their depressing outlook on life from your viewpoint and do so quickly.
To do great things, you can’t be just like the rest of ‘em, darling. You’ve got to act, think and be different than the majority. Yes, you’ll undoubtedly face questioning from others that simply don’t get you. And you have to be okay with that.
You have to get to a point where their opinion of what you’re doing simply doesn’t matter.
You just don’t give a damn, because you know that their negative spin pales in comparison to your mission in life.
When you’re truly hungry, you’re laser-focused on what it is that you’re after.
You’re on a mission that doesn’t include taking a pitstop to hear more of their nonsense. Whether it be gossip, uninformed opinions or anything that pulls you away from your dream, don’t you dare entertain that kind of BS.
The rules are the same: If you’re holding me back from my vision and what matters to me, see you later/never.
Show no mercy. Show no mercy to those who only pull you back from what lights your soul on fire.
Often, the opinions of people closest to us are the ones that are holding us back. We get comfortable in thinking the same way as they do, because it’s convenient. It’s a hell of a lot easier to agree with your community than it is to disagree.
But, I argue that you must draw the line, once and for all, for what matters to you and who you’re becoming. While you may think that people like that are being there for you, they’re actually talking you out of your dreams, because they never had the guts to go for theirs.
You’ve got to keep moving without them, no matter how much you think they mean to you.
If you’re not satisfied with where you’re at in life, take a step back and ask yourself, “Do I care too much about what the people around me think and not enough about what truly matters?”
A company without vision is one that is going nowhere fast. Much the same, an individual without sight of who they hope to become will not end up very far. Yet, is it possible to know the best path to go down? Certainly, not always.
At times, life can feel like you are lost at sea without any inclination of which direction to go. No clues, no easy button, just time that is slowly slipping away. One could see this possibility as a wonderful opportunity to reinvent who they become. The options are endless. But, sometimes that feeling of endless possibilities can become overwhelming and much more daunting than a well laid-out course.
Thus, one solution is to pinpoint others that have gone before you and created a life that you desire. If you don’t know specifically which direction to go, why not decide who it is that you want to become? This way, you can dissect what it is that these individuals did differently that ultimately set them apart from the crowd.
In effect, your role model could be someone that you have only read about or someone within your company that you look up to. In fact, having a wide variety of individuals that you can connect with in different ways can serve to teach many life lessons. Whether it be reading a book of theirs or actually getting to know them as a person, having these leaders in some form in your life is critical to reaching your own potential.
Otherwise, you get lost in the crowd and end up doing what everyone else is doing for no particular reason. This ultimately results in a watered-down version of yourself and who really wants that? By following someone else’s lead, you take the first step down a path that makes more sense to you.
This is not to say that you cannot decide to change directions and forge your own path along the way. But, at least by taking the first step to learn from others, your path becomes clearer. You start to make decisions intentionally instead of just letting life happen to you. You have a greater purpose to why you do what you do.
And even though you might not know it, you are probably a role model for someone else. So, make sure that what you are teaching is something worth learning...You never know who could actually be listening.
People tend to believe that successful individuals were born with natural charisma or innate talent. They see the end product and take it at pure face value. But, often the most successful people faced some of this world’s greatest challenges. It was what they did in response to life’s struggles that ultimately set them apart.
One way to greatly increase your chances of success lies in the widely dreaded act of public speaking. Yes, learn this and you will undoubtedly stand out. But, what if you’re simply too shy? That getting up in front of a crowd is simply not your forte? Well, I am here to tell you that public speaking is a skill that can be learned, not simply a trait that you are either born with or not.
I say this because I remember as a little girl feeling, at times, overwhelmed with shyness. This feeling of intimidation was centered around my fear of messing up. I always wanted to do a good job, because I cared so much. Yet, if we let our shyness get in the way of life, we might not "lean in" as Sheryl Sandberg notes. So, despite my shyness, I was incredibly motivated to have a “voice” and truly stand out.
Knowing that I wanted to matter and be heard, I quickly resolved to do an excellent job at a speech I was assigned to in class. I simply decided to kick butt when it was finally my time to shine (Note that when you finally decide to drop the excuses in life, things become a heck of a lot easier). So, I went up in front of the class and did exactly what I had resolved to do: I spoke with great confidence and many of my fellow classmates complimented me after.
I am definitely no pro at public speaking, but now, it is something that I often look forward to. Whenever I get the opportunity to speak my mind on a topic that I care about, I take it as a great opportunity to both prove others wrong that ever doubted my intelligence and to stand out.
I’m telling you, learn how to become a better public speaker and you will, undoubtedly, open up countless doors!
In reference to James Altucher, “You don’t need 10,000 hours at anything to be the best. You just need to pretty good at something (a couple of 100 hours) and then you need to know how to give a good talk in public. Because so few people want to talk in public so you will stand out.”
So, it seems that public speaking is the slacker’s easy way out in life! You may not always need expertise to be the leader you’ve always dreamt of becoming.
Below are five of the best tips that I have come across on how to master public speaking:
1. Define Your Purpose:
When you decide what it is that you want your audience to get out of your speech, there will be less pressure to persuade them that you are a great public speaker. Take the pressure off of being flawless and insert your purpose for being there.
Remember, we are selfish human beings. When we are listening to someone talk, we want to know how their message can help us in our own lives. Give the audience what they want by speaking in order to help them in some way. When your speech has a greater purpose, you will be more inclined to get up there and spread your message.
2. Do Not Memorize Words; Memorize the Message
Memorizing a speech word for word will not only make you sound dull and monotone, but it will increase your risk of messing up. If you get caught in one area, then you will not easily be able to get back into your flow.
However, if you understand the general concepts you want to portray, then you can speak with charisma and flow naturally. REMEMBER, CONCEPTS, not WORDS!
3. Watch Your Body Lingo
Around 90% of your message is non-verbal...And you thought public speaking was all about speaking!
Body language comes down to multiple factors, but among them, here are a few:
a. Facial Expression
b. Vocal Tonality
c. How you use your hands
d. How you carry yourself
So, instead of just focusing on the words or the verbal message, watch yourself in the mirror or record yourself on video beforehand. This way, you will be able to more easily pinpoint what you are doing wrong or right.
Remember, our body language reveals how we are feeling more than our words do, so strike a power pose before the speech! At the very least, be aware of if you appear open or closed off to others. It is natural to be nervous, but to combat this, try to fake it til you make it!
4. Simplify Your Slides
Who wants to read a paragraph on your slides? No one in their right mind!
Viewing a Powerpoint is NOT what most people choose to do on a Saturday night, so don’t let it take the main stage in your performance.
Your slides should assist in telling your message. They should not overpower you. Creating nice visuals and key takeaways will make all of the difference in your overall presentation. Your powerpoint should merely help in telling your story. Don't let it be what the audience is focused on more than you!
5. Never Think That Your Advice Will Work for Everyone
Only a fool would think that their advice would be the best method in everyone’s situation. It is not right to simply give the audience a summary of how to do things YOUR WAY. This will not only bore them, but they might actually listen and be led down the wrong path.
Instead, tell a story! Telling a story gives them context and a true lesson to be taken away. Furthermore, telling stories not only helps to teach a lesson, but it also humanizes you as the speaker.
You are already in charge and commanding a room. This places you on a pedestal above the audience. Now, you need to find a way to connect with the audience and emotions do that. Once you tell a story, you speak to their soul, instead of just their brain. That, they will remember!
And, believe me, you want to be memorable.
Your single greatest opportunity in life might come down to how you present yourself in a few minutes, so will you be ready?
Gallo, C. (n.d.). How Speaking Skills Turned A Common Man Into An Uncommon Success. Retrieved March 21, 2015, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/carminegallo/2015/03/20/how-speaking-skills-turned-a-common-man-into-an-uncommon-success
Altucher, J. (n.d.). How To Be The Best Public Speaker on the Planet. Retrieved March 17, 2015, from http://www.jamesaltucher.com/2013/10/how-to-be-the-best-public-speaker-on-the-planet
Millenials: We are told that we can do anything in this world if we set our minds to it. We have seen and studied the successes of others that came before us, whether that be the Zuckerberg’s or Job’s of the world. We are unafraid and want to not only contribute, but to change the way things are done. The dreams among us are plentiful.
These vivid dreams of future success have painted great expectations in our minds. Expectations to be wonderful innovators: confident and fearless. In the past, when we put on that new suit, our cocky college selves smiled at the idea of our great potential. “Oh the places you will go…,” we thought.
And we are used to getting things NOW. In a world of convenience and immediacy, we seek constant feedback. It is not only that we want instant communication, but we want to truly be heard. Due to the surge and popularity of social media, we can express ourselves to thousands via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter at any given moment. The power of reaching out to millions across the planet lies within our pockets in a little gadget called the iPhone.
If we have a question, then we can find the answer in a few seconds on Google. If we want to buy a new outfit for Friday, there is no need to get in the car and drive to the mall. Why not just do a little online shopping from the comfort of your own home? Oh and that restaurant you were planning to go to this weekend: make sure to look on Yelp to see what reviews it got before wasting your time at a one-star location.
So, here we are, out in the so-called Real World, ready to take it on. Yet, things might not have turned out like we pictured…
We visualized success. We visualized “finding ourselves” and our little niche where we could shine. “Just find out what it is that you are uniquely good at and go for it!” they told us. Well, that picture in our heads and our current life status might not be the same thing after all. So, for all you slightly lost Millenials out there, here is my advice on how to keep your future expectations high while remaining at peace now:
1. When Visualizing Great Success, You Must Also Visualize Great Obstacles:
Did you know that those that simply visualize great success, whether that be weight loss or a great career are less likely to get it. So, if you think that just creating a vision board of Ferrari’s & big mansions is the way to success, you thought wrong. That is what I like to call day-dreaming and while it does have its benefits of weighing potential outcomes, it can be detrimental if that is all that you do.
INSTEAD, when you visualize where you want to end up, you must also recognize all of the obstacles and failures along that path. Otherwise, you are vastly underestimating what it takes and are getting your hopes up only to be let down.
Do not get caught up in a trap of daydreaming.
Do not expect immediate success.
Do not expect others to pat you on the back or hold your hand.
EXPECT it to take a long time. Expect others to doubt you. Expect them to be consumed with themselves and unwilling to help you. Expect life to be unfair. This awareness will help you to be prepared for anything that life can throw at you. Then, you can react accordingly.
This is not to say that you should associate with those that are not willing to give you a helping hand. You absolutely should surround yourself with positive people and you should thank them greatly. But, understand that not everyone out there is going to have your back and that is just how it is. You appreciate those that do and tell them that.
2. Fall in Love With the Process
You must break your dreams down into measurable goals. What will your life look like in order to achieve your dreams? With the end goal in mind, map out what your days should look like to get there. If you want to one day own your own business, understand that what you do today is affecting whether or not you get there. Cause and Effect: it is that simple.
While it is impossible to plan things out perfectly, you should realize the basic steps that it will take in order to achieve your end goal. Whether that be networking, learning a skill on the side or saving up a set amount of money, you must map it out. Then, you can decide whether the end goal is worth all the sacrifice or not. Write it down and stop daydreaming.
3. Listen to Your Emotions
If you keep chasing someone else’s dream, you will never truly be happy. Success looks different for everyone. One person may desire to run an IT consulting firm while another may want to manage a farm. We are all different and have different expectations. So, stop listening to what others want and start listening to your gut.
Your own intuition will tell you where to go. This does not mean that it is always going to be a clear path. You might feel extremely lost at times (I know I have) and not know where to go. But, that is all part of life. It is about reacting to life the best way you know how. Just make sure that you are reacting according to your principles and your goals, instead of someone else’s.
4. Check Your Ego
Stop thinking that you deserve the world.
You deserve to be happy.
You deserve to live a life of purpose.
You deserve to contribute to others’ lives.
You never know how much of a difference you are already making in someone else’s life. Sometimes, the smallest compliment can make such a huge difference in another’s life that you would never realize. Do not underestimate the importance of what you are doing right now and those lives you are already touching.
So, be confident. Decide to be confident. Now. It will make such a huge difference in your life in almost every aspect. Just be confident because it is what you deserve and it will make your life so much easier. But, check your ego at the door. What you want is going to take hard work and there is not enough room for hard work and your ego, so stay humble. People like that.
5. Understand That What Matters Most is Your Character
After all, you could accumulate millions and lose it all in a day. It has happened many times before. If you base your happiness solely off of your current success, then you might never feel truly fulfilled. Instead, congratulate yourself on who you are as a person. Become an individual of high character. THAT, they cannot take away from you.
So, here's to us, Millenials: May we keep our dreams big and get there one DAY at a time.
By Guest Author: Jenna Brewer
If college is the last few years of freedom before the real world, then why is it so damn stressful?
Aside from all of the sleepless nights of studying, figuring out one’s future, arguably before one knows who they truly are, can also prove to be a bit stressful. Unless you are one of the fortunate few who know exactly what they were born to do with the rest of their lives (News Flash: Life doesn’t care about your plans), the panic will have definitely ensued by your senior year. I have some advice for you: Stop worrying about planning out your life!
Make no mistake. Planning is awesome. Remember that time freshman year when you were feeling rebellious and decided to wing that speech about urban sprawl? The topic somehow ventured over to how adorable newborn calves are. (Oh wait, that was me.) Needless to say, nixing the art of planning is definitely not the message I am trying to send. Some of life’s biggest hassles could be avoided simply by putting more effort into establishing a plan. However, life itself is not something one can plan out.
In my twenty one years, one of my most boastful qualities I possess is the fact that I realize I don’t really know anything. I don’t know where I’m going to live in five years. I don’t know what my career is going to be. I do know one thing, though, and it is incredibly important. Whatever I do, I am going to work my butt off for the moment, and it will undoubtedly pay off for the future. Good things don’t come to those who wait for opportunities. Good things come to those who create them from anything.
Instead of trying to plan out your life, create a motto for yourself that you choose to live by no matter the situation. Set goals, but don’t become discouraged if the road to get there has a few bumps, or potholes, or maybe that road leads to a dead-end.
To relate this back to college, there is no denying that there is a definite need to think about your future. Take things seriously, and take every opportunity you can to prepare yourself to be as marketable as possible. The mistake too many people make, myself included, is having a meltdown if things do not go as expected.
Case in point, I was completely sure that I was PERFECT for the intern position I applied for, and was already looking forward to accepting the offer. When your personal job outlook paints yourself as overly qualified and a shoe-in for the spot, life has a way of knocking you down a notch or two real quick. (Mistake numero uno: Confidence, people, not cockiness.)
Needless to say, I never got so much as an email back, and was literally crying in the library feeling sorry for myself, thinking I was a failure. (Hence, Mistake #2, and #3). Rejection is a part of life, and as future college grads, it is probably time we realize that. That intern opportunity was awesome, and yes I would have probably killed for it, but the very next week I was working on my laptop in Starbucks when, by chance, a former classmate offered me a position to intern for another amazing organization.
The moral of the story is, don’t let life get you down when it doesn’t go as planned. Cliché, I know, but oh so true. Life is all about taking opportunities as they come and relentlessly bettering yourself in the meantime. I don’t believe there are soulmates out there created just for us, I believe we choose our own soulmates and invest as much as we choose to in a relationship. The same goes for our careers. I am so glad there is not one predestined career path for me that I absolutely have to take, because that would be so boring. I love the excitement of not knowing, and as long as I am living my life in a way that I can be proud of when I look back, that’s all that matters.
The tale of the American Dream has brought in millions upon millions of immigrants to the United States for years. Its promises of a better life have captured the hearts of countless hungry individuals who know the true meaning of hard work. Immigrants, like Sergey Brin, who founded Google and Jan Koum, who cofounded Whatsapp, have showcased real-life stories of “rags to riches” by deploying a certain set of tactics that others simply did not have.
Undoubtedly, there is something to be learned by studying the lives of these individuals and others like them who had the guts to embark on a new journey far from home. Detailed below are 5 tips that we all can learn from with or without leaving the comfort of your own home:
1. Stay Hungry
A common theme among some of the most successful immigrants is that they came from nothing. Andrew Ly, owner of Sugar Bowl Bakery, has quite the story. Coming to the U.S. with just a dollar to his name, Ly settled in San Francisco where he lived for years with eight other family members in a two-bedroom apartment. During this time, he gradually learned to speak English as he attended classes.
Years later in 1984, Ly and his four brothers pooled their money to open Sugar Bowl Bakery. Since then, the company has seen great success and expanded to become a $400 million dollar business (Feloni). Not so bad for coming to The States with just a buck.
In effect, it seems that too many of us have simply become too comfortable. While this is far from the truth for some individuals, it is important to reflect on how many things you feel automatically entitled to. If you are not willing to give up certain aspects of your life, you will never reach your full potential. Ask yourself what you are willing to sacrifice. If it isn't that much, then don't expect that much success.
2. Trust Your Senses
Upon moving to a foreign place, you are forced to adapt in many ways to the way things are in that location. Things that seemed normal before may be totally out of place in your new destination. Thus, you have to rely a lot on your natural instincts to get you through.
Body language is a universal language that we all speak. Learning its parameters can help to distinguish how others around you are feeling; whether, they trust you or are feeling apprehensive. This not only helps in making new friends, but in making deals in the boardroom. Learning how to understand others, no matter where they are from, can help you to connect on a much deeper level. This could end up either costing you a huge opportunity or landing you an amazing gig.
3. Build Relationships that Feel like Family
As an immigrant, you likely do not have as many family members as others to rely upon. Thus, you are forced to become self-reliant. But in order to reach real success, you MUST build lasting relationships with others. Being so far from home, you often cherish these relationships that much more. You learn to not take people for granted, because without them you cannot survive.
Further, you learn to ask for help from others. Without having the relationships or knowledge of how business is done in a new place, you must consult with experts that know much more than you. This not only saves time in the long run, but it helps in developing deeper relationships that can help you in times of need. Leaning on others forms bonds that run much deeper than simply completing day-to-day business.
4. Let Your Success Be Part of a Bigger Picture
Many successful immigrants have shown that they have an overarching guiding light that leads them down a much more purpose-driven path. Whether it be to make a certain amount of money to give to their family or to simply have a better life than those that came before them, they establish one predominant goal that directs all others below it.
This one main dream is what keeps them waking up at the crack of dawn when others are still sleeping. It reminds them of why they came here. It is why they do not give up when countless others have thrown in the towel. This goal does not have to be complex. Contrarily, it is merely something real that speaks to them louder than anything else that seems to matter, but, in the end, is only secondary.
5. Always Remember Your Roots
Lastly, it is incredibly important to stay true to who you are as a person, no matter where you find yourself living. Do not sacrifice your morals or your true personality in order to reach success. It is far greater to take pride in your roots and what values brought you to where you are today than to try to impress others with your success. After all, success built on self-serving motives is quite unappealing. It is rather lonely at the top when you have stepped on others to get there. Always stay true to who you are and be proud of where you came from!
Therefore, next time you embark upon a goal, think of how much others in the past had to sacrifice in order to reach their dreams. Let this push you further than you ever imagined. After all, if they could make things happen in a completely foreign country, you can surely take advantage of all of the opportunities that you were handed.
"To be a champion, I think you have to see the big picture. It's not about winning and losing; it's about every day hard work and about thriving on a challenge. It's about embracing the pain that you'll experience at the end of the race and not being afraid. I think people think too hard and get afraid of a certain challenge." - Summer Sanders
"Adopt an Immigrant Mindset to Advance Your Career." Harvard Business Review. August 24, 2012. Accessed December 16, 2014. https://hbr.org/2012/08/adopt-an-immigrant-mindset-to/.
Feloni, Eric. "12 Immigrants Who Came To America With Nothing And Made A Fortune." Business Insider. February 25, 2014. Accessed December 16, 2014. http://www.businessinsider.com/american-dream-immigrants-made-a-fortune-in-the-us-2014-2?op=1
"Summer Sanders | Easy Choices for a Better Life." Summer Sanders Home Comments. Accessed December 17, 2014. http://www.summersanders.net/.
After graduating college, I was DETERMINED to move to a big city. Why you ask? After all, I was extremely proud (and still am) to have grown up on a farm, where I learned what really matters in life. If you have not grown up in this type of setting, it is hard to explain. All of my neighbors looked out for each other and worked harder than most. Every time I stepped through the front door, I was overcome with joy knowing that I was around to-the-core good people that loved me amongst all of my flaws. They never allowed me to get too big of a head either and that is something that I am eternally grateful for. Honestly, I had it good back home. And I was happy.
But I was hungry.
I was dying to see more of the world in order to gain a new perspective. It was in my heart to make that happen and when I set my mind to something, there is NO STOPPING ME. The only problem was that I slightly underestimated the amount of change I was about to go through upon embarking on this new journey.
In effect, moving to the big city of Chicago was a MAJOR culture shock for me that I was not quite ready for. Between juggling bills for the first time, setting up shop in my new apartment in a new city, trying to meet new people and taking on my first “real” job, I felt a tad bit overwhelmed to say the least.
Perhaps there was a freak-out session or two (Sorry for the phone calls, Mom!).
Particularly, rewind back a few months to college: I was used to having countless resources right at my fingertips as well as plenty of friends to call up if I ever needed anything. I had a community that I belonged to and what a great time it was! It gave me endless confidence to take on the so-called “real world”.
So that very confidence was a bit shaken when I moved to Chicago. Before relocating to the Windy City, deep down, I felt like I was meant to be in a southern city. Austin or Nashville would have been a great marriage of both city and country: what I thought I was. Thus, I became overwhelmed with uncertainty of my decision.
Was I where I belonged? Would I fit in? Would I even SURVIVE?
I was alone and out on my own in an entirely different world. For one, who knew that almost every left turn you make in a big city is on red and you feel like you are about to take out a few pedestrians? Or that grocery stores would have escalators not just for you, but for your shopping cart as well. Yes, a few months later, I have become accustomed to these things, but go back to the beginning and you will find one very seemingly lost girl.
But, I will tell you one thing: I was not lost.
Not at all. You see, when you try to do things that “make sense” in life, you do not always end up where you are meant to be. You do not learn as much because you are simply not pushed to your limits. Instead, you remain in your own point of view, partial to your particularly narrow set of circumstances. You continue to judge others for the way they live their lives, yet you have never stepped out of yours.
So, I challenge you to ask yourself this question: Do you make decisions in life based on where you think you will fit in or do you try things knowing that you might stand out and embrace that very fact? Life does not always have to make sense for it to be worthwhile.
Further, below are seven reasons why you should risk stepping outside of what is comfortable to you:
1. It scares the hell out of you
If you try to avoid all things that scare you in life, are you really living? Or are you just getting by? Hey, life is short Sally and you cannot expect to live a different life by hanging out with the same people in the same places. If you are currently satisfied with where you are at, then alright, but should you ever really be 100% satisfied? While one can argue that it is good to feel content and at peace, there are major benefits to always pushing for more. If you are still breathing, then you still have a purpose. You are not done yet.
And how do you get to where you should be? By being vulnerable and afraid by taking a risk that you repeatedly think about. If your heart continually winds up in the same place, that just might be telling you something. So trust it and dive in already. No one is in charge of taking the plunge, but you.
2. You are forced to be independent
I have always considered myself to be quite independent, but going out on your own really takes that to a whole new level. You finally begin to recognize all that others have done for you in the past and how much you should thank them, because it is not all that easy becoming self-reliant. Thus, thank your parents, friends and whoever has helped you out along the way. You owe it to them.
But, you can also surprise yourself quite a bit: There is a lot more that you can accomplish on your own than you even realize and this can serve to give you great confidence. When you are forced to depend on yourself, things become less wishy-washy. You just have to DO. No excuses; just get out there and work and make things happen. You do not need a rich sugar daddy or sugar mama. You can do this on your own and you will.
3. You are forced to be dependent
One of the marks of maturity is realizing that striving for complete independence is a waste. A wise person understands that there will be times to rely on others and times to find that internal strength. As humans, we must do both.
It is okay to ask for help. This can actually create a better relationship with others. When you seek their advice, this gives them a sense of pride in themselves. Especially when starting out on your own, you will be forced to learn from others. Do not seek to do everything yourself. Instead, find role models and ask for their help. They probably know a thing or two.
4. You find out what you hate
Just because you decide to step outside of your comfort zone does not mean that you will automatically be rewarded with happiness and success. No, this is not the jackpot. This is the journey. And on the journey, you find that not everything is peaches and cream.
You do not have to pretend to like something, just because everyone around you does. It is your right to hate it if you want to! This will help in determining how to shift your path, so let your emotions be your guide.
5. You find out what you love
By exposing yourself to new experiences, you truly recognize what makes you happy as well. And I’m not talking new shoes kind of happy (while that is great). I’m talking about finding and operating in your ZONE: that feeling you get that just simplifies everything else, because you are doing what gives you true peace. You can push out the annoying things that pop up along the way, because you are doing something truly cool and those little things no longer matter.
And maybe that something is different than what you ever even imagined. But, you would never know this unless you took the chance to step outside of what you have always known. So, is it worth it to remain where you are? While it is comfortable, you could be passing up something truly amazing.
6. You find out what matters to you
Dreaming of fame and riches can seem quite appealing, but, in all, it is more empty than anything else. A friend once posed a question to me, “What if we are all trying to chase this brilliant lifestyle when, in all reality, the key to happiness is the simple life?” In my opinion, she could not be more correct. Yes, I have always appreciated nice things and I hope to earn them in due time, but letting that be my gage in life proves to be incredibly unfulfilling.
What does that say about you if what you lead with is money or popularity? To me, it seems rather boring. Life is fleeting. Faster than you or I even know. So, take the time to understand the purpose behind why you do certain things. Is it for the greater good of all? Or is it to appear prestigious? After all, what really matters when you are gone? You can’t take it with you so aim to do things that are greater than skin-deep.
7. You realize that your own opinion of yourself is the one that really matters
I am the same person no matter where I go, yet ask two different people and they could have completely conflicting opinions of who I am. So, what am I to do? Try to please them both? Well, that is how you end up having multiple personalities and I believe that is diagnosed as a mental disorder.
True undying confidence is remaining true to yourself and not thinking twice about what others perceive you as. While it is completely rational to care what others think of you in some situations, if this serves as your guide, then you are giving up the control of your life and placing it in someone else’s hands. Yet, they do not even understand what it is to be you. It sounds rather senseless, yet many of us do it all the time. Free yourself of that thinking and you are already heads above the rest. After all, it is not their life. It is yours.
So, understand these 7 reasons why you should risk stepping into the unknown. Otherwise, you will never really know how great you could become.
So, you graduated? Now, what?!?
Life after graduation can seem a lot more complicated than what your cocky college self would have thought. After all, maybe the parents were right when they were telling you to appreciate what you have because of how hard they had to work to get it. It is not all that easy being a so-called "adult".
But, oh the possibilities if you play your cards right…
Below is a list of my take on the top 10 things you should know before entering this dog-eat-dog “Real World”:
1. Patience is a Must-Have
Going from napping between classes to the long hours of full-time can take a while to adjust to. Thus, patience is key. While it is beneficial to be the eager, full-of-ideas new kid on the job, it is necessary to “slow your roll” enough to understand that success is built one step at a time.
This means that one little mistake does not have to undermine your entire career (unless you royally screw up). But, in the same token, success can be very short-term, as well. Therefore, it is important to take the necessary time to build the right habits.
Learn how to starve. Because, if you can make it with very little, you will be prepared to manage things when you hit the “Big Time.” For now, respect those that came before you and learn from their successful habits. Before long, these “little things” will accumulate to form the foundation of your success.
2. Constantly Develop Skills on the Side
If there are other interests that you would still like to explore, but that are not listed in the description of your regular nine-to-five, you still have time to capitalize on these. After all, you have the evenings and weekends to discover what interests you most. But, do not use this time to work on things that you truly cannot see yourself enjoying. That is just more work and WHO WANTS MORE WORK?!
Instead, use this free time to research different career possibilities in relation to your passions. The Internet is a never-ending resource in which you can learn countless information. It has never been easier than now to obtain a world of information, so take a few minutes to explore what all it has to offer.
In addition, get out and meet new people. This can open up your eyes to new possibilities that you would have never thought of otherwise. Whether at a volunteer event or the bars, you can always be networking. And, not in the schmoozing kind of way, but in a genuine manner in which you are truly interested in the other person’s ideas.
3. Have Natural Confidence, Not Look-At-Me Cockiness
It can be quite intimidating to realize all of the new responsibilities that go along with the “Real World.” Hence, confidence is a trait that you simply NEED, no matter what. This does not mean that your confidence should be never-ending in all situations. But, overall, life is a hell of a lot easier if you have natural confidence that things will work out in some way.
However, if confidence is replaced by cockiness, things can get ugly, especially, coming from the new kid on the job. No one wants to hear you be extremely cocky. Instead of helping your potential, it isolates you from others. Be respectful and relatable and put a cork in it, Honey!
4. You Can Still Call Your Mom
Just because you are trying to make others proud now that you are all out on your own does not mean that you have to go cold turkey on asking for help. Quite the contrary since with real maturity comes the knowledge that there will be times in your life when you need to depend on others and times when you need to be self-reliant.
So, when things get tough, never assume that you do not have someone to turn to. You should know who really cares about you in your life and if you don't, maybe you are hanging out with the wrong people. You find out who your true friends are when things get tough. So, never forget those people. It is okay to rely on them and then help them out when they need it later.
5. Pick and Choose Others’ Advice
After realizing that it is okay to rely on others, you must also recognize that they are not always right. No one knows 100% of what it is like to be in your shoes. So, do not take their advice as the Holy Grail. It is good to have a sense of healthy skepticism as long as you are open to learning from them too.
Listen to your instincts and past experiences in times like these. Just as you do not have to buy everything a salesman tries to sell you, you do not have to buy into every single opinion that others have of your life.
6. Remember, Nothing is Permanent (BASICALLY)
When you are in a situation that does not make you happy, realize that you will come out stronger on the other side and that there is an “Other Side”. Almost everything in life is temporary. This does not mean that you should make bad decisions left and right because it will eventually work out. But, you should learn to become adaptable. Life is constantly changing with new standards for how things should be done. To resist such is to impede all future growth. Embrace the changes in life and you will go much further and be much happier, overall.
7. Read As Much As Possible
Amazingly, statistics show that 42% of adults will never read another book after college graduation. Yet, those that do read are two to three times more likely to do charity and volunteer work. Even if giving to the needy is not your thing, those that read regularly are also more likely to exercise, yet another reason to crack open a book (Statistic Brain RSS).
For example, Billionaire investor, Warren Buffett estimates that he spends 80% of his working day reading and thinking. “I just sit in my office and read all day,” declares Buffett (Parrish). After all, the old man is not doing too bad.
Reading opens up your mind to new perspectives and possibilities. There will never be a time in life when you know enough. Thus, invest in reading and you will never stop learning all that there is out there.
8. Do Not Get in the Habit of Making Excuses
It is one thing to say that you have integrity and an entirely different thing to actually put it to use in your daily life. There are far too many people in the workforce who constantly blame others for their shortcomings. This negativity starts accumulating day after day and, soon enough, these individuals end up becoming hopeless.
Constantly blaming others not only makes you appear less of a person, but it also undermines your thinking. You begin to believe that nothing is really in your hands. While a great portion of life is out of your control, you must recognize that you have the power to react accordingly. You cannot always control the event, but you can manipulate your reaction, thus influencing the ultimate outcome.
Failing to realize this will hold you back from your true potential. Yet, once you decide to stop having excuses in life, things become a lot simpler and less wishy-washy. Own up to what is in your control and either change it or accept the status quo. Quite simple, really.
9. Never Change Who You Are to Please Others
Establishing yourself in the real world can be overwhelming, to say the least. Whether you are moving to a different place or just trying to prove that you can make it on your own, you will be coming up against a lot of changes. But, instead of fighting these changes, choose to adapt accordingly.
Change for the better or not at all. Whether it all makes sense at the time, you must have some kind of trust that these current challenges will make you the person you are ultimately supposed to become. Choose to roll with the punches, but remain confident in the person you are.
It is time to let go of caring so much what others think and free yourself from that cage-like mentality. Most people enjoy being around someone that is truly genuine, whether that person is like them or not. If you are trying to be a good person and they do not accept you for who you are, forget them. Life is too short. Keep it simple, Kid, and move on.
10. If Someone Tells You No and You Give Up, You Need to Grow a Pair
Lastly, if someone stops you from accomplishing a dream, the dream must not have been that important in the first place. But, if it is something that truly matters to you, screw what others think of your potential. Go out and get it. No matter what. Work until there is absolutely nothing left. Otherwise, you never cared that much in the first place.
Now, Bon Voyage to all! And may we fake it til we make it with these 10 simple steps.
Parrish, S. (n.d.). Http://theweek.com/article/index/248655/the-warren-buffett-formula-how-you-can-get-smarter.
Reading Statistics (Statistic Brain RSS) http://www.statisticbrain.com/reading-statistics/