Twelve months ago I arrived back from a week of self-reflection and a break from all that was familiar. As inspired as that sounds, it was one of the most difficult times of my life. I realised that I was a long way from where I wanted to be both personally and professionally. I was dull inside, uninspired and unmotivated. I have pretty much given up on any real dreams and had settled for just accepting the way life was.
But doing this doesn’t work. It didn’t work for me, and it won’t work for you.
Unlike most blog posts that I’ve read about how you just need to make the decision to change you life, pack up and move on, quit your job etc etc it really is very difficult for majority of the world to just do that. The reality is, if you are young, single and have no commitments, well yes – you probably can. But for the rest of us, there is usually a lot of factors to consider that are much more important than our own personal frustration, and it was no different for me.
But I faced it all. I had to. There was no going back to how I had been living – or err existing… That moment in time was not an easy one to endure by any stretch of the imagination. There were weeks of tension, tears and confusion but I got through it. Not only did I get through it, but by wading through tenderly and patiently there was a massive shift that happened to open the doors to allow me to gracefully move into another realm of living and dreaming that I so desperately desired.
Now 12 months on from that I would love to say that life if amazing, full of sunshine, prosperity and that I am exactly where I want to be and always dreamed of being. But the truth is, I’m not. Not completely, but I am certainly a long way down the track from where I was and in such a short space of time. So these are a few things I have learnt to date as a sort of self-reflecting moment. I hope it helps some of you out there…
Life really is nothing like the movies.
Or a lot of blog posts for that matter. I love reading people’s success stories and find them all incredibly inspiring, but lets be real. There are very few of those successes that were absent of a lot of blood sweat and tears. Every one of those people at some point in their journey struggled with self-doubt, having to endure uncomfortable moments of confrontation, lost hope, fear, hardships of poverty, loss of friends and family, and probably extensive periods of depression and despair. Most successful people you admire have probably mastered the art of remaining cool, calm and collected on the surface but if you look beneath the surface they are swimming like crazy to keep it all together. Take a moment to look a little deeper. Ask them what they struggle with. It’s more than likely that they are still hoping for the happy ending but have become comfortable with where they are at for the time being.
Believing in yourself is a daily habit
Believing in yourself is a daily habit that is just as important as all those lists you write, eating healthy, or well.. brushing your teeth. Especially if you are an entrepreneur or self-employed. I constantly have to remind myself why I decided to leave my ‘day job’. People think I am incredibly confident, and in a lot of instances I am. But I still struggle daily with my own limitations and have to remind myself that I am capable of achieving all that I put my mind to.
Making a choice for the greater good is often the hardest thing to do
Making choices is hard, but making the right choice – the one that is made with the end goal in mind – is often the hardest choice to make. But it is the essential part of progress. It takes you into a whole other level of living than the general ‘run-of-the-mill’ kind of life. This is where the men are truly separated from the boys (or women and girls in my instance!). There are many times in my life and especially in the last 12 months when I have wanted to throw up my arms, have a tantrum like my toddler and throw everything away. It’s all too hard and it’s all taking too long for my liking so stuff it all! Quitting really is a very easy path to take, but it leads nowhere that you want to go. Our ‘instant’ society certainly doesn’t help my patience levels, and please don’t tell me that good things take time, or I will throw something at you!!
But the reality is – the decisions that we make based on a fleeting moment of frustration, an allure of a better, easier life, or the empty promises being laid out before us are rarely the one’s that sustain us and help us reach the top of our mountain. And worse than not reaching the top is living with the knowledge that you could have made it if you had just held out that little bit longer and stayed committed to what you knew was right and true. It’s ok to have a little meltdown, cry and scream (preferably at the wind) if you need to and then have a good sleep. Take a walk. Rest awhile and then pick yourself up and stay committed.
“Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice.” Jim Collins
There are always greater heights to reach
When you reach one level of personal or professional achievement, there is always another one that follows. You get to the top and you bathe in the glory of the achievement only to turn around and look up at the next summit. These moments of realisation are hard for me. I live life fast and so I seem to be confronted by these moments regularly. It’s the point in my life when I realise that I need to grow again to get past the ceiling of my limitations. This is the point when I fall apart momentarily. I want to run in the other direction – downhill – and justify myself by comparing myself to others around me who perhaps have decided that a comfortable existence is the way to go. I try to excuse myself from more learning. From self-discipline. In these instances, I curse my personality that strives constantly for excellence, for better results, for greater satisfaction.
Is it all worth it? That really is for you to decide. Living large is not for the faint-hearted. Following your dreams is definitely not the easy option. Evolving into all that you can be is often a painful and challenging process. But at the end of it all I like to think that I am going to be satisfied that I gave my life a damn good go and with each new adventure and every beautiful person I encountered along the way, was made all the better for it.
Photo credit: Vladimir Kudinov