The past five years of my life have been pretty intense (I’m definitely due a holiday soon!). It started with a three year long quarter life crisis where I felt utterly lost, stuck, confused and anxious about my life and my future. Then I figured out what I wanted and the following two years were all about making it happen and the challenges and struggles that went along with it.
That about brings us up to date, and being in the position I’m in now where I can see through the lens of hindsight, there’s some things I want to share with you about the journey that leads to you to reaching your goals…
It wont always be sunshine and rainbows. Feeling the struggle of learning, and growing into the best version of yourself is a struggle worth experiencing (kind of like the pain you feel in your muscles when you’ve been exercising).
But the pain and struggle of staying stuck because you’re unsure of how to change things, or because you’re lacking the confidence to take action is way worse!
In my experience, challenges often follow a trajectory similar to this…
Expectation - Feeling like you’re doing something wrong or like you’re not good enough. Like you’re different to everyone else but not in a good way.
Comparison - Looking at what everyone else is doing as a way to support your theory that you’re not as good as them, you’re not where they are and you must be doing life wrong because it doesn’t match theirs.
Judgement - As part of your defence mechanism you start to feel jealous and maybe a bit resentful of the people you’ve been comparing yourself too because you can’t understand why it’s working for them and not you. You start to judge them and try to find things to make you feel better, like they’re clearly more advantaged than you in some way or maybe they’re just lucky.
Self-criticism - A mixture of the expectations and comparison standards you’ve been feeling, along with the judgements you’ve been making, results in you feeling really crappy and worthless. So you take to judging yourself for being a bad person, not being good enough, worthy enough, smart enough, the list goes on and on.
Retreat - As a result you begin to retreat because all that stuff going on in your head is exhausting and you don’t want to be around other people incase they judge you for being a mess or a buzz kill.
Depression - By this point you just feel so tired, confused and anxious about what you want, or what you’re even capable of. There’s so much self-doubt going on in your head that you feel like you’re just not meant to be happy.
New perspective - Otherwise known as the turning point. You get to a stage where you just kinda say “Fuck it!” and you decide that you’re done with feeling crappy, that you only have one go at this life and the only person with the power to make it amazing is you!
Learning - You start looking for help, speaking to people, doing research, reading books, watching Ted Talks, joining groups and generally just following the threads of what interests you and makes you feel happier.
Clarity and direction - You gain some clarity on what you really want. You see that you were too worried about making life choices that fitted in with the expectations of society/your family/your peer group, and you’ve started feeling excited about something that feels authentic to you.
Confidence building - You start to get the momentum going and feel like you’re on the right path. You’re happy to talk about it now because you feel so connected to your new venture. You’re seeing results start to happen and you feel like things are really moving.
Comparison - By this point, because you’ve chosen your new venture from an authentic place and after such a long period of feeling lost and stuck, it means A LOT to you. You feel so truly connected to your new direction and you desperately want to succeed. Then you end up putting new expectations on yourself and start comparing yourself to other people who are maybe further along than you and you feel those same insecurities and doubts pop up again.
Putting pressure on yourself - Because you want to do well and be successful, you put a lot of pressure on yourself to be there now! You’re your own biggest critic and you mentally crack the whip on yourself constantly.
Stress - You start to feel stressed out by the pressure and the doubt and the whole thing starts to feel less and less fun by the day. You start to wonder if you’ll ever be able to achieve your goals and you begin to think that you might just need to jack it all in and play it safe. You almost feel a little stupid for believing that you could achieve your dreams in the first place.
A new perspective - You catch yourself repeating similar patterns from before and decide to check yo’self before you wreck yo’self.
Feeling lighter - You know what you need to focus on and you consciously decide to let go of the crap that’s been weighing you down.
Listening to yourself - Rather than comparing yourself and trying to live up to all these expectations that are flying around the place, you focus on listening to your own inner guidance and wisdom because you know that it’s the only way to create a life that’s right for you.
Self-care - You practice taking care of your mind and body on a daily basis because you know that burn out is not a place you want to visit again.
Owning it - Rather than comparing yourself to other people, you decide to own all of your strengths and to love and accept all of your weaknesses.
Adaptability - You know that things don’t always go to plan, but rather than stay rigid and get stressed out about it, you commit to learning, growing and being able to adapt to all situations in order to succeed.
Having fun - Throughout everything, you’ve learned that having fun is super important. People love to see people having fun. When you go out into the world and do your thing, having fun is not only great for you, it’s also a quality that attracts others to you and makes reaching your goals a lot easier!
I’m at a point right now where I’ve felt a shift, like I’ve just come out of a big transitional phase of my life.
Things really haven’t gone to plan over the past couple of years but that’s ok. There’s a part of me that wishes it had because life would be so much easier. But overall I’m glad it panned out this way because I’ve learned so many invaluable lessons that wouldn’t have come up if everything just happened the way I hoped it would.
Having said that, I am ready for an upswing now :)
In conclusion, I am extremely grateful for the challenges and struggles I’ve experienced so far, they’ve taught me A LOT! And I feel stronger and wiser for it. A big part of that comes from appreciating that things don’t always go to plan but making sure that I don’t judge myself for it.
We just need to roll with it and keep moving in the direction of our goals.