Updated: Apr 2
“When we face tough problems, we stay mired in the mud until we take action. Hope is a start. But hope needs action…” – David J. Schwartz
Like most days I drove into work on autopilot. Watching the clock, listening to my favorite radio station and sometimes catching up on the gossip podcasts. When I got into the office, and looked on my desk, I had received a 10-year recognition memorabilia, with a card that said, “thank you for your 10-year dedication to the company”. I broke down!
I gave 10 years of my life to a company I hated and work that I didn’t enjoy, because I was afraid of taking a risk. I had started my tenure in the company as a clerk and worked my way up to a part of the leadership team. I was ambitious, I started like most bright-eyed new grads out of university, wanting to put my stamp on the world.
Then the student loan bills started rolling in, then the other “grown up” responsibilities came, car, the house, the family. Next thing I knew, the life I wanted was chained and buried in the back of the life I had, unfulfilled. Soon, I FORGOT what I wanted.
Living an unfulfilled life is one of the hardest things you can do. It can rob your soul of life, happiness and joy that make the simple pleasures, fun. It’s like being at the bottom of a dark well and staring up at the light, while the hope seems so far away.
That card was the best thing my company did for me, it was the spark, the trigger I needed to dig out that piece of me that was buried and forgotten. 10 years, flew by in a blink of an eye and I was no longer bright eyed, but in an autopilot routine. Then I made the switch... I created an exit strategy and did a YOLO. Everyone thought I had a midlife crisis, but I needed that... it was for me.
Today, I work for myself, I make time for me. I challenge my thoughts constantly to step into the unknown, because why not? I started my journey to a more fulfilled life. And here is what I learnt…
1. Be motivated
Motivation is what you make it. You need it to light the fire within you. Don’t wait for someone else to motivate you, be your biggest cheerleader. And if you can’t do it, get a friend, buddy or a coach to cheer you on. It’s important to choose people who are infectiously happy and motivated, so if not directly, through osmosis, motivation will creep in.
2. Take control of your life
If you are feeling stuck, it means you are not taking control of your life. No one else can be you. That’s the best part of being you! Find out why you feel stuck, this may not be a simple task, but start of with the what is causing you to be stuck? A job, a partner, a friend, me? Then, I dare you to dream - ask yourself, “if everything could be perfect, what would I rather do or be?” If you think it sounds like bullshit, entertain me, choose a safe, quiet space and do it! Trust me – I put up a good fight in the beginning.
3. Set clear goals
Motivation and taking control of your life needs a clear direction. Where do you want to go? Setting goals come easier, when you, like I said, dare to dream. A navigation will take you where you want to go, when you have, at the very least a partial address, and a city, or town. Anything else and you might end up in the middle of “null island”. First, decide on what you want, write it down, keep it in front of you – post it on the wall, screensaver, the car, and take the first step.
4. Choose progress over perfection
At any given point, chose progress over perfection. Baby steps are all you need to get there. Each step takes you closer. We can all agree that things change all the time, so why waste time on perfecting something that will change? Make a point to experience the journey and don’t get hung up on the outcome. In that journey is where you will start to see all the things that you thought you couldn’t or wouldn’t do, take shape. This gives you the confidence to move forward and not be paralyzed with the fear of failure or being trapped by dogma.
5. Accept the fear
So, what if you fail? I know you have heard this before, but what’s the worst that can happen? Write it down and brainstorm all the things that could possibly come up if you do and why it all matters. From that exercise you will see that you are worried about one of the below:
Fear of losing,
Fear of failing,
Fear of people and the
Fear of the unknown, and the list goes on
I have great news for you, so is the other 7.5 billion people in the world. It means you are not alone, and someone already figured out how to hack the fear. Google it, talk to someone, or a coach. Fear is not so elusive as we think, don’t let it stop you. Time doesn’t come back, so it’s expensive to let time pass you by! You don’t want a 10 - 20 – 30-year pin to let you realize you are stuck.
6. Make the time for you
The best one of all the steps - “no one can be you, but you!”. Make the time for yourself. Do the things that makes you feel grounded, happy, "kid like". Treat yourself! Making the time for yourself not only refreshes you to think through what you want, but it also keeps you going! The journey is only worth pursuing if you get to stare out the window, feel the sun, and smell the air. I dare you – make time for yourself – see what you become!