You're not Stuck in Your Current Life: 3 ways to move up and move on
Warning: This topic is in my Top 5 of things that I’m most passionate about. It’s the greatest tragedy of our lives to believe we’re stuck anywhere, doing anything, for anyone, because of any given reason. That’s bullsh*t and I wish more people knew that. So I might get a little amped up in this episode, but it’s because I wish with my WHOLE HEART that you would realize what you’re capable of and rise to be that person.
You can become anyone you want.
Before you go any further, let that sink in. Really. Read it again.
You can become anyone you want.
Some people will say that the time we’re in has made it even easier, and that’s true to an extent. Now more than ever we all have access to more tools and information than any time in history. Need to fix your sink? Google a video and learn how to do it. Want to learn a new language? Check the internet and find a thousand different classes that teach it. Want to start a business? Again, look online for inspiration, guidelines, and real-life examples.
However, no matter how many opportunities or tools you’re handed, you can only get as far as your confidence will take you. Sadly, most of us are lacking confidence, or true belief that we can change our life. Even in this age, where more people than ever are telling us that we can be whatever we want in pretty much any way possible, we still settle for living small lives that don’t fulfill our purpose, nor propel us towards impacting this world.
We go to school, graduate, and then settle for a job. Even with more people cheering us on than ever, we don’t seem to think greatness is for us. Sure, we love listening to business podcasts or watching people sink or swim on Shark Tank. We love checking out crowd funding and pitching in to help others.
We like to help others, but when it comes to us, we fool ourselves into thinking the rules are different.
“Well that person could start a business, but not me. That person can follow their dreams, but not me. That person can change the world, but not me. I’m not cut out for it. I don’t have the resources for it. You see, my circumstances won’t let me.”
Time to buck up, Buttercup.
You CAN be the person you want to be. All you need is confidence and to get rid of those lame-ass excuses (pardon my passion).
Think it’s easier said than done? Let me break it down for you in three easy steps:
1. Seize your confidence
Failure helps you figure out success (and ALL success is solvable). For me, this one is somewhat easy. I tend to barrel into new situations with either unfounded confidence in myself and end up succeeding, OR I come prepared to fail and laugh it off. I take life very seriously, but can’t take myself that seriously.
Recently on an anniversary trip to Jamaica with my husband, I was attempting (more like gloriously failing) to paddle board. After trying to stand up on it for several minutes, I totally ran right into a cliff wall, screamed like a baby, then fell into the ocean with limbs flailing… all in front of a boat full of strangers. (Ahhhh!) Was I mortified? Sure, but showing it would have just made everything worse. So I climbed (more like flopped as pathetically as a wet seal) back onto that stupid paddle board and cruised away from all those watching eyes, chuckling to myself. Did I try again to stand up on that board? You bet I did. And guess what? I fell off again... repeatedly. Yet every time, I stood back up because I was getting closer to success (and may have reached it if not for the Jamaican rum!).
Even if you don’t have new things to try right now that can build your confidence, take a mental inventory of all your successes in the past.
When were the odds stacked against you, but you prevailed anyway? When did someone doubt you, and you proved them wrong? When did you doubt yourself but a kind stranger or loved one showed you how wrong you were? When did you accomplish something that made you feel like a million bucks? What moment are you most proud of in your life? What would the people who are your biggest fans in life have to say about you?
Ahhh, feel that? That’s the bliss of confidence. Make a note in your phone or on paper of all the incredible, confidence-building things you just thought of. You’re a rock star, and deep down you know it. ;-)
2. Ditch your excuses
No matter who you are, you can become anything you want. Your success is NOT limited by your circumstances. What you look like, how smart you are, how old you are, how young you are, your current skill level or occupation, marital or parental status, etc. does not determine your success.
“I don’t have the looks to be successful.” As vain as this sounds, it can be a serious concern. Most business people we look up to are suave, beautiful, and seemingly perfect. But how many times have you seen people who are crazy successful not match that image? I won’t name names, but right off the bat I can think of several business people--both young and old--who very possibly fell straight out of the ugly tree. Even Hollywood, the epitome of glamour and looking one’s best, has its less glossy people. Have you ever been watching a movie and realized the actor or actress was hideous?
If massively successful celebrities and business people don’t have to be drop-dead gorgeous, then you don’t either.
“I’m too old and too far into life to seriously change things.” If you think you’re too old to change your life, tell that to the men in their 40s who made it into military special operations—long past the age people think of as peak physical shape. Or tell it to Julia Childs, who didn’t start her cooking show until she was 51. Or Ray Kroc (founder of McDonald’s) who didn’t start his business until age 52. Or to Colonel Sanders, who didn’t start KFC until age 65. Or Benjamin Franklin, who didn’t sign the Declaration of Independence until he was 70. Or John Glenn, who went back to space at age 77. Or tell it to Doreetha Daniels, the oldest college graduate at age 99.
No matter how old you think you are, you are not too old to change your life.
“It’s too risky.” Over the years, I’ve had to do some pretty risky things to get out of jobs I hated. I had to essentially jump off the cliff and hope there was a ledge down there to catch me. As bad as facing the cliff was, staying where I was at was worse. (I’ve done this a few times, maybe one day I’ll tell you about them if you want! : ) )
You don’t even have to start there though. Take small steps. If your dream is to own a business, keep your current job so that you don’t end up on the streets before your business gets customers. Work on it a little bit each day after or before work, or even on your lunch break (one of my books was written entirely during lunch breaks). It will take longer than if you jumped off the cliff and suddenly devoted 100% of your efforts to it, but it mitigates the risk. If risk is something you fear, start small.
Work on your business or creative passion around your day job.
If you’re seriously telling yourself that even that can’t be done, then do yourself a favor and stop with the lies. Instead of saying, “I can’t change my life,” tell the truth and say, “I won’t change my life.”
3. Set some goals
Dreams are great, goals are better. Dreams are far-off, non-actionable visions of greatness. Goals are actual tangible and attainable things. If you have a dream of one day having a business, make it into an actual goal, or series of them—with specific metrics. Instead of saying to yourself, “I want to open a business,” try something more concrete. Say, “This evening before I go to bed, I’ll research how to open a construction business in my city,” or “Saturday morning from 9-10 I’m going to research how I can get my paintings into my favorite gallery,” or “By X date I’ll have reached out to 10 prospective clients to see if my business idea is something people will pay for.”
Once you’ve accomplished one goal, set another to make sure you keep moving. Again, the more details the better. State exactly what you want to have accomplished, by what time and date, and any other measurables that could apply.
Still not buying it? Well that’s ok, greatness isn’t for everyone.
Personally, I’ve seen enough people—firsthand—change their life for the better or live out their dreams that I simply don’t buy the excuse that you can’t change your life.
- I’ve seen myself go from dreaming about being a graphic designer with ZERO experience and no degree to being the lead designer at a marketing firm.
- I’ve seen family members feel called by God to start a business that would bless their local community, and have watched success come their way.
- I’ve heard one of my good friends tell me about going from nothing to success just on sheer will and determination. He built a business in his home country, then came to the US and made it happen again. When unfortunate circumstance took that from him, he once again went from zero to success in the matter of a few months.
- I’ve seen myself dream of being able to work from home, but not having a single inkling of how on earth that could happen. Years later, it happened in a way I would have never expected.
- I’ve seen a dear family member take on a new career in real estate with no prior experience, but she ended up becoming one of the best real estate agents in the area.
- I’ve seen another confident friend go from working in a hellhole to securing a six-figure income at his very next job.
- I’ve seen a couple friends sink into alcoholism, depression, and solitude, then decide they’d had enough and found the bravery to both admit it and then turn things around.
- I’ve seen people from my church quit their steady careers to open a business that would serve and love the community. They also felt called by God to do so, and the new business is flourishing.
All of these people took the plunge when they faced fear but desired changed. Maybe you want change in a way that’s not related to your income or work situation, but any change you want to happen in your life is possible.
You CAN change your life--and you WILL--if you really want to.
I suspect that you do, so all you have to do is take the time to seriously seize your confidence, ditch your excuses, and set some goals. I can’t emphasize this enough: in most cases, these three things are all that’s needed. Change won’t happen overnight, but when it does occur, you’ll be amazed and blown away by what you accomplished.
If you haven’t subscribed to this blog already, I encourage you to do so. That’ll ensure that every couple weeks you get my words of encouragement and hopefully inspiration delivered straight to your inbox. More importantly, you’ll get Celeste: The Dark Queen for free. It’s a story I’m writing with you in mind—to show you how even the direst of circumstances can be defeated. Obviously a fictional tale is much different than your reality, but my hope is that it can get you to think about your own life and what obstacles you can overcome if you want to (and of course have some fun along the way).
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Are you ready to take these steps? What do you have to overcome? Share your thoughts in the comments below so we can rally behind you and encourage you onward!