Five years ago if you asked me what I wanted to do with my life, I would have given you a blank stare for a minute and then gave you a cookie cutter answer like, “I want to have a fun, secure job, get married and have two babies.” I would not have told you, “I want to own my own business, sell all my stuff to travel the world having no home base, and live life not knowing where I will go tomorrow.” This story would be pretty boring if I actually picked the first option right?
So here I am living homeless, getting ready to leave for a country that doesn’t even speak my native language. And I can’t help but think how wildly happy I am. I can't help but think how I broke the mold, and I'm helping to reshape what you're “supposed to do with your life.”
We all live with this idea that there is a certain way that we are “supposed to live.” We are supposed to choose our path so early according to what we are good at on paper, work hard at it, life a comfortable life and then… die. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a lot of regret on your deathbed. We have to take a moment to truly live. To stop letting fear drive all of our decisions and to start living life for ourselves. How did I do it? How did I go from average student on a path towards a lukewarm marketing job, living an okay life that had all the necessities, to living with a one way ticket around the world, no idea where I would go next but happier than a seagull with a french fry on a sunny day. I took action, I changed Fear's mind, and I got a little bit selfish. Don’t you want to be unapologetically you for a change too?
You know, it’s so funny to think back when I would just sit in class and look at Pinterest boards. Dreaming of places I was pretty sure I would never see. I never actually thought of any plan to go after it. I only thought of all the reasons I couldn’t. “I’m too poor. I’m just an average communications major. I never did anything that made me worthy of this. I have to work. I have to take care of mom and dad. I have friends.”
I can’t do anything that I want because of excuse a,b, and c… does that sound familiar? But what if I told you that you could? What if I told you that everything you ever wanted is just on the other side of action? Would you take the step then? Because it’s true and it's what I'm telling you. Everything you ever wanted is on the other side of action. The day I stopped telling myself, “I can’t because of all these reasons I really actually just made up in my head.” And started telling myself, “I can do this with this plan and by taking this first step” is the day I stepped into my dream life. I am not more worthy than you, just as I am no more worthy of oxygen than you. You and I both should be grateful for the air we get to breath, and the dreams we get to create.
Change Fear’s Mind
Fear….oh fear. That sneaky little voice in our head that tells us things like, “don’t touch that it’s really hot!” And things like, “don’t try that, you’re not ready!” Did you ever think that the voice in your head might be wrong sometimes? Yep, your mind can be wrong. Mind blown, right?! Let me break it down for you. We have to have a fear voice, it’s part of our human wiring. Wouldn’t that be weird if we didn’t know to not catch a bumble bee in our hands, or to not walk out into traffic. I think if we didn’t have fear voices we wouldn’t actually make it through life very far.
The problem with fear is, we've chosen to listen to it too much. We let it develop all of these stories about us and it’s up there gossiping about it. Every time you make a decision that triggers an old memory that you don’t love, fear is there to trigger that for you. So you'd rather stay comfortable than try something that might actually make you happy. It’s like that 10th grade chemistry teacher you had, who told you that you wouldn’t make it with a score like that on your exam. Just reminding you of fumbles and falls constantly. You can change that. Remember that your mind is your mind. You had the power to create those stories in the first place, so guess what… you can change them too! If I'd let fear drive me, I would've never ever gotten rid of my house. I would have listened to that voice that said, “you need a house in case of emergency, you need a house for security.” And if I listened to that voice I would be thousands of dollars poorer, in a house that I either wasn’t living in or I wouldn’t have even left in the first place. Then I would have wondered what could have been. Don’t wonder what could have been.
Get a bit selfish
Of all the shifts I made to design my own life, this might have been the hardest. I am a recovering people pleaser. I wanted to do for everyone else around me, and then if I had the slightest bit of energy left, I would do something for me. Normally… I didn’t have the energy left for me. Want to know what happened to me? I burnt out. Just from life in general. I was so tired and unhappy with where I was. I just wanted to stay in bed and not talk to anyone. I would snap at people I loved for no reason and I didn’t love myself, not one bit. As cliched as it sounds, you simply cannot pour from an empty cup.
I would give and give and give until I crashed. And then I would get up and do it again. I hated myself, my body, who I had become. I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with my life or what I even liked doing anymore. I was running on empty thoughts and ideas that other people liked. Want to be happier than a seagull with a french fry on a sunny day? You've got to get a little bit selfish. It’s not just for you. The minute you start taking care of you and listening to you, is the minute you can give even more to the people you love. When you are happy, the people you love should be happy for you. And when you are happy you are ready and willing to give something greater than you were before. I was so scared to tell my parents I was leaving the country. But not only are they so beyond proud of me, but I can give them so much more from where I am. Get so selfish so that you can show up more.
If I hadn’t taken all of these steps toward my dreams, I wouldn’t be the happiest version of myself that I am now. If I didn’t decide to break the norm, to change my path I would be stuck in a toxic cycle. Break the cycle for you now! Take fearless action toward your dreams, and do it for no one else but you!