I think I was about 22 or 23 when I first had the thought that I had missed my life calling. I remember the feeling of that moment pretty well, Matt had asked me a question about what I wanted to do with my life/what I wanted to be. I shook my head, embarrassed because I didn’t really know the answer even though I knew what I was doing at the time wasn’t right. Deep down part of me knew I was supposed to be connecting with people, I just didn’t know how.
It’s a terrible feeling, isn’t it? That moment where you look at everything around you and feel like you have royally stuffed up. You spend time going through all the things you could have done differently, the decisions you should have made, the far-off dreams of you doing that thing that sets a spark in your heart. It’s easy to look at other people and feel frustrated that they seem to have it all worked out when you feel like you don’t.
Those thoughts ran through my head for the longest time, years even, where I would picture myself doing the same mundane things day in and day out for the rest of my life because I’d just gotten it all wrong. It felt like it was just my burden to bear because I had made mistakes I couldn’t fix. Then something really cool happened, someone told me I hadn’t missed my chance. You see, you can’t miss your chance because there’s no such thing as ‘it’s too late.’ The ship never sails and there is always time for you to get on it. Ain’t no ships leaving without you on them! I know, trust me, I was standing on the dock feeling mighty sorry for myself for a long time, guys!
There are a lot of things we perceive to be blocking us or holding us back but you’d be amazed at how many of those things we create. When you stop and take the time to work through each of them you start to realise they’re things we just think will happen, like our parents flipping out on us, our friends judging us or not living up to expectations. I had to call my parents and tell them I was leaving my really great job to be a blogger and thought they’d want to have a pretty serious chat with me about making good life decisions. Instead, they both gave me their complete support and encouragement and we had a great chat about making the most of your life. Imagine if I’d let my fears of what I thought my parents might say hold me back forever? I’d be photocopying invoices as we speak, silently weeping into a mug of instant coffee.
Every fear I had about leaving my job was absolute bullshit, just stuff I’d created in my mind like ‘You’ll starve to death because you’ll have no money!’ and ‘Everyone will think you’re mad and a terrible writer!’ and ‘What if it all goes wrong and you have to go crawling back to your old job? How will you live with yourself?’ I can tell you right now, not ONE of the things on my extensive ‘Fears List’ has happened. Not one. At the time though it was easier to think through my fears than to take action against them.
There is no limited amount of success or happiness in this world. It’s not like other people being happy, following their dreams and achieving things is using up your allocated amount of happiness and success too. It’s also not possible for you to exhaust your access to happiness and success, or for it to expire, they are never-ending resources and are always available to us. Always.
There is never a point where your happiness is controlled by anybody else, you always have control over it. The second we let our fears get on top of us and stop us from doing what we really want to be doing is the second we lose sight of this. It’s that moment where we’re so concerned about what others will think or our fears being realised that we push our happiness and desires away. It’s a simple thing to change though, just choose to be happy!
Sometimes you just have to take a tiny little step in the right direction, make one small change, just find a way to start. Find what’s comfortable for you and make that change, no matter how small it may seem. Dip your toe in the water if you have to, but dip it good! Even if you find yourself going back and forth a little bit, starting and then hesitating, be proud that you’ve at least had the courage to start and commit to kicking things up a notch and really going for it.
Confront your fears head on! One way I did this was to write them down, really honestly and without judgement, then analyse them. Where do they come from? What’s the worst that happens if my fears are realised? In each instance, the worst that could happen was a bit of conflict, discomfort or upset for a while. There wasn’t one fear that genuinely threatened my life so, if I’m not going to die then what the heck am I afraid of? Having to budget harder for a while? If it means not having to set foot in an office building ever again I’ll happily budget for the rest of my days.
It can feel really overwhelming when you know you’re in the completely wrong spot. It can feel like your desired location is five million miles away and you have to change so much to get there. Sometimes it’s easy to talk yourself out of it, tell yourself it’s all too hard and that you missed your opportunity and you should just be happy with what you’ve got and where you are. No. I’m telling you no, that’s not the case. If you feel like you’re in the wrong spot you can change it.
Take a breath, take a moment and step back from it all. Find a way to detach yourself from everything around you and look at it from a different angle. See the place you want to be and see the place you’re currently in, they aren’t that far away if you just start. If you remove the obstacles, trust yourself and take that first step you’ll see it’s not as hard as it seems and you’ll be moving closer and closer in every moment.
No matter which path you take you’re always going to come up against things designed to challenge and test you, nobody said it would be smooth sailing, right? But those moments are there to remind us why we’re doing this, to confirm what drives us and motivate us to march on. If you feel overwhelmed by it all just remember you haven’t missed your chance, things aren’t as hard as they seem and all you have to do is choose to be happy and make a start. The rest will come, just trust yourself. There’s no shortage of success and happiness, it’s all there waiting for you, so reach out and grab it.