This post is by Brandi-Ann Uyemura of The Inspiring Bee.
Ask me where I was a year ago or even ten years ago and I’d say I was anywhere and everywhere hopping from job to job. Ask me who I was then and I’ll tell you I was lost.
Yet, here I am. It’s been a year since I decided to quit full-timing and finally listening to my inner voice that said, “You need to stop going with the grain and follow the beat of your own drum.” Yes, my inner voice likes to talk in clichés.
Never would I have expected that in a year, I would be self-employed as a full-time writer, get published in a magazine I admire, be a guest in a radio show, have five seconds of fame on Penn & Teller’s Bullshit, have one of my blogs picked up by US News or be an Associate Editor for Psych Central. Weird how life works like that, isn’t it?
But is it fate or faith? How about both?
Being your own advocate
I think transforming your life involves a lot of you in the equation. You know how Mahatma Gandhi said those famous words, “Be the change you wish to see in the world?” I think you need to be the transformation as well.
I used to have a friend or a relative say, “I wish I did _______.” (Hula, yoga, etc.) Whenever they said it, I got so excited and enthused. “I’ll do it with you!” I said. But what always happened is that I ended up taking the class by myself.
I could never understand why people had big dreams or even little ones, but then let the opportunity pass them by. But I learned that like a deer in the headlights, they became too afraid to be exactly what they want to be.
But to see change happen, you need to transform yourself.
If you are ready, the gifts of the journey are priceless, everlasting and valuable. And surprisingly, more beneficial than anything you could win from a lottery. When you become your own advocate and take initiative to change your life, the process of change transforms you as well. That’s the best part of the journey and the hardest part.
The good news is that if you’re on the brink of change and desire it but don’t know how to get there, these five steps will help push you straight into your own transformative journey.
1. Be a turtle rather than a hare.
There’s a seductive quality about getting where you want to go fast. It’s the purpose of freeways and the Internet. We’re impatient and we want it now. But change takes time. It might not take you ten years, like it did for me. But it will take longer than a day or even a few weeks.
Part of the reason why it takes so long to be the person you want to be or get the job you really want to get, is that there are often fears involved. You’ve taken this long to realize you want to change, but you haven’t. That usually means there are fears holding you back and preventing you from getting there.
So how does one get past the fears?
Start slow. Build confidence. Practice being the person you aspire to be. Act as if you were already that person. Take small steps to get to the dream and you will get there stronger, more courageous and better able to be that person after you’ve gone through the difficult journey.
2. Be quiet to hear the inner voice.
Meditate. Take long walks in nature. Practice yoga. Do whatever it takes to get away from the loud sounds of electricity piping through your computer. Spend enough time away from the chaos of daily life and your vision will become clearer. If you have the courage, listen to that voice. If you do so, I guarantee you will get there.
3. Minimize negativity and maximize positivity.
At the beginning of my career as a writer, I was insecure and doubtful of my talents. There was a world of better writers and I felt pale and insignificant in comparison. So guess what happened? I attracted negative people in my life. People who agreed that I wasn’t very good and that I would never make it in the world. I attracted clients who had as much confidence in me as I had in myself. And that wasn’t a lot. A flurry of publications and clients called and I got jobs. But I got jobs from those who either refused to pay me or made it difficult for me to get paid. I surrounded my outer world, by the voices that directed my inner one.
If there was one thing I regretted most is that I didn’t learn how to shut off my negative thoughts, before I opened myself up to the world as a writer.
Be careful about whom you spend your time with and what words you let into your mind. They have the power to transform your life, positive and negative, if you let them.
4. Find your heroes.
At first, I needed support. I needed encouragement. I needed someone to tell me what I was doing was the right thing to do. I did not find this in family. I did not find it in co-workers. I needed to work on finding my own heroes.
When you’re new and vulnerable, look for heroes in friends, in biographies and even life coaches, if necessary. My blog also gave me the incentive to contact people who inspired me. It was passion that gave me the courage to email author Bonnie St. John, for example, or two bloggers who I admired from afar. Their responses gave me confidence that I was going in the right direction and motivated me to keep going.
5. Be open to possibility.
The shoes you are wearing right now may not be the shoes of your dreams. Those shoes could be standing in a pile of poop actually. But that will change, if you open your mind to the possibility of a better life.
When I was working at a corporate job, my mind was as confining as my uninspiring cubicle. I thought that there was no way I could be or do anything different.
But my life coach said, “Imagine, just for a minute, that everything you ever wanted, was possible. Just sit with it. You don’t have to change or make any steps toward that goal. But just see what happens when you let yourself be open to the possibility.”
Transforming your life means narrowing your goals, planning out the steps, creating a business plan for your career. But it also means dealing with the uncertainties, the fears and things that constrain you and put limits on your dreams.
When we allow the, “what if” in our lives as in, “what if I could be the person I believe I deserve to be or is meant to be,” a space opens up. Just thinking of the possibility could drastically change your life. It could mean you see an opportunity available you hadn’t seen before. It could mean giving you the courage to contact people who are already living the life of their dreams. When you begin to think you can versus you can’t, you start seeing life as possibility rather than limitation.
There are things in life that you can’t control. But changing yourself and your life are things that you can. Follow these steps and you will be on your way to life changing transformation.