I’ve spent the better part of the last 3 years carefully crafting a well-rounded, gratifying life.
It has hardly been the easiest thing I’ve ever done, but every step (and misstep) has been worth it. Not everyone’s path to happiness is going to look the same. For me, it meant striking out on my own and carving a place for myself in a competitive market. But if you’re feeling unfulfilled in your career, and looking for a change...I might have a few ideas.
1. Know What the Fuck You Want and Who the Fuck You Are
I feel like this is a no-brainer: change is fucking hard. Being uncertain about what you truly want makes changing that much harder. So make a choice, and see it clearly. And be specific, that’s important. When our goals are too broad it’s hard to make a clear path from point A to point B. Being aimless gets you nowhere, but again...I feel like that’s a no-brainer.
What makes it harder to decide what you want out of life is that most of us have no idea who we actually are. You have to unpack who you are like emptying a suitcase. Take a hard look at the places that you’ve been, analyze how you feel about each and every experience, pin point the times that you were truly happy and fulfilled. Is this easy work? Not even a little bit, but it’s the first step.
2. Always Have One Foot In Reality
Ok, so you’ve decided that you want to quit your job and join the circus! But slow the fuck down. It’s important to keep in mind that big changes take time, and preparation, and patience. I call it a “calculated leap,” taking the time to consider the most effective course of action, rather than the quickest one. And sometimes the best plan is the one that takes time (and work). Sticking it out at your boring job while going to clown school, for example. Always remember that you have to eat and pay for shit, you are an adult after all.
Transformations usually happen in awkward stumbles and baby steps, very rarely in graceful leaps and bounds. When you expect too much too quickly there is an inevitable backsliding.
3. Don’t Get Attached to “The Plan”
This is the number one biggest mistake people make, because more often than not your “plan” and the Universe’s “plan” don’t align with one another. Different choices lead you down different paths, and sometimes the path you had originally mapped out isn’t the one that leads you where you need to go. If you become too attached to your goals as you initially envisioned them it is hard to see opportunities that you hadn’t previously imagined. There is no way predict every situation and every outcome, so be prepared to not be prepared.
It’s important to know that it’s ok to change your mind and shift your goals. When we tie ourselves to tightly to one specific outcome you’re limiting your potential by not exploring things that pique your interest.
4. Be The Mean Boss
It is easy to be the kind of boss that let’s you have two margaritas at lunch on a Wednesday. Being that boss is fun, and probably the reason you decided to be your own boss to begin with. Flexibility and freedom are amazing perks of striking out on your own. But when you are only flexible and free very little gets done. Believe me, I’ve been there. Sometimes (ok, most of the time), you have to be the boss that makes you work overtime and weekends. But, you chose this life for a reason, so don’t talk shit about the boss.
5. Expect Failure. Scratch That, Be Grateful for Failure.
Failure makes you stronger and smarter. Failure makes you humble. Failure lets you know your limitations. You’ll probably fail a lot in the beginning, and if you don’t I feel sorry for you. When you make it really far without setbacks you never get to learn what you are really made of. This lesson is vital for your survival, because failing is inevitable. The further you go the higher the stakes become, which can be crippling if you never learned how to pick yourself up.
6. Own Your Shit
When the previously discussed failure happens, there are often difficult decisions to make. Good or bad those decisions are yours alone. You have to take responsibility for your triumphs as well as your fuck-ups. It is easy to own your good shit, but not as simple to own the bad. Being ashamed or guilty over your mistakes, or finding ways to place blame elsewhere is not how a grown up acts. Even when circumstances have you choosing between two shitty options, that choice is still yours and you need to own it every damn day.
Remember when you try to disown the bad choices you make, they always come back. Nothing stays buried for long. When you come to peace with the mess, it is easier to clean up after it.
I guess it all boils down to being present, if you aren’t fully aware of what is going on around you and where you are success isn’t going to find you. This isn’t the shit that you’ll learn in a business class, and maybe it won’t make sense for your life. But it might at least give you an idea of where to start. Because that is the big secret, no one knows what they’re doing. Trial and Error is as good a method as any.