Whether it’s following a partner abroad, having a baby, losing your job or going through a traumatic event, there are certain moments in our lives that can feel pivotal. Moments that make us stop and think about what we really want to spend the rest of our days doing.
This year one of my goals is to start writing more from my heart on the blog. Don’t get me wrong I love sharing my travel adventures and capsule wardrobes, but for a little while I’ve felt like there’s something missing. At the end of last year I came to the realisation that I wanted to start sharing more about my journey in life and all the things I’ve learnt (or am still learning) along the way. Something that is less about pretty pictures and more about authentic words. Even though as I write this I am sitting here thinking “nobody is going to waste their time reading this”, I’m going to stand up to my inner critic and just put it out there anyway. So here goes…
For anyone new around here, you might not know that two years ago my hubby Jase and I packed up our life in Australia and moved Switzerland on the other side of the world. It’s the biggest, scariest, most exhilarating thing we’ve ever done. Along the way we’ve learnt so many lessons and gained fresh perspectives on things that are ‘just the norm’ at home.
Jason’s job is what brought us to Switzerland – so for me it meant quitting the marketing job I loved. I was put in a situation where I really had to stop and take stock of my life. I needed to decide what my next step would be and that really woke me up to thinking about what my true dreams and ambitions were. Working for someone else always felt secure – like a ‘proper’ job. But it never really fulfilled me, there was always something missing.
I had this burning desire to have something of my own, something creative, something that helped others and something that gave me the freedom to be in charge of my own time. So I made the terrifying decision to arrive in Switzerland and start my own business instead of looking for a job. And I want to share my tips for using a pivoting moment in your life to make sure you are on the path that is going to bring you the most joy AND the biggest lessons I learnt so that you don’t have to!
Deciding if it’s the right time for change
My pivotal moment was very obvious one for me. I knew if I didn’t take this chance to make an attempt at the business I’d dreamed of for years then I never would. I had to quit my job anyway and worst case I could change my mind and find a job in Switzerland later on. So how do you decide if you want to use this big pivotal moment in your life to make a big change, whether that change is your job, your home, where you live or the people you spend your time with.
- Do I have a niggling feeling that something in my life is missing? When I find my mind wandering where does it go? Is there something I long for that I don’t already have? The answers to these questions should make it obvious if you do feel something is missing.
- If I could be living my dream life, and money and/or upsetting the people around me wasn’t a concern, what would it look like? When you take away the risks involved in chasing your dreams and you feel passionate, optimistic and empowered then that is a good sign that you really do want these things but you are holding yourself back because you (falsely) believe there are things outside of your control that will make it impossible.
- What emotions do I feel when I tell myself I can’t have/do/achieve the things in my dream life? Do I feel frustration, overwhelm, disappointment, worry, anger, discouragement, unworthiness, fear or powerlessness? If you take away any possibility of your dreams being realised one day and you feel terrible about it then that is a sign you need to give it a go. When something is our calling having it brings us joy, and not having it makes us feel despair. As they say “Better an oops, than a what if.”
Making the change happen
Based on the questions you asked yourself above, it should be pretty obvious whether or not you want to go through your life without at least giving your dreams a chance. Coming to that realisation is the easier part though. Actually making it happen is where most of us give up. The biggest challenges we face are having enough time and money. So what are some steps you can start making now to get closer to achieving your dreams?
- Remember it’s always possible to make time for the things you want to do. If you want to make excuses you will. If you want to make time you will. Being ‘busy’ has become cool, it’s become our default answer to “How are you?”. And if we are constantly telling the ourselves and the world that we are busy, then what do you think we are going to feel? So the first step is to get rid of the word busy. The next step is to make the time. And before you say you can’t – isn’t it funny on those days when you have ‘no time’ you can still spend an hour scrolling through Instagram, watching tv, tidying up or rearranging things or sleeping longer than we need to? Look for the gaps in your day and the activities you can replace (like watching tv) and decide how much time each day you can dedicate to working towards your dream. Even 1 hour per day for a year adds up to 45 full work days towards your project!
- Stop wasting money supporting a life that doesn’t fulfil you. So you can’t scale back your full time job to have more time to work towards your dream because then you can’t afford your current life. Let me ask you this – does your current life fill you with purpose and joy? Because you are here reading this, I am going to guess no. That house, those cars, the weekly shopping trips, eating out every second day… all the things you work so hard to support, do they actually make you happy? What if downsizing your house, getting a more affordable car and being more minimalistic and conscious with your spending meant you could spend more time on something that lights you up and fills you with enthusiasm? It’s so easy to build a life based on the social norms of what is supposed to make us happy. I just wish more of us would stop and think about whether that cookie cutter life is really right for us and stop wasting so much energy supporting it when it’s not.
For moments when you doubt your decision
Chasing our passions will mean a lot of work, sacrifice and most importantly self-belief. But don’t get me wrong, the hard work will feel good (because you are working on something you love) and the sacrifice won’t feel like a huge deal (because the alternative is so exciting). It’s the self-belief part most of us will struggle with.
Worrying what others think, comparing ourselves and feeling inadequate are things we are all oh so good at. And that is ok, we are only human. What’s not ok is letting those feelings take charge of your life and squash any chance we have of a life we love. So during those hours, days or weeks self-doubt fills you here is my advice:
- Use positive affirmations. Think about the things that play on your mind the most. Is it money, your ability, having enough time? Then do a Pinterest (I have a board with my favourite Positive Affirmations here) or google search for affirmations that address these issues. Once you’ve gathered some good ones, print them out or write them on post-it notes and put them EVERYWHERE! On the fridge, on the bathroom mirror, at your workspace, by your bed. When you see them throughout your day, read them and do your best to really feel and believe the words you are saying. Fill yourself with confidence and positivity.
- Start a gratitude journal. There’s no better way to feel happy in the present while also attracting happiness in the future than gratitude journalling. And before you blow it off as a bunch of woo-woo non-sense, studies have shown that the simple act of writing down the things for which we’re grateful result in better sleep, fewer symptoms of illness, and more happiness. Start incorporating gratitude into your everyday by simply writing down 5 things you are grateful for. These things can be as simple as a good cup of coffee, a sunny day or someone who did something nice for you that day.
- Remove things and people from your life that make you feel inadequate. If there are certain things or people in your life that always leave you in a downwards spiral of comparison then it’s ok to take step back from them. It doesn’t make you a bad person, it means you are taking care of yourself. Unfollow or hide social media accounts that make you feel jealous and take some space from people in your life that make you feel unsupported or unworthy. When you have done some self work and feel strong and more confident in yourself you can always go back.
- Know that it’s ok if not everyone understands what you are doing. The truth is you simply cannot please everyone, and the most important person you need to please is yourself. So this is one you really just need to come to terms with and learn to feel comfortable with. Know that just because someone else doesn’t understand or support what you are doing doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you or them. It’s just human nature that we all have our own preferences and perspectives. In the same way that you don’t understand why anybody would want to spend their weekends running marathons, there will be people who don’t understand your passions. It’s ok.
Now go chase those dreams. And believe in yourself – I believe in you!
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