by Annie 

June 17, 2020

a better life

You’re ready to change your life. You know you’re meant for more. You want more fulfilling work and more freedom in life, but how do you start? There is a path to what you want, my friends! It starts when you stop trying to live up to everyone else’s version of what your life “should” be. You’re not meant to live in a box. Stop trying.

The Narrow View We're Given

limited perspective

The “acceptable” paths we’re given to choose from are stifling. We don’t fit. We’ve tried, and it doesn’t work. We’re left feeling stuck, bored, unfulfilled, and like there’s something wrong with us. Everyone around us seems to make it work. Why can’t we make it work too? Because you’re here for something different. You’re here to live outside the box.

I’ll never forget how it all came crashing down for me. Oh, I  was on the path, my friend! The job I landed after college was the very definition of “success” in my book. I had arrived and was on the fastrack up the corporate ladder. 

In less than three years, I worked my way into being the Marketing Communications Manager for North & South America for a Fortune 500 company. I was 30. (Trust me, it sounds WAY more interesting than it was.) The cherry on top: I was back in school working on my MBA. Watch out world, here I come! 

During a work trip to Dallas, I was in my boss’s office, after spending most of the morning in meetings with the VP of our division. These were two gents living the life I was setting myself up for. I was looking at the life I’d be living, if I kept on this path. 

That was it. My moment of clarity. I saw what my life would be in 10 years. It looked miserable. Everything inside me was screaming, “Fuck no! RUN!” 

Oh shit. Now what? I don't know, but not this.

I quit my MBA the following week and left the company six months later with absolutely no idea what the fuck I was going to do. I just knew it wasn’t going to be that. Maybe not the most responsible exit strategy, but I didn’t care. I needed to change my life. Stat. 

Guess what? I have zero regrets.

There's A Path to Freedom

the life you want

You’re not crazy and there’s nothing wrong with you if you don’t fit into the standard corporate culture that has taken over our society. There’s still a place for you! It’s just not there, or at least not in the way you’ve been doing it, so you’ve got to get creative! This is a grand adventure in exploration! It’s time to dream and dream big.

Start by figuring out what you love! Here’s a previous post with some exercises for finding your magic. You want to do work that leaves you fulfilled and able to have a life you actually enjoy, right?! You don’t have to know how it’s all going to come together, just do the dreaming for now.

It's Time to Get Clear

find your direction

First things first. You won’t do anything about it, if it’s not important to you. You can keep kicking the can down the road hoping that something will change, or you can make change happen. It’s totally within your power. But you’re going to have to get uncomfortable and do some things differently. If you’re not willing to do that, then just resign yourself to the same old shit and accept your choice.  

Okay, now that’s out of the way, it’s time to get really fucking clear on why you want more for your life. This is going to be your lifeline when things get tough and you run into challenges. Yes, there are going to be challenges. Anyone who says you can change your life without ever hitting a bump in the road is full of shit. Hell, you can’t even half-ass your life without bumps in the road! Wouldn’t you rather be headed toward something you really want?

This was always an impossible exercise for me. I’m interested in a bunch of different things that aren’t exactly related so finding work that would let me bring it all together wasn’t on offer. This made working in a traditional setting incredibly stifling for me. 

Then I found Emilie Wapnick’s TedTalk and it changed my life. Seriously. It changed my fucking life. I’m talking tears streaming, big ugly cry, and finally feeling like there wasn’t something wrong with me! Once I discovered this new way of being in the world, it opened up so many new possibilities and helped me get really fucking clear on wanted my life to look like.  

Clarity Exercise

What is it that you want from life that you don’t already have? What impact do you want to make in the world? How do you want to help people or make change? You have to know what you want before you can start making it happen. 

Try this. Spend 10 - 15 minutes today and every day just daydreaming. Yes, you have permission to daydream and dream bigger! Think about all the awesome things you’d like to do and experience. Write them down. None of them are “wrong” or “stupid”. Don’t judge, just write! 

Decide what you want first and start making a plan to get it. Reverse engineer that shit! If you get stuck and can’t see how it can come together, schedule a free call and let’s chat through it! No seriously, I love this stuff. 

The Only Failure is Not Trying

failure is not trying

You’ll have to stop giving a shit what other people think, if you’re really going to go for it. You have to own your life. You have to ignore all the “shoulds” people are going to throw at you. Some people don’t like change, and that includes other people changing. There will be haters. You’re badass enough to get through it, if it’s important to you. 

You learn A LOT when you’re throwing your life into total upheaval. Trust me, I’ve done it more than a couple times. You’re going to make mistakes and you’ll also learn from them. You’re going to fall down and you’ll get back up. That’s not failure. That’s trying. Failure is having to ask, “What could have been, if I’d tried?”

I’ve started four different businesses over the years. None of them made much money or would be labeled “successful” by pretty much anyone’s definition. I don’t see them as failures. I learned so damn much from each one of those experiences and I’ve used those lessons to help me in the next step.

I’ve had incredible moments too. I’ve celebrated breakthroughs in my mindset. I’ve watched the lightbulb go on for clients. I’ve seen more of the world than many do in an entire lifetime. I’ve gone for it. 

I’ve fallen on my face so many times, I’ve lost count. I still have zero regrets. Guess what? I’ll always be chasing my dreams. While others are deciding if they want to, I’ll be taking another step closer. Sometimes those dreams change. So do I. It’s a process, not a one-time thing to change your life.

Brene Brown does amazing work, and her book, Daring Greatly, hit home for me. This quote from Theodore Roosevelt helped me put my efforts into perspective:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Are you going to be in the arena or watch from the stands? I’ll be here in the arena, ready to stand alongside you.

It's Never Too Late to Change Your Life

time to change your life

“It’s too late. I can’t do that now.” always breaks my heart when I hear someone say it. It’s NEVER too late to do shit you want to do! You may not get to do everything you want (my list is enough for five lifetimes!), but you can start now. Start making plans. Put a fucking date on the calendar instead of saying “someday.” 

Do it. Make it happen. Stop making excuses and fucking do the shit you want to do. 

You’re not meant to fit in a box, so stop trying.

Use Your Voice

What boxes have you been trying to fit into? What do you really want instead?

Join the conversation in our community and you'll see you're not alone in the effort to change your lives!

About the author 

Annie

Change Maker. Bold Explorer. Big Dreamer.

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