To say the last couple of years have been ones of growth and change for me would be just a tad bit of a massive understatement.
I flipped my life on its geographical and comfort zone head and zoned in on bringing what lights me up into the world.
And, you know what, there comes a time when we all stop and question what it is that we want out of life.
This was that time, for me.
Sometimes you come to terms with the fact that it is about getting back to who you’ve always been and the things you’ve always wanted to accomplish.
And recently, I’ve had a couple of people, who have been watching from the sidelines as I’ve slowly but surely stepped into who I want to be, reach out for inspiration of their own.
They wanted to know the books I read and the things I did that helped me on this adventure.
So, for those that are on the dream-life quest themselves but are beginning to doubt themselves, who can feel “reality” setting in, and have fear knocking on the door to remind them of how “irresponsible” they’re being for going all-in on their dreams.
For those that need some support staying on the inspiration train and staying steady in the conviction that they are on the right path.
Or, for those that simply just don’t know where to start, this is for you.
I’ve been thinking a lot this week about the things that have inspired me and empowered me throughout this wild ride and these are what came to mind:
1. BOOKS, BOOKS, BOOKS
There’s a reason books are front of mind and top of list for me.
A) Book Nerd of the highest order, over here.
B) Reading about someone else’s journey or the expertise they’ve taken the time to share with the world is, in my opinion, the easiest way to start any adventure.
It is a low-key way to get your imagination flowing and your motivation stirring. It allows you to let your mind + heart get used to the idea of wanting more, or different, progressively.
And, who knows, there might be a book or story that just snaps everything into focus for you.
That book for me was Big Magic by Liz Gilbert. I’ve read it twice and will most definitely be reading it again.
But, books are such a personal thing, in my opinion. Everyone is going to connect and find inspiration in a different one. But, a couple of others that have had an impact on me are:
- Creative Calling by Chase Jarvis
- You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero (although, it’s not for everyone)
- Atomic Habits by James Clear
- The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
Just find the time to absorb a new perspective. Whether it be a point of view you’d never considered or a point of view that is completely relatable. Authors write their books from their place of genius in the hopes that it will guide you.
So, pick someone you admire and read their biographies. I bet they’ve been through more than you think to get where they are today. What’s stopping you from doing the same?
Read about the industry you want to be in, or the country you want to live in. Read about setting goals. Just read.
Don’t forget to also read for fun. Getting your imagination muscles working is just as important for your life, creativity, and career as learning practical skills. Sometimes, even more so.
In today’s day and age you can buy, rent, or lease a book in an auditory, electronic or physical capacity. There is no excuse, dude.
- Libby is a great library app, and we’ve all heard of Audible.
- If you are in need of inspiration, check out the book section of this blog, or add me on Goodreads!
2. GET PUMPED ABOUT LEARNING NEW THINGS (FOR FUN + TO SUPPORT YOUR DREAMS)
Now that you’ve read your way through the lives of all your favourite people, time to gather the skills needed to build your dream life. Or, just learn something new for fun.
My go-to skill-enhancing platform is Skillshare. I have turned to it to learn everything from starting a blog to picking my brand values, to photography, writing, and communication skills. Seriously, you name it, and there’s a class for it.
Although they do have a premium membership for CA11.75$/month (click on the link to get 2 WEEKS FOR FREE), there is an amazing amount of free content available.
And, look, there are endless upon endless opportunities to learn new skills these days, and I have used an overwhelming amount of them, but I’ve found that having a platform where I can find them all in one place has been incredibly helpful for me.
No matter how you choose to learn or what you choose to learn, all of the new information, all the new ideas that come from that information, and all the new skills you’ll gain are going to skyrocket your confidence. Which will, in turn, make you an even more badass human being than you are right now.
The true force to be reckoned with you were born to be.
3. GET YOURSELF SOME STRUGGLE-BUDDIES
It can be incredibly lonely and scary to shift your life (especially when you aren’t emulating the life of any of those around you).
Maybe your friends and family are the most supportive on the entire face of the earth, but they probably won’t really understand the struggles you’re going through. There is something about learning and growing alongside people that are on the same path as you that uplifts you like no other.
I call them my struggle-buddies. Why? Because they get the struggle that sometimes comes with building your dream life (whatever that looks like to you).
Seriously, I’m a mega-introvert, but being a part of communities of like-minded people has kept me grounded and inspired when I needed it the most.
So, surround yourself with people that are going through the same things as you, are learning the same things, making the same mistakes as you, striving the same way you are.
People you can bounce your thoughts off of, your wins off of…your losses (because there will be losses my dear).
People that will push you to do things you never thought you could do because they see the best in you when you don’t see it in yourself. And, they don’t take your shit.
Who knows, maybe you’ll even make yourself some lifelong friends.
For me, it’s important that I surround myself with open-minded, positive, ambitious people, who are working towards being the best version of themselves. For you, it could be completely different, so do your research. There definitely isn’t a lack of options!
I’ve been a member of THE GAME CHANGER COLLECTIVE for over a year now and have loved every minute of it.
Other good ones I’ve personally explored:
4. FIND YOURSELF A VIRTUAL MENTOR OR 3
One of the amazing things about living in the world we live in today (for those of us that are lucky enough to have access to the internet), is that we have mentors at our fingertips.
Between YouTube, podcasts, TedTalks, Instagram, and the endless amount of other platforms, we are given insight into the lives of those we look up to like we’ve never had before.
Personally, I found blogs and YouTube to be incredibly powerful tools for me in the beginning. And, more recently, I’ve added Instagram Stories to that roster.
People like Erin May Henry, Amy Landino, MuchelleB, and Katrina Ruth were some of the ones I consumed incessantly in the beginning. They had me thinking about how I wanted to or could improve my life way before I took the plunge to pay for a program.
But, you’ll have to find the ones that resonate with you and where you want to go. There is someone for everyone and every adventure.
They will allow you to see how life can be outside the bubble you’re living in, and will often times provide you with actionable steps to lead you towards that life. Everything from productivity, motivation and time management, to reading suggestions.
So turn off whatever rerun you’re watching right now, look up a video for something you’re struggling with, and see who resonates with you.
That being said, try and pick 1-3 and cap it.
Information and inspiration overwhelm is a real thing and if you’re spending more time-consuming content than creating it, it gets really hard to make any progress 🙂 Trust me.
5. PAY SOMEONE TO SUPPORT YOU (COACHING + COACHING PROGRAMS)
I can sincerely say, with 3001% certainty, that the best decision I ever made on this dream-building adventure, was investing in a coaching program and a business coach.
I have had the same business coach for over a year. She is a digital nomad, creative, and has started 4 different businesses (slow travel agency, vegan skincare line, marketing agency, + kickass coaching business). Basically, she’s goals.
She has guided me, supported me, taught me, and pushed me. Without her, getting to where I am today would have taken a great many more detours and years. I’m sure of it.
Now, the reasons I think that these 2 programs really impacted me, was:
A) They’re amazingly powerful and action-packed.
B) They where group programs.
As I mentioned previously, starting a business can be really lonely in the beginning and inserting myself into virtual environments, where I wasn’t the only one going through the exact same struggles, reaaaaaalllllyyyy inspired me to take it all to the next level and to continue to bet on myself.
Honestly, the connection and support you’ll find in a group coaching program will blow your mind. For one, you’ll realize you are far from alone in feeling unsure about your career/life goals and you’ll also be immediately provided with a girl-gang of accountability buddies to push you forward.
It can be hard to spend money on things like this but I promise, if you go into it with the intention of coming out a better person, you will.
6. GET A LITTLE SELFISH
Yep. I said it.
To really bet on yourself and on your dreams, you are going to have to start getting into the habit of putting yourself front and centre in your own life.
That means taking care of yourself body, mind, and soul.
This is of course going to look different for everyone, but for me, personally, this looked a lot like personal development and snapping myself out of the people-pleasing mindset I had made my cozy home.
It’s going to demand you take a hard look at yourself and decide what it is YOU need to be happy on a daily, monthly, yearly, whole-life level.
Write out a list of what your Non-Negotiables are and commit to making them an integral part of who you are.
ALSO…take care of that beautiful mind and body.
Get off your butt.
Go for a walk, do some yoga, get a stretch in, whatever. There is something for every level of fitness, and every type of exercise on the internet these days. The only thing stopping you is yourself.
So take five minutes to do mobility exercises from your office chair (your back and neck will thank you), and deduct 30 minutes from somewhere else in your day a few times a week to devote to moving that wonderful body that carries you around this world.
For YEARS my sleep pattern was horrendous and I didn’t really have an idea of how much it was affecting me until I fixed it. Ok, I got a puppy who doesn’t let me sleep past 5 am. But, whatever works for you!
Getting enough sleep is so incredibly beneficial for your mental and physical health. It is a brain, attitude, and body fixer-upper. A well-rested human will be healthier, more productive, and let’s get real just more pleasant to be around.
Quiet Time: Just Shush
This one is a no-brainer for me. I DARE you to interrupt my morning quiet time. Introverts Unite! That is why I know how valuable it is.
Setting time aside in your routine EVERY DAY just for you and your thoughts will change your entire perspective. Take the time to check in with yourself and connect with how you are feeling. Throw in a social media detox and you won’t even know what to do with all the ideas that will be swimming around your brain.
So grab yourself one of those books we talked about, your favourite cup of hot beverage and unwind, would ya!?
7. GET USED TO SETTING GOALS + INTENTIONS FOR YOURSELF
One of the greatest gifts you’ll ever give yourself is deciding what the vision you have for your life looks like.
This was very hard for me. I had never really sat down and truly thought about what I wanted for my life in the long run.
“Go with the flow” was my favourite saying and it didn’t take me long to discover that it was ultimately my invisibility cloak for fear of failure, fear of the future, and blah blah blah.
Honestly, it took and continues to take some serious coaxing for me to really allow myself to visualize where I want to be and how I want to feel 1, 5, 10 years from now. But, now that I have an idea, it is so much easier for me to find motivation in my daily life and drive to work through the hard times.
Once you’ve figured out where you want to be, what you want to achieve, how you want to feel, and what you want to be doing 1,5, or 10 years from now, you can work backwards from there and set actionable and measurable goals for yourself.
They can be personal, professional, mythical, whatever. Goal set to your heart’s content.
Check-in with those goals regularly. Shift them and shape them as you evolve and as your vision for your life evolves. Remind yourself what you’re working towards monthly, weekly, daily. Whatever it takes.
***It is actually this process that inspired me to create my Own Your Youness Toolkit. Because I know how overwhelming it can be in the beginning. Inside you’ll find prompts, resources, and exercises to help you get to the bottom of who you want to be, where you want to go, and how you want to feel when you get there.***
8. JOURNAL YOUR NOT-SO-LITTLE HEART OUT
There has always been something incredibly soothing to me about writing in a diary or journal, but since setting off on this dream-building-adventure, journaling has taken on an entirely new role in my self-care and life.
For me, it is a space that belongs just to me, where I can live without judgment, express myself without fear of input or regret (human, over here), and really get to know who I am underneath all the BS (again, human).
What’s more, my journals from the past couple of years serve as an incredible way to see how far I’ve come. Let me tell you, reading a journal entry from a year ago is so incredibly rewarding and reassuring (especially when things are hard).
For instance, I remember in January 2019 setting the goal of launching my blog and publishing 8 or more blog posts by 2020. And when I read that entry in December of 2019 I had not only launched my blog (with dozens of blog posts), but I was working on relaunching my website for my brand new business.
It gives me chills still just thinking about it. You are capable of so much and you are going to make future-you so proud.
Don’t believe me?
Start documenting your journey.
Life is yours to create, so write the story of your damn dreams.