This is embarrassing to admit, but my college friends have always called me a hippie (thanks, Terrance). Not that I’m a barefoot, drop-acid-in-the-forest kind of person (though I have friends that are those type and they’re absolutely lovely folks). But despite this moniker, I developed a distrust of The Secret phenomenon. I always believed that in order to get something you want, you need to work hard and put the time in. That’s it. Which is why I took the first real adult job I was offered and committed to it (despite that I really, really hated it).
What I learned at the beginning of my career is that those “hippie methods” and my career-driven “East Coast” mindset (what my husband calls it) were not mutually exclusive. In fact, you need both to end up where you want to be.
The Secret & the Worst Job Ever
I admit it, I was feeling pretty cocky when I realized that I was the first person that I knew who was working a corporate job just nine days after graduation. The work was monotonous, but I got to wear those sexy pencil skirt sets and heels, and I was making more than I ever had working at Ace Hardware. But as the weeks wore on, especially during those hour-long commutes in Boston traffic on I-90, I started to get a little antsy. I started listening to The Secret audiobook repeatedly, hoping that somehow it would magically *poof* my job into something that I actually enjoyed. It did not. That’s how I learned my first lesson from the Law of Attraction. Inactivity yields nothing. The reason why visualization works is because it’s changing your perception of what’s possible. From there, you being to make unconscious or purposeful steps towards your goals.
Let’s use an example that helped clarify it for me: If you, straight up, believed that you couldn’t run five miles, what’s the likelihood that you’re ever going to try? That kind of stamina requires commitment, building habits towards that goal, and pushing yourself. Something has to shift in your perception that makes change a possibility, a plausible reality.
Losing my job & “Everything Happens for a Reason”
I am a Communications major who is bad at accounting. (Shocking!) But the higher-ups at the auto loan company promised that if I filled an important role for an undefined amount of time, they would move me down to the marketing department. This sounded like exactly what I was expecting from a 9-5: put in the hard, boring work so I could move up to something better. But the marketing job never panned out (frankly, I think they forgot). And it was becoming embarrassingly obvious that I was awful at accounting. Mistakes were made, serious frown-y face meetings were had, and I was so frustrated at trying to be good at something that I didn’t enjoy, I almost thought for a moment that I was failing at this whole “adulting” thing.
I don’t remember exactly how the “I’m not a good fit for the position” conversation happened, but it was completely amicable. I left on good terms. What I do remember was the feeling as I drove home, windows down. I had missed rush hour & I-90 was clear for the first time since I had started working at that awful, enlightening job. There was this cliché instinct that it had happened at exactly the right time (and it had!) plus there was something better out there.
Despite people telling me that I needed to start getting more applications out, I decided that I wanted to be a freelance writer. This was something that I had been low-key working on since college, but I never considered it as a full-time option. My perception of what’s possible had shifted. Which meant that I was ready to commit to the work.
Let me explain how this story can benefit you (because it’s not all about me, I promise). Because a lot of our goals can seem completely insurmountable, which is why we don’t even start them in the first place, it’s important to keep in mind that perception shift throughout the day, weeks, months, etc. You can do anything you put your mind to, it depends on where you spend your time.
These are the primary steps that I applied at the very beginning
A culmination of my work mindset & all those “hippie” self-help books that I devoured.
- First you have to identify your goals. What do you really want to accomplish in the next year? Write it down. Be as descriptive as you can, so you can return to it when you’re feeling unmotivated. Ask yourself:
- Why do I want this?
- How will I feel when I accomplish this?
- How does this compare to where I am now?
A good goal is something that you can visualize specifically. You’ve been considering it for a while. I could practically see myself at my laptop (buh-bye, terrible commute) every day, with a cup of coffee, and my busy planner next to me. This may sound hippie-dippy, but shut your eyes for a moment and see if you can picture it.
- What are the smaller steps that you need to do in order to get this done? Write it down in a clear list format.
I needed to research what I needed to first, create a website, gather together portfolio examples, and find clients. I wrote this down, then broke down each piece into actionable steps. I’m a big fan of writing in a moleskin ( I use this one it makes me feel important, to be honest, and it feels more profesh than a college-rule notebook).
- Create a schedule of your actionable items.
- Just do it (a la Nike).
You can return to your goal description as often as necessary. Sometimes it’s nice to be reminded of why you’re working so hard, especially when there’s a billion less-difficult ways to be spending your time (like re-watching Gossip Girl on Netflix… I’m guilty of that one).
If you’ve utilized this, or a similar method, I’d love to hear your goals! Also, more book recommendations! Comment with either, please & thank you. (: