What happens when you let others define success for you

Ahhh, this is going to be a very vulnerable post (because I talk about being fired for the first time to ANYONE besides the 5 closest people to me…here it goes! <3

For a long time I let my version of success be defined by other people. I think most of us do, it’s almost a part of being human – we care what other people think of us, we want to be liked, and we want to fit in. So we often define our version of success or a happy life based on what other people think success or happiness means so we can fit in and be liked.

It wasn’t until I got sick that I stopped and paused long enough to realize this was even happening. For most of my 20’s, I thought success to me meant climbing the corporate ladder, earning 6 figures for a company that was “cool” or highly respected.

After college I worked hard to find a job that I could wear as a badge of honor. I was praying I wouldn’t get one at a company no one had heard of doing work no one would see – the horror! I guess fortunately for my ego at the time I landed a job at a well known advertising agency working on one of the most well known & cool brands in the world.

“Cool!” I thought, “Now anyone who looks at my LinkedIn page will think I’m awesome!” LOL, or something along those lines.

I’m pretty sure NO ONE thought that when they found out I (sort of) worked for this big name brand. In fact, I’m positive no one thought that. Truthfully, no one cares where you work and no one thinks you’re cooler or any better of a person because of that either. Even though it feels that way. Trust me, I know the feeling.

But when I got fired from that job (more on that in a bit) and started working at my next job at a place no one had heard of, nothing changed. Well that’s not true, I learned a lot from being fired, but like I said, more on that in a minute. When I mean nothing changed I mean the fact that I had gone from working for this cool brand to company “unknown” didn’t affect any of my relationships. I didn’t become less cool. I didn’t become any less of a person because of it…

What if you let yourself be OK with being the dumbest person in the room? What if you gave yourself permission to not know everything? What if you let yourself off the hook and allowed yourself not to be better, smarter, more attractive than other people? To not be perfect all the damn time?

How much pressure would that take off of you? How much more would you accomplish simply by being OK with not being the smartest, most successful person in the room? How much more would you learn?

So many of us hold ourselves back by not going after what we want, not going after our dreams or goals because we’re afraid that if we can’t be the best, if we can’t do something perfectly, then we shouldn’t do it at all. Or if we fail then we’ll look like an idiot or a loser or a complete failure. We miss out on learning opportunities because we don’t want to be a dumbass.

So what if you let yourself be the dumbass?

Dumbasses are worthy too…

Want to change your life? Stop relying on willpower and do this instead.

I feel like we were all fed the same BS when we were younger – if you want to accomplish something you need to have willpower. If you’re trying to change your life and it’s not working, you might think to yourself, “I must not have enough willpower. I need to work harder.” But you just find yourself getting more tired and frustrated the harder you force yourself to work. Let me tell you why this is wrong!

You know when you’re working on a project for school or work and it’s just totally uninteresting and boring? That’s when you need willpower. But have you ever worked on a passion project where time just flew by and you finished it almost effortlessly? As if you didn’t have to exert any willpower whatsoever to make it happen? The difference is working on something that you are excited about and really want versus something that doesn’t align with what you really want to be doing. So what does this mean if you want to change your life and go after some big goals?

If you feel like you’re forcing yourself to work on something or asking yourself to dig deeper for more willpower then you’re not working on the right thing for you. In other words – you need to re-evaluate what it is that you truly want. 

In my experience, if you want to change your life and accomplish your goals you need to get crystal clear on what you want first. Not what you think you want, not what your family or friends want, not what you wanted a year ago, but what you truly want now. What sets your heart on fire, what excites your soul, what drives you to work tirelessly without force? That’s what you need to identify if you want to change your life and turn those dreams into reality.

You can exert all the willpower you want, but without knowing exactly where you want to go you’ll just be spinning your wheels.

Hell. We’ve all been there right? Whether you’re struggling with a difficult illness, going through a bad breakup, dealign with a job loss, grieving the loss of a loved one, or any other hell-ish experience, you know what it’s like to be feeling the lowest of lows. Sometimes it feels like it’ll never end. I think that’s the worst part about these experiences is not knowing if you’ll be able to pull yourself out of them. You wonder if you’ll ever be back to normal or feel happy and carefree again. You may even forget what it’s like to laugh. I’ve been there. I know how it feels and it ain’t fun. But if you’re going through hell try to remember this. It’s only temporary.

You WILL feel better soon. If there’s one thing for certain about life it’s that it’s forever moving, forever changing, forever continuing forward. Everything changes. Nothing remains the same. It can be both kind and tragic, depending on where you stand.

One of the mantras I’ve come to repeat over and over again when my illness flares up badly is “This is only temporary.” This phrase reminds me that in a few days I’ll be feeling better again, I just have to get through the worst of it…

The key to happiness that nobody tells you

What if I told you the key to happiness lies in mastering the use of just one tool. This tool is the most complex, powerful tool known to man and unbelievably it’s free, and every single person has access to one. It’s often taken for granted, overlooked, and under utilized as people search outside themselves for materials, resources and experiences to make them happy. So what is this tool? It’s the human brain! Sorry, was that a bit of a letdown? Let me explain.

I want to talk to you guys about training your brain because it’s something I’ve been deeply working on and I’ve experienced really amazing results. I don’t mean training it to get smarter with games like lumosity, which is great if you want to do that too, but I’m talking about the kind of training to get your brain to work for you, do what you want it to do and think how you want it to think. Because I promise you, right now, it doesn’t. And training your brain so that you can manage your thoughts is where you’ll find the key to happiness.

Hi friends. It’s been a while, huh? I’m sorry about that. I really didn’t mean to leave you hanging for so long. See, here’s the deal. By now hopefully most of you know that I’ve been dealing with a difficult, often debilitating, illness. You can read more about it here if you aren’t up to date on my story. For most of 2017 things had been going well and my illness had become more of an annoyance to me, which was a wonderful change after a year of pain and feeling like it ruled my life, and I found the time and energy to start this blog and even a podcast. And then things changed and I got really sick again in April.

Now let me ask you something…have you ever just needed a break from everything? Time to just get away and leave the world behind? Press the pause button on life for a few days?

When my illness flared up again in April it was worse than ever and it knocked me down for a good couple of weeks. I was extremely exhausted, sleeping for days straight, and fell into a dark depression that I’ve never experienced before. Something inside me told me what I needed was to press the pause button on life to focus on my health. So that’s what I did. I’ve been focusing more on getting in touch with my intuition and inner guide and so when I heard this message, I listened. In the past I would’ve ignored this voice or not even have heard it at all. Something inside me was telling me to just stop.

I essentially took a mental and physical break from everything. I stopped working, stopped all social media, stopped all blogging, all emails, I even stopped my beloved podcast that I had JUST launched. I spent all my time relaxing, resting, and recuperating. This was the hardest thing EVER to do. I’m a very driven person and I’m not one to sit still often. Spending all of this time resting and relaxing was so foreign to me and I often felt a lot of guilt. Shouldn’t I be working, earning money, doing something productive?? But I was doing something productive, I was focusing on my health and recovering. That is the most important thing. Without your health, you really have nothing at all.

 

And as I sit here in wet clothes (wet from the lovely ooze my skin is gifting to me today), I am still on this rest and recovery path. I didn’t think I’d be here 4 weeks later. I thought I’d take 2 weeks off and be back to normal, but it’s taking  longer than I expected to get back to my healthy self.

 

I know I need to be patient and trust in the timing of my life. Trust that this is right where I need to be. But it’s definitely hard when I feel so utterly helpless in my own body. It’s so hard to even just write this post but I wanted to explain what is going on to you guys and why I’ve been completely MIA for the past couple of weeks.

 

I haven’t forgotten about you guys! I haven’t forgotten about this blog! I’m just going through a rapid growth and learning process while working through this recovery and it’s taking longer than I expected. I thought I would bounce back in 2 weeks and be back at it, but that’s just not the case. But I will be back, I promise. I will be back and better than ever – soon! I will have so much to share about what I’ve learned and I’m excited to share everything with you guys when I’m better.

 

I just want to thank you all for your support and for reading my blog. It means the world to me to have such avid readers and I hope that by sharing my experiences you know you have a friend in me that you can always turn to. So please bare with me as I take some time to recover and get well. Know that I am doing all that I can to get better and get back to blogging. I will be back soon, so please stay with me! <3

 

Thank you all so much.
Xx,
Al

In this episode of the podcast, I’m speaking with Coley Lane, the founder and editor of lifegoalsmag.com, an online magazine for becoming your best self. It’s a wonderful resource for anyone interested in personal growth and self-exploration. There’s a lot of great content on it, I even contributed an article myself about what you should be doing instead of soul searching. In this episode we cover a ton of ground in the world of personal growth, from how to find your passions, exploring your life’s purpose, to meditation, to self-awareness, to our personal habits and routines that we use to stay aligned with and be our best selves.

I was excited to talk to Coley because having founded an online magazine all about personal growth I knew she would have some interesting insights into what we could all be doing to be happier versions of ourselves. I also have gotten to know her personally outside of the podcast and I knew that her own journey of sort of growing up without any passions or direction might resonate with a lot of you, I know it did with me. 

In this episode you’ll learn…

This week on the podcast I’m speaking with Lena Elkins, a Millennial business and marketing coach who works with ambitious Millennials from around the world on escaping the 9 to 5 and launching their own online freelance businesses. This episode is all about finding the confidence to trust yourself, learning how to put yourself first, and figuring out how to get more in touch with your true self. 

Yes, Lena is a business coach and maybe starting your own business interests you, but maybe it doesn’t. Either way, what I really wanted to get out of this conversation with Lena was to understand how she was able to leave her corporate job at such a young age, despite her family and friends all thinking it was a bad idea. Where did that confidence come from? She seemed to have figured out who she was and what she wanted to do at such a young age and I wanted to know what it was that made her able to trust herself so much and go out on her own. I wanted to know what she does in her everyday life that might be different than the rest of us who are still trying to figure out who we are. Make sure you stay tuned till the end as Lena will be divulging her secrets, including one she’s never talked openly about before!

In this episode you’ll learn…