I've heard it often throughout my life. Someone is complaining about their lot in life, the job they feel stuck in, the lack of joy, the absence of a relationship - you name it. But how long are you just going to sit there and complain about it? As Albert Einstein said, "the definition of insanity is continuing to do the same things while expecting a different outcome." I couldn't agree more. And before we get started, let's clear something up. No, life isn't 'fair'. It throws curve balls and obstacles at us at every opportunity. Another wise person said "we are not defined by what happens to us, but how we respond." I have lived by both of these statements for my entire life.
A little history about me. I was born blind in one eye, had to undergo a spinal fusion at the age of 14 that had me in the hospital for a year, was extremely insecure, and made poor relationship choices, finding myself in relationships that weren't healthy for me. So, yes, like everyone else, I've had my share of challenges. But, whether it's my personality, my upbringing (strong New England stock), or something else, I never saw the things that happened to me as anything other than life. It never dawned on me to complain, or whine, or give up. I marshalled on. And you can too.
Here are a couple of tips from someone who knows how life can try and knock you down. Notice I said 'try'. Whether or not you succeed through life's challenges is completely in your hands.
1. Don't give up. I know I said that before, but it's the most important thing. Giving up means things will never change. Wouldn't you rather try and fail, then never try at all and wonder what might have been?
2. Be optimistic. If you believe and you keep trying, eventually things WILL work out. Maybe not as you wanted or expected, but as they should. I've had more than one attempt turn into something other than I desired only to learn it was the best thing for me at the time. Plus, positivity brings positivity. People are drawn to optimistic, happy people. When was the last time you felt yourself drawn to negative Nelly? Put your big girl/boy pants on, smile and soldier on!
3. Figure out what your strengths are. Everyone has strengths. Everyone has gifts. Discover yours, capitalize on them and recreate yourself.
4. What's getting in your way? Ok, it's not easy, but take a good long look in the mirror and figure out how you are hurting yourself. For years, I had a terrible, and I mean terrible, temper. I finally saw how that was negatively impacting my life and chose to do something about it. Today, when I tell people this, they are shocked.
5. Keep your eye on the prize. Know what you want. Visualize it. Some people even create a montage, or a dreamscape - something that reminds them what they want for their life. You'd be amazed how motivating this can be!
6. And finally, to keep this short, forgive yourself when you slip. Very few of us have steady forward progress consistently. You will falter, you will doubt, but don't give in to it. Recognize it for what it is and keep going.
Through all of life's challenges, I have held these beliefs. I've left bad situations, I've ended unhealthy relationships, I've walked away from things that I knew just weren't good for me. What I've been rewarded with is a life that is, in every way, what I want it to be! I do work that I'm good at, that is meaningful, that helps others. I live in the one place on Earth that makes me whole. I have a relationship, a family, and the best circle of friends a person could want. What more could I ask for? Well, for the moment, I can't think of a thing.
So, dream big, be bold, and go for it! I wish you all the same healthy, happy life I have created for myself!
Andrea made the choice to leave the corporate world in May 2013 to pursue her dreams.