We're all pretenders, you know.
As I walk around with a smile on my face and a timeline of poppin' Instagram photos, I often secretly carry a burden of feeling left behind on the success train.
Can you relate?
Although you still have large goals and visions, the daily struggle to stay positive when your situation isn't changing is quite draining. One day you're killing it, but the next day you're sitting in a dark room, wondering what went wrong with your life. It's a constant rollercoaster ride of doubt, anxiousness, and fear and you're ready to hop off immediately.
This has been my biggest struggle after college. I have constantly battled with the crazy emotions of not feeling good enough to experience the life I desperately want.
When I look at my favorite role models, they make it look so easy. “Just grind and be patient," I read in interviews or hear during their acceptance speeches. And as motivating as it is to see them and my peers thriving around me, I feel stuck and overwhelmed.
I want you to know that you are not alone. So many people struggle with the fear of wasting their life away without accomplishing their dreams.
But there's light at the end of this tunnel. Yes, you may have not totally “arrived" yet, but there are so many life-changing lessons you can experience along the journey. Since we all want to win at this adulting life game, here are nine incredible ways to feel happy and successful without having it all together.
Enjoy the journey
First things first, you are never going to make it to your destination.
If you study the greats in any field most will say that “making it" is a huge myth. True success comes to those who consistently strive to improve themselves.
Think about your favorite one hit wonders. They changed the world with their song but when the fame hit, they lost focus and threw away the opportunity to really be something big.
Success is not measured by the wins but by the ability to sustain them once you get there. You may hit some major goals down the road but you will always run into a bigger vision that requires you to push even further.
Get Clear About Your Intentions
I've found that when I feel off track it's because I am not clear on the goals I'm trying to achieve. I was not only lost in the sauce with finding purpose but also lost in understanding who I was after college. A powerful exercise I started doing was writing three pages of my thoughts every morning. No matter if it sucked, I pushed past my rebellion to always get the three pages done.
What I found woven between those lines was my true and authentic self. I discovered my passions and what gives me fear. Understanding who I was and letting go of the need to force an answer drastically changed my struggle. Relax, get some thoughts on paper, and uncover what really makes your heart flutter.
Take Needed Breaks From Your Family and Friends
We value our family and friends' opinions more than anyone else. It's why we text them pictures of potential baes or beg them to start a new workout plan. These relationships are very important but they also have the biggest potential to discourage us when we are fighting for our dreams. It's not that they are trying to be hurtful, but many times they can only see the vision from their own eyes.
I had to realize that what God told me is not meant for everyone to understand. When I am struggling with self-confidence or confusion, I often try to make my life as quiet as possible so that I can hear the next direction. Silent the noise. They will be okay, I promise.
Passionately Work On a Side Project
Studies show that most millionaires are ballin' because they have multiple sources of income. When we get caught up in the security of our post-grad jobs, we often abandon what we love for a steady check. But the more we deny our real selves, the more lost and insecure we feel.
You were made to create. Find ways to exercise that characteristic by indulging in a side hustle. From starting a blog, doing makeovers for cancer patients, or even joining a book club, making time for your thing will burst open the doors to finding your purpose. Personality tests like Meyers-Briggs have helped with identifying what I love to do.
Take Notes From The Successful
Energy is transferable so take advantage of it by following people that truly inspire you. No this doesn't mean replicate someone's idea but it does mean to study their habits. I often watch interviews or read how someone got started before they became successful. Incorporating techniques that worked for them into your empire-building will help to create a road map that won't have you feeling lost.
In addition, go to conferences where boss women attend. Just being in the room will change your perspective and inspire you to keep going.
Get Schooled By Someone Older
We like to run to our peers or Youtube gurus for advice but some of the most valuable wisdom comes from the elderly adults in our lives. Try sitting down with a grandparent or visit a senior citizen home and listen to their advice. This is powerful because it often reveals many risks they didn't take that they wish they would have.
Let Go of “The Best Four Years of Your Life"
The message that college is going to be the best four years of your life is such a trap to stay stuck in the past. In order to be content with the journey, you have to let go of the highlight reels of undergrad life. During this season, you are going through major inner transformation from who you used to be and you won't fully embrace that if you continue to hold on to old memories.
Identify Your Bad Habits
Here's a hard truth - you still have habits that suck. It's not that no one will give you an opportunity, it's that you haven't learned to handle the current blessings you have. Take some paper and write down every bad habit you still entertain. Big ones for me were work tardiness, not keeping my word and procrastination. Draw a line down the middle and write the habit that's opposite. So, for example, a good habit to replace tardiness is picking a new time to leave my house every morning. Practicing new habits will be a challenge but they will help you step your game up and feel more confident.
Document Your Wins
Whether it's a picture, nice email from your boss, or a text saying that you inspired someone, keep your wins close to you. You can create an album in your phone or folder on the computer to save them. Having easy access to these will give you a get your life boost when you start to sink into the struggle woes.
I don't know about you but I want to know what freedom looks like. This requires me to release the need for pretending that everything is okay.
Learn that being uncomfortable is a powerful place to be in.
No, you won't let your family down and no it all won't make sense. But one of our greatest setbacks is using our struggles as an excuse to stay the same.
Your journey is begging to stretch you, challenge you and shine light to the areas that you need to develop.
So stay the course. The world is waiting for you.
Alaina Curry is a Las Vegas publicist, freelance writer and owner of her website The Glow Up, a post-grad survival blog for the lit and educated. Embracing the raggedy moments of adulthood, she is always looking to push the narrative of loving your truth and chasing your dreams. You can follow her on Instagram or Twitter at @hotlaina_.