This year, I left my job, my apartment, sold most of my belongings, made the decision to leave the country to follow my dreams and heal from my family’s incredible loss (READ: I Left Everything To Travel The World For And With My Father).
The most important thing that I gained from my journey in the past few months was a purpose – to live, love and dedicate my time to inspire people all around the world who feel stuck, just like I did only 8 short months ago.
“You are the master of your fate; you are the captain of your soul.” You don’t become who you want to be by wishing; you become who you want to be by believing.
If you’ve followed along with my journey on instagram (@projectinspo), you’ve read some of the learnings I’ve shared throughout the past few months. For those who haven’t, here are 10 things to learn in order to start living the life that you want – the life that you’ve always dreamed of.
1. If it doesn’t scare you, it’s not worth doing.
Fear is and always will be present throughout your life, and being brave has nothing to do with being fearless. Being brave is about opening up about your fears, exposing them, choosing to become vulnerable regardless of who’s watching. Being brave is channeling your fears, refusing to let them guide you, but consciously letting them drive you to create the change you want to see in your life.
Pretending that you’re not scared is a crock of sh-t. That’s not bravery. That’s still pretending.
Everyone gets scared, and if you’re not doing something that scares you, then it may not be worth doing at all. If you’re not living a life where every once in a while you get scared sh-tless by what COULD happen, you’ll never create meaningful, positive change for your future. So remember: great things never came from comfort zones.
2. You are stronger because of your struggles.
Your past doesn’t define you – it sets you up so you can pick yourself up after your failures. It gives you the strength to overcome, to continue, and most importantly to do things you’ve never done, but have always dreamed of. Don’t be a victim of regret. Don’t apologize for who you are and how you’ve changed because of life’s challenges, however crazy, intense, passionate, outspoken or quiet you may be.
You’re imperfect, complicated, but just as beautiful and wonderful because of your scars. Strength is built, and it’s a gift of circumstance that not many people are given.
3. Accept and embrace who you’ve become.
When my father passed and my family struggled, I was more lost than I had ever been in my entire life. No one could answer my questions, I thought I would never get closure, and I lost all hope in my future. I constantly asked myself when I would get back to “normal”. It wasn’t until I realized that I was never supposed to go back to normal that I took back control of my life. It’s okay to open up about your struggles. It’s okay to feel completely f-cked up at times.
What I went through changed me forever, and the second I accepted that was the second I found the strength to live the life I had always dreamed of.
Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom to know which direction to go.
4. Your plan should include purpose.
I used to prioritize myself, showcase myself, do what I wanted to have what I thought I needed. The moment my life changed was when I realized that my passion had the potential to become of service to people around the world – to become a voice for change for those who have faced challenges throughout their lives.
My purpose was bigger than I had imagined; much bigger than me.
Stop thinking about what you want to do solely for yourself, but how you can do what you love to ultimately bring positive change to the world. That will determine your perspective, your level of happiness and the overall course of your life.
5. Your perspective can change everything.
“The things in your life that you think are happening TO you, are actually happening FOR you.” If you truly believe in yourself, you’ll learn to look at the events in your life as opportunities for growth. This will determine your level of gratitude, happiness and confidence – three things you need to be able to live the life of your dreams.
There will come a time in your life when you feel like everything is falling apart. That is the very moment when everything will be coming together.
6. Stop comparing yourself to other people.
A question I always struggled with was, “When is it going to be my turn?” I’d watch people who appeared to be less talented, work half as hard, born from bigger means, climb up the ladder to become more successful than me, and I’d scramble around trying to figure out why. I put in more time. I taught myself things that they paid someone to do. I’ve slept 3 hours a night for the past year.
Then I realized that you have to stop comparing yourself to others, but most importantly stop giving yourself the short end of the stick. Believe that everything you’ve been through – all the hard work, blood, sweat, tears you’ve invested in your future is worth more than you think.
There is a path and purpose for everyone, so stop comparing yours to someone else’s. This isn’t a race. You will come to know that what appears today to be a sacrifice will prove instead to be the greatest investment you will ever make.
7. Hard work ALWAYS pays off.
No matter where you are from, what color your skin is, the wealth or name of the family you were born into, your age, or the challenges that were placed in your way, I promise you that hard work always pays off. It may not seem like it on most days, you may get discouraged from the speed at which success seems to come for others, but don’t be distracted from your own journey. Work hard, stay persistent, and don’t ever give up on your dreams.
8. You get out of this life exactly what you put in.
If you want happiness, DO what makes you happy. If you want a friend, BECOME a friend. If you want to be successful, PUT IN the work. If you want love, LEARN how to love. If you want change, STOP doing the same things over and over again. Stop getting in your own way. Take a risk, work your a-s off and reap the rewards.
9. Chase happiness, not money.
If money is your sole motivation in life, happiness will always come second. I was so caught up in the cycle of working more to earn more to spend more to sleep less. I thought happiness came with a price tag, and I based every decision I made on money. But I was never satisfied and years later I was still unhappy. So if life wouldn’t change for me, I would have to change myself. Become the change you want to see.
To get something you’ve never gotten, you have to do something you’ve never done.
10. You cannot be afraid to fail.
Don’t let success get to your head. Don’t let failure get to your heart. You cannot be afraid to fail for the sake of failing. Failure is an opportunity to learn, grow and avoid making the same mistakes. Success is a journey, not a destination, so keep on climbing.
Thank you so much for reading this post, for your comments, and for inspiring me as much as I hope to inspire you. Follow me on instagram for daily motivational posts + photos: @projectinspo.