‘’Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
And sorry I could not travel both and be one traveler.
Long I stood and looked down one as far as I could,
To where it bent in the undergrowth……..
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.;’’
An excerpt from the poem ‘The Road Less Travelled’ By Robert Frost
The fork in the road: One small step for your self-esteem, one giant step for your sanity
Remember your first day of school? Ok for some of us we might not be able to remember that far back, so think about your first job.
How afraid were you of this new world you’ve just entered, with all these strangers you know nothing about? Those awkward first conversations. The confusion and feeling completely out of place.
At some point in time, you were probably driven to tears, wondering if you’ll ever be able to find your feet, or even fit into your new environment.
Now remember how you felt when you started finding your flow. You started to understand how things worked. You adapted your communication style to get the best out of your schoolmates, or colleagues.
And suddenly, people started asking for your opinion or advice. You could give someone some tips that you discovered, to enhance a process, make things better and faster.
And before you knew it, someone new has joined. You were no longer the newbie with the deer in the headlights look. You were now the mentor.
As we mature, we lose our sense of adventure. We become set in our ways and we start to become the subject of the saying, ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.’
Life sometimes throws us curve balls that make us stop dead in our tracks when we sense danger. It’s a natural defense mechanism that we develop as adults to keep us from what we perceive as impending doom.
The more curve balls we experience, the stronger the defense mechanism becomes.
We become jaded and cynical, and we start to cower from the danger instead of facing it head on.
Remember how adaptable you were in the beginning? How quickly you learned and how good you became at what you do? How did you feel when you got things under control and started thriving?
It is easy to have our senses dulled when we’ve built up those walls of protection against the consequences of making the wrong decisions, criticisms and failures.
However no can ever say that they’ve never failed at anything, and yet we live to see another day.
Here we reach the fork in the road.
We’ve become great at what we do, we earn a sustainable salary and life is going smoothly.
Yet job stability doesn’t always equal job satisfaction. And a sustainable salary doesn’t always equal a good quality of life.
When was the last time you laughed till you cried? Or arranged an impromptu barbecue with family and friends that ended up lasting all weekend? Have you ever just looked at your bucket list and decided then and there to pick one and just to it……tomorrow! Do you even the time or the energy to create a bucket list? When was the last time you looked forward to a Monday?
Sometimes we become so caught up in the daily grind that we become used to the tedious monotony of trying to do things the right way yet heading nowhere fast. It starts to feel like ground hog day, but the thought of diverting from the path of sustainability doesn’t even cross our minds, and we except our methodical fates.
We think that we are in control, but why do we feel so unsatisfied, like something’s missing? There must be more to life…. but what?
This feeling is really emaciated potential. The wasting away of impending eminence. Where goals, dreams and ambitions are on life support.
The goals and dreams that were once courageous, energetic, enthusiastic and fearless.
We crave change but are unwilling to commit ourselves and face the challenges ahead. They may have waned, but they are not yet dead.
Our spines of steel have rusted but have not yet disintegrated.
So where do we go from here?
Do we take the safe and comfortable path where we perceive control rather than prove it? Walking the same path, no matter how unsatisfactory it might be.
Or do we take the path less traveled. The journey where we can design the lives we truly want to live along the way. The rocky, steep route that will take us to the pinnacle of our goals and dreams, where we can live life on our own terms.
Realizing our true potential is a process of self-discovery.
This can only be learned from going through life experiences, good and bad. The more you get to experience, the more confident you become in your abilities. Don’t look at your experiences as something you either will never experience again, or never want to experience again. Although I’m sure there are a few experiences in all our lives that we truly never want to face again.
There is another saying though, ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’. Developing your strengths will depend on whether you get up and continue running, or veer off the road and shrink in self-pity.
Reignite the passion for success
If you’ve been burning the candle from both ends of the stick, it becomes more and more difficult to remain pumped up and ready for a new change.
Exhaustion, frustration and confusion can cause one to sink into a never-ending pit of self-loathing and doom.
The most important factor in reigniting your passion, is first to realize and admit to yourself that something’s got to give. That recognition alone will feel as though a ton has been lifted from your shoulders, and you might feel just a bit lighter. Light enough to start taking strides to make that necessary change.
So let’s explore some ways that will make you rise and take that first step.
5 Ways to get your creative juices flowing
1. Hit the books
The fastest way to gain information and increase your knowledge and understanding is reading. Fortunately, these days, acquiring reading material is as easy as the click of a mouse.
Here are 3 great books to inspire you to become your own boss:
• The Entrepreneur Mind by Kevin D. Johnson
When you're attempting to make great strides, it is best to work on the mind first. This book is not only about changing the way you think to one of an entrepreneur, but also focuses on rational thought patterns. It's a good place to start when you're struggling with self doubt and negative thinking. Buy it online here.
• Rework by Jason Fried & David Hansson
This no-nonsense book contradicts every conventional perception of business. It gets straight to the point and places emphasis on ‘stop talking and start working!’
Don’t waste time, start reading immediately with this free PDF file.
• The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
You will get a truly realistic view of what to expect when you become an entrepreneur. This is a good read if you’re looking to gain confidence and momentum.
I could not find a free PDF of the entire book, only the synopsis. Buy it online here. If you don’t like to read, or simply don’t have the time, there is a whole platform of motivation, inspirational and educational TED Talks, of which I am a personal favorite. They are all just a google search away.
2. Let go of expectations
Have you ever experienced searching desperately for something but never finding it…..until you’ve given up? Assuming that something will happen in a certain way, is a sure to produce inevitable disappointment.
When you let go of your expectations, you leave space for events to happen as they should, in sequence, as it was meant to be.
This way you will learn to generate the most productive results, while ensuring that mistakes and bad decisions are corrected and never repeated along the way. You will become more situationally aware and open to whatever comes your way. Now you’re on the right track.
Be gracious with yourself and give yourself the time to become empowered. The more empowered you become, the weaker your self-imposed myths that you are a failure becomes.
You cannot fail, no matter how long it takes. You can only give up.
Watch this inspiring TED Talk by Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert, where he talks about the things that lead to unhappiness that we seldom think about, such as the effect of expectations, temporary satisfaction (aka instant gratification), and the impact of the future.
3. Leverage the tools and opportunities at your disposal
The internet has made it possible for us to get whatever information we want whenever we want it. Focus on what you need to work on first to reach your goals.
Do you need to work on focusing, mindset, finding a niche, increasing your business knowledge, find a mentor…….whatever it takes to get you started.
We do not all learn the same, or at the same pace.
Tailor your searches to what you think you need the most work on first.
If you’re not a social media veteran (like I was), start searching how to use social media to your advantage in business.
If you want to sell your own products, start looking for gaps in the market, or what people are looking for but just not finding.
If you’re completely lost, start searching for a mentor or life coach who can look at your circumstances and personality traits and tailor a solution that suites your current needs.
4. Find groups or individuals who do not believe in self pity
Birds of a feather flock together after all. When you frequently surround yourself with certain types of people, you will soon find that you start to become just like them, whether you intend to or not.
These types of people have already been through the emotional roller coaster of trying and failing. They can inspire you, guide you and help you to reach your full potential.
Stand on the shoulders of giants as you progress through this change. If anyone knows who you’re going through it will be them.
You are not alone.
5. Make your outcomes crystal clear
Have a goal in mind. Even if you’re unsure whether it’s realistic or not. Remember, this is a goal, not an expectation. Don’t be afraid to dream big.
Make a list of what you need to do to start diving into this new change.
Whether it’s getting your body and mind in order or reading one inspirational book a week to get you in the entrepreneurial mood.
But include a time period with every task. This will not only teach you discipline to manage your time more efficiently, but it will force you to do a productive activity every day.
Hold yourself accountable and give yourself room to improve.
Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Starting something new is the easy part. Sticking to it is another story altogether. When you start making changes and you feel yourself waning again, don’t worry.
All it takes is to take a few deep breaths and refocus.
If something is not keeping you interested, it simply means it’s not for you and you need to re-strategize.
Find some new learning material that will keep you interested. Or perhaps another group to join or follow on social media.
You will eventually find your niche. And when you do, that’s when the magic happens.
Stay tuned for more motivational content.
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