For most of my life, I just accepted what came to me. I worked hard and moved through the ranks of my chosen profession. With that plan I did ok. I got several promotions and increased my income modestly over the years. I was a steady, efficient, and capable workhorse.
But I was just, OK.
I saw people around me and on television who were doing things, different things. The type of things I never considered possible for me. They were building businesses, becoming media moguls, traveling around the world. The only thing I was doing was helping others build their dreams and lifestyle. Mainly because I just didn’t see how someone like me could ever be anything other than just a workhorse.
My family, in general, was just that, workhorses. They are a proud bunch that’s for sure but not very entrepreneurial. Most worked the same job their entire lives or at least the same type of jobs and for the most part never left the area of central Alabama we were born. Now I am not saying any of this is bad or wrong; there is certainly something to be said for sticking to your roots. I just knew at an early age it wasn’t for me. Even with that knowledge, I wasn’t doing anything about it.
I had dreams; everyone does, but my dreams were varied and plentiful. I have never been the type of person that just dreamt of doing one thing and to be done with it. I wanted to do everything!
I always held myself back, I never pushed the envelope or challenged the status quo. In fact, I began to mock and degrade those who were trying to do something different. I became a voice of discouragement. Instead of living my dream, jealousy made me want to stop others from living theirs.
That all changed a few years ago, I decided that for my family and me to gain everything we wanted and desired, I had to do things differently. That has lead to taking a new job on the opposite side of the country, taking vacations to places I would never have visited before, and becoming a writer that has been published on some of the biggest websites in the world. I am far from where I want to be, but I am on the path, and I can see what I want within reach.
Here are the steps I had to take to make these things begin to happen:
I confronted my depression and anxiety- Depression and anxiety will cripple you. By telling you constantly that you’re not capable or even worthy of success. If you are suffering from either or both of these demons, you will struggle to reach any goals until you confront it head on. I found treatment and put myself on the correct mental path to begin accomplishing the goals I had in life.
I stopped being a people pleaser- I grew up only wanting to make other people happy. I always put the needs of others ahead of my own. Again, this isn’t a negative trait in general. The problem was that it began to impact my happiness and well-being. My needs and the needs of my immediate family sometimes suffered due to the fact I was always helping someone else. Generally, these were financial issues, but sometimes it was purely emotional support. I will still help whoever I can whenever I am able, but never again will it be to the detriment of my own tribe.
I started selling myself- The one thing I have learned in this process is never to expect that anyone will ever put you ahead of them. Even though I did it myself many times, I found that it was almost never reciprocal. Bosses, coworkers, business partners, and friends will almost always let you down when you solely rely on them to help promote your talents. In business as in life, it truly becomes a dog eat dog world. Sitting back hoping that you’ll be noticed will almost assuredly mean that you will be in the same spot a year from now. You have to take the bull by the horns and push your agenda and your desires for success.
I stopped living others fears- There were many voices, and there still are, that said things like “oh that’s too hard.” or “that isn’t possible.” For most of my life I listened to them, and when I shared a dream, they shot it down. When I finally realized that the advice they were giving was really just their personal fears or even their feelings of regret for not experiencing life to the fullest, I stopped listening. Allowing these life suckers to permeate your thoughts are an instant dream killer. Taking responsibility for your own dreams and goals is the only way they will happen.
I stopped just dreaming- As I said, I had a lot of dreams. I knew the things I wanted to do, and I knew deep down what I was really capable of. The only thing I ever did with any of this knowledge was to dream about what was possible. I finally decided that dreaming wasn’t enough to be happy. I started putting action to my thoughts. Less than a year of writing my first article for public view for The Good Men Project, I had been published on sites like Babble, The Huffington Post, Fatherly, and The Libertarian Republic. Thousands of people have read my words, and it just took me finally deciding to take action.
By no means have I reached the goals I have set. Truthfully I don’t want ever to get to a point where I am satisfied. The thing is, now I can see the path clearly, and I know that I do have within myself the ability to reach my dreams. There are a lot of “gurus” out there selling happiness, just remember before dealing with any of them, only you truly have any control over your future.