"If you're wishing on the stars you gotta go out and get it
'cause if you want it bad enough you won't stop until you have it
Don't let them tell you what you can and cannot do
you've got to see it through like you always do."
"Always Feel This Way"
When I look back on the life I was living almost three years ago, before I started Positively Present, it seems somewhat like a dream, like it wasn't even me back then. It's tempting to to think that getting from there to here was easy—just let time pass and things change!—but it wasn't at all. I had a goal and I worked my ass off to achieve it. I gave up some of the activities I loved most, the ones that were damaging me in negative ways. I lost friends I thought I would have forever because I realized we suddenly had almost nothing in common. I found love, but only because I took the time to (literally!) write out all of the things I really wanted in a guy. I transitioned into a new job, hard as it was to leave the comfort of my old one, because I knew it was what needed to be done.
I worked hard to get where I am today, and looking back on all that work makes me realize I have a lot of hard work ahead of me to achieve the goal I've always dreamed of: becoming a full-time writer. Over the past three years I've gotten the ball rolling—starting a website, writing nearly every day, sharing my words with the world instead of just my trusty journal—but I have a long way to go before this dream of mine comes true.
I recently read an article by Rachel Hills called "She Who Tries, Wins" and it completely and utterly inspired me. She recently scored a book deal (lucky girl!), and wrote: "From an outsider’s perspective, I’m conscious that it might have looked like something that happened as if by magic." Sometimes I feel that way about my own life too—if someone didn't know me, didn't know all the hard work I've put in to get to where I am today—it might seem as if I was always this way. But clearly that's not true. And it's not going to be true going forward. Achieving goals isn't magic; it's muscle, motivation, and moxie. (And probably a little muchness too.)
Rachel knows this and I'm learning it. Below are some of the key points I took away from her article, the words that made me that, though achieving goals isn't magic, there's certainly something magical about working hard to achieve your goals.
Pull Out All the Stops
“Most of the time, getting what you want—especially if ‘what you want’ is something really juicy—means pulling out all stops.”
Like Rachel says, most of the time you have to go all in if you want to achieve success. That's what I did when it came to living a more positive life. I didn't just try to see situations positively or read up on positivity. No, I went all in. I made BIG changes. I started over in some areas of my life. I lost some people I really loved; I gave up some things I really enjoyed. It was really hard work—and still is—but it's been worth it.
And now I'm pulling out all the stops to make this dream of becoming a writer a reality. I'm putting in my notice at work this week. Terrifying? Yes. Exciting beyond belief? Yes. I'm so fortunate to have this chance to turn this dream into a reality and I will stop short of nothing to make it happen.
Whatever you're dreaming about—whatever it is that makes you so excited you can't sleep at night—go out and do it. Pull out all the stops. Because, really, that's the only way to make dreams come true.
Don't Be Afraid to Be Uncool
“I feel like it’s somewhat uncool to admit that you want juicy things, or at least that you want them in a way that would see you actively go after them.”
I've spent a lot of time being "uncool" these past few years. It's been hard at times to say no, to stop doing the things that are deemed normal. But sometimes, in order to achieve what you want, you have to go against the grain. You have to do your own thing. And, most importantly, you have to be passionate about it.
This is still something I'm struggling with—how to make living a positive life, one without all the exciting drama that comes with unhappiness—seem cool. Sometimes I find myself stumbling over my words when I try to explain it to people because I worry about how it sounds. But it's time to stop all that. It's time to admit that I want something big: to use my words to spread to the world my ideas about living a positive and present life.
That's what I want. And that's what I'm going to actively go after—cool or not.
Believe You Deserve It
“[Going after your goals] can also make you feel like an egotist: who are you to deserve to want something juicy?"
It's tough to admit that you want something big and that, in wanting it and going after it, you feel you deserve it. I'm sure that friends of mine must think, "Why does she get to go after this dream job of hers while I'm stuck plugging away at a job I don't love?" Or maybe they don't think that at all and that's all in my head, but either way it can be hard to convince yourself that you deserve to have what you've always wanted.
Too many of us believe we should be content with the way things are (which is different, mind you, than accepting what is). We see others just doing what they do, going with the flow, and we question our right to want something different.
Go ahead and want. Go ahead and believe you deserve to achieve your goals. Because you do. We all do. Don't let anyone (even that little voice in your head) convince you that you don't deserve to want something bigger and better.
Give Yourself a Chance
“She who tries doesn’t always ‘win’: chance, timing, privilege and learning the system all play their role—often a big one. But you’ve got a hell of better chance of achieving the things you dream of if you own up to your dreams and go after them, than if you just sit back and hope things will work out for the best.”
If I'm being completely honest with myself, I must say this: I might not win. I might never write a book or change lives with my messages. I might never be able respond to the question, "What do you do?" with the blissful phrase: "I'm a writer." But you know what? I'll definitely never do those things if I don't try.
Dreaming and hoping and wishing won't get me anywhere. And it won't get you anywhere either. If you want to live the life you've dreamed of living, you have to go out and do it. Now. Life's too short not to put yourself out there, not to take risks, not to, at the very least, try.
Just like three years ago when I was looking out onto to the idea of living a positive life, I'm thrilled with the idea of changing my life, making it what I want it to be, but I also realize that it's going to be a lot of work. A lot of sweat and tears are probably going to come out of me before I can officially say I'm living the life I've always wanted to live: the life of a writer. But that's okay.
I've realized that I'd rather be working my ass off for the life I want than be settling myself into the life I don't want. There's no fairy godmother in this tale (though I do have a few wonderful supporters that seem like fairy godmothers). There's no magic wand to transform what is into what I want it to be. It's gonna take a lot of hard work, but you know what? I'd rather be making moves than wasting time. I'd rather be working than waiting.