After a year of writing blogs for Achieve, I think it’s long overdue that I introduce myself. My name is Lauren, and my first blog with Achieve was “Success: 5 Ways to get Back on Track”. Forty-six blogs later, a lot has changed in my life.
When I first started, I was struggling. I’d graduated from college a year earlier and had yet to find a job in my field. Also, my life felt a little aimless due to what the world was going through. I’d hit a wall and had no idea how to move forward.
Over this past year, I’ve learned a lot, and while I still have a long way to go, I’m in a much better place than I was. I’m making goals and sticking to them. I’m accomplishing things that previously I’d dismissed as being impossible. I now have hope for the future – I know what I am capable of and that I will accomplish the things I want. Success is not just a dream but a reality I am working towards every day.
While I’ve written about many things I’ve learned extensively, I’d like to elaborate on my success journey and how what I’ve learned has helped me.
1. You are not an Island.
Sometimes it’s worthwhile to listen to other people’s advice. For example, before I started at Achieve, I genuinely believed I could handle everything independently. Unfortunately, this thought process made me stuck for about a year without knowing how to move forward. However, I was able to move past this because I spoke to my father about how I was struggling. He then put me in contact with someone who helped me find Achieve.
At Achieve, I saw vast progress, and so did the people around me. One of the things that will always stick with me was when my aunt, right before she passed, told me that I was “a changed woman”. She was beyond impressed with how much better my life had become and my overall outlook on life and the future in general.
Much of this has to do with the fact that Achieve is very community driven and helped me realize that while this is my success journey, I can’t get through everything on my own.
Hearing different perspectives and advice from those around me opened my eyes to the possibilities of the routes I could take that I hadn’t even considered before. And having a group of people holding me accountable meant that I accomplished my goals.
2. Worry About What You Can Control and Not What You Can’t
An excellent way to think about this is to imagine you’re driving. You can’t control what other people on the road do; you can only control what you do. So there isn’t any point in getting upset about how someone else is behaving on the road. That won’t change or improve their driving skills and will only cause you to become unnecessarily upset about nothing.
This goes for everything in life. Sometimes you have everything mapped out in your head of how you want something to go, or you have clear expectations of the next few steps in your journey forward. But then, because of someone else’s actions, all of your plans are impacted. Of course, your annoyance at this person is a valid and human reaction. Still, it is up to you to decide how much energy you will spend simply being angry with or thinking about someone else.
Instead, use that energy to change course and continue moving forward. Of course, there will always be obstacles and things that will force you to change your plans. However, you must learn to adapt to the changes and not allow them to stop you from your achievements.
3. Change Your Mindset to Think More Positively of Yourself
This was the hardest one and is something I’m still working on. I was so used to beating myself up over everything that I did that I found it hard to even think about things that I was good at or congratulate myself when I achieved something. As women, I know we tend to be far harder on ourselves than we need to be. My mum always talked about how the women consistently scored themselves far lower than the management team did whenever she had her employees perform self-reviews.
Something that I found, though, was that rather than giving myself a hard time whenever I messed up, I would think of how to resolve things. I knew I messed up; I didn’t need to make self-deprecating comments about it and make myself feel worse than I already did.
I also found that just reminding myself that I’m doing well changed my thinking. Remember to compliment yourself and encourage yourself throughout the day, unprompted and without reason. “I’m doing well” or even just a simple “you’re awesome” can go a long way in making you feel better about yourself.
4. Have Confidence in Your Abilities
This point is directly related to point number 3 in that once you start thinking positively, you can usually gain a clearer perspective on what you can and can’t do. For example, before working at Achieve, I clearly understood what I couldn’t do. Still, I could never really articulate what I could do.
What skills do I have? What do I excel in? What can I offer the world? Thinking positively and setting goals gave me a much clearer understanding of who I am and what I can achieve in order to make informed decisions in my journey forward.
5. Everything takes time
One last thing to keep in mind: all of this takes time. The most important lesson I learned is that trying to force things never goes your way, and an unrealistic timeline causes more setbacks than steps forward.
Trust in the process and yourself also means trusting that things happen when they are meant to happen, and sometimes things take longer than you’d like them to. It doesn’t mean that you won’t achieve specific goals or milestones; it just means that you haven’t finished learning at this stage in your journey. You still need to do things before you can take that next step forward.
Breathe. Believe in yourself. Trust the process. You’ve got this!
“Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.”– Ruth Bader Ginsburg