Love, Advice

I’m totally afraid of going after my dreams, because what if I don’t succeed?

Here's a fun fact: everyone's been in the point that you're in now.

Hey Laila,

I need help. I graduated from college this past year, and I’m still struggling to figure out what I want to do in life. I’ve passed up a lot of opportunities because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, and now I’m at this point where I’m just worried all the time. I’m worried I won’t be successful. I’m worried I won’t do things right. I’m worried my parents won’t be proud of me.

I keep reading those articles about successful characteristics of millionaires or whatever, and all they do is make me feel completely inadequate about what I can accomplish.

It’s pushing me to completely be paralyzed, to the point where I’m afraid of applying for fellowships and opportunities because what’s the point anyways?

I don’t know what to do.

Signed,

What is Life

______________

Hey What is Life,

First off: breathe. I wish someone had told me that the last time I was feeling exactly what you’re feeling, but here’s a fun fact: everyone’s been in the point that you’re in now. If not already, the moment’s coming. And it’ll hit hard – so if you’re getting bullshit from people who aren’t sympathetic to what you’re dealing with, tell them to leave you alone. You’re going to push through this.

[bctt tweet=”Here’s a fun fact: everyone’s been in the point that you’re in now.”]

I’d recommend cutting out those advice articles that tell you exactly the habits that this or that millionaire did in order to become so successful. Why? I used to consume them myself, and it’s a form of “almost-successful crack.” You’re reading each one, and you can’t stop at just one. As a result, you’re left feeling like you have so much you aren’t doing yet, you feel unsuccessful and you don’t know where to start. I remember reading somewhere that successful people actually laugh at those who keep reading those “how-to” articles – why? Because there’s a difference between consuming and doing.

[bctt tweet=”You’re going to push through this. “]

In your however-many years of life, you’ve amassed multiple successes of different sizes. One thing we’re taught to do as women is to downgrade exactly how awesome we are – to pretend that everything we’ve done is nothing. I’ve faced this exact situation and I can tell you it’s absolute shit. It’s hard to remind yourself, but when you’re feeling down – like right now – I want you to write out the following:

I am amazing. I am capable. I am more than capable. I can do this. I am successful. I am success.

I have pages upon pages in which I’ve written those words, and while writing those words might not work, you can try recording yourself and listen to your own pep talk – or just saying the words aloud. You know how they tell you that if you force yourself to smile, you’ll get happier? Well, this same tactic works to pull yourself into a healthier space, one where you can plan your strategy of attack.

[bctt tweet=”Guess what: your life is exactly what you decide it to be. “]

Once you’re in this better place – where you’re taking it easier on yourself, and you’re taking a breath – it’s possible for you to lay out your goals for life. I’ll note, here, that if you’re still struggling to breathe, to seek psychiatric help. Anxiety is a real issue, and not resolving it will only make it worse.

Now’s when the fun starts. Guess what: your life is exactly what you decide it to be. Grade school, college, whatever – all that was stuff that society laid out for each of us. Sit yourself down with a drink (my nectar of choice is coffee) and some music to pump you up – and a blank page. It doesn’t matter where you’ve been at this point, now’s your chance to figure out where your life’s going to go. That’s an important first step – and you want to start at Step A instead of jumping to D or E.

Kick some ass,

Laila

 

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