“Nothing about your life is linear. Your work will not be linear. Your relationships will not be linear. Your future will not be linear.” – Shine (<– do you guys get these daily motivational and inspirational texts from Shine?! They’re amazing!). Ain’t that the truth? Who’s ready for some mindset shifts?! Let’s go!
Do you ever feel like, “what am I doing wrong? Why can’t anything ever just be easy for me? Why are things so challenging when they could just go smoothly (like it seems to go for everyone else)?” or “I’m not sure where to go next – I just know I don’t like where I am right now.”
You beat yourself up for not having it all right or straight right now. Maybe you feel behind or different than your friends or you just compare your personal or business success to that you ‘see’ on social media. Or, like I did for many years as an attorney, you just feel stuck.
When we judge our paths, and the curves, bumps, and winding turns they take, we’re missing out on 2 huge lessons:
- All of these bumps and curveballs ARE life. Life’s not waiting for us on the other side of those bumps. This is it. So how do you want to live your life if you knew that it was here, now?
- Each and every one of those bumps, no matter how rough they really got, were necessary to get you where you want to go.
I’m no expert in this, but I have had some crazy zig zaggy times these last few years as I went from miserable corporate attorney –> to certified health coach –> to what I do now: empowering women entrepreneurs with DIY legal templates and business mentorship.
I’m only in the beginning-ish of this entrepreneur thing, but my life has been SO zig zaggy these last few years…
- I tried multiple different jobs as an attorney, only to realize that no firm, job, boss, or department was going to make me happy.
- I left the law to start my own health coaching practice and didn’t love it.
- I (thank goodness) stayed open to this crazy idea to start Sam Vander Wielen LLC — DIY legal templates for entrepreneurs — last Spring and built it SO fast because I *had* to.
- I had brain surgery, unexpectedly, 4 weeks after starting my current biz (just 7 months ago tomorrow).
- I moved to France for a few months, and had to learn how to build my new-ish business while overseas.
- And now I’m here planning the next phase and steps of this gorgeous business that I’ve reached through a crazy, winding path.
But my experience isn’t unique. I hear from so many of you who feel/felt the same way. So if you’re there right now, here are 3 quick mindset shifts you can try to enjoy this amazing, winding path we’re all on:
1 // Let Go of Expectations
The faster you can let go of the idea that life is supposed to be smooth sailing, the more you can enjoy the ride. This is just one of those things that the more we fight it, the ‘louder’ it grows. Now, when an unexpected bump comes up, I take a different approach. Honestly, I’m SUPER sensitive and pretty emotional, so I still get really thrown off by quite a bit. BUT – overall, I think to myself eventually, “I can’t wait to see how this plays out!”
My friend Simi gave me such sage advice once (well, actually – she gives me amazing advice all the time – this is just one little piece of it!). One time I was talking to Simi about all the uncertainty surrounding entrepreneurship. I told her I felt so built to be an entrepreneur in almost every way except for being someone who needs to plan and to have certainty.
She encouraged me to flip my fear upside down. Every time I thought about how uncertain and unplanned my future felt, I talked about it being a negative thing. But what if, Simi suggested, I thought about all the cool, positive possibilities this meant for me down the road? What if I thought about what could be in store for me that I can’t even dream of right now? My life had already changed and morphed so many times in so many amazing ways I hadn’t expected.
2 // Be Grateful for Life’s Lessons
Can you look back on your winding path so far and see how something you once saw as a setback or challenge was actually a great lesson or blessing in disguise? If you can practice gratitude for the experience, the lesson, the takeaway — you will be able to handle the next bump much easier. You’ll be able to step back, even in the darkest or toughest of times, and say “I know this is for a reason. Even if it doesn’t make sense right now – it will eventually!”
I’m not totally past my resentment or anger towards my experience as an attorney working at a law firm. Just being totally honest. But when the clouds parted even a little bit, I was able to step back and start to feel really grateful for the experience, friends, connections, and everything that happened. Because it all led me to where I am today.
And not that where I am today is perfect. But I feel like my path is headed in a better (for me) direction at least. I feel excited to sit down to work on most mornings, I feel like I’m helping people and making an impact. I wouldn’t have known what I needed or wanted had I not gone through the tougher times in my career.
There’s no way to shortcut your way to success (whatever that means for you – I don’t believe there’s a single definition). But if you’re looking to at least enjoy your path a bit more along the way, then gratitude is the way to go.
3 // Saying “Yes” AND “No” More
This one is for you if you feel like you’re lost on your path. This one might be the most personal to me, because this is truly how I felt for so long. You know that feeling when you feel like you don’t know where to go next in life? Maybe you feel stuck, in a loop, or like you’re not moving at all.
If you feel that way, you might want to say “yes” and “no” more often. Yep, both! Hear me out..
Try saying yes to a few things you might not usually say ‘yes’ to. Of course, listen to your gut on this one and be smart. Allergic to gluten? Don’t say yes to a bagel. Really, truly hate going out late at night? Don’t say yes to clubbing. But there are different times when maybe you’re afraid to put yourself out there, afraid to try, afraid to be vulnerable. Those are the times I’m talking about.
Those are the times it’s great to open your heart and mind and say “yes” to trying new things. Because when you’re on this winding, bumpy path, you don’t know where it’s headed or maybe where you even want it to go. Until then, try everything you can.
I can’t tell you how many books I read, podcasts I listened to, people I called and spoke to, blogs I read, etc., before I even had a semblance of an idea of what I wanted to do next. If I had just continued to go from my office to my couch each day like I had for many years, I wouldn’t have even stumbled upon this ‘little’ world of online business.
At the same time, I had to learn to say “no” more often then what was comfortable for me at the time. I was in a season of exploration and learning about new things. So that might have meant saying “no” to a few optional extra-curricular things which didn’t really fit the bill.
What are some zig zags you’ve been through that ultimately helped you get where you are today? Tell me in the comments!