Ingredients for a Successful Life

"Etsy vintage tablespoon by JessicaNDesigns}

“Etsy vintage tablespoon by JessicaNDesigns}

When I reflect upon the almost 7 years I have been a freelance writer, the biggest hurdle had less to do with my professional experience than my personal struggles. In fact, success often deals with the latter.

Of course you need experience, a little bit of talent and much hard work to be successful. But often what stands in the way of most individual’s success is what they believe to be true about themselves.

In 2006 and earlier, I had an overwhelming desire to write. I asked for a typewriter for Christmas. I wrote down my own stories on little pieces of paper. I composed poetry as a kid. It pushed me to get a BA in English, but after college I just didn’t think I had the skills, talent or ability to get hired.

I skirted around my career, went into research because it felt comfortable and then psychology instead. I’m grateful for that experience. It gave me the confidence and courage to deal with a lot of the inner shadows that were clouding my work.

It took time, patience, resilience and the foresight to follow my calling. Along the way I picked up a lot of negativity about my desired career. I realized these words were just external versions of what I was telling myself every day. You may be familiar with some of them:

“You’re never going to make it.”

“You’re not smart enough.”

“Who do you think you’re kidding?”

“If so and so can’t do it, why do you think you can?”

Those words prevented me from trusting my instincts. It beat me up from the inside out. Even when I was getting writing opportunities, I ended up sabotaging them. How could I not when I essentially believed I didn’t have what it takes to do it?

Fast-forward to 2013. Since then, I am continually surprised with the doors that have opened for me. Recently, I started writing for Intuit’s Small Business blog and signed a contract with a greeting card company. I’ve also been fortunate enough to work as a freelance copywriter for several online retailers and I have been writing for local and regional publications and been an online columnist for The Writer magazine, Psych Central and Beliefnet.

That wouldn’t have happened to me if I continued on the road to self-sabotage, negativity and perfectionism. It took constantly beefing up my critical mind with positivity. I had to work on being cognizant of what and who I was allowing in my life and how it was impacting me personally and professionally.

Essentially, what I learned can be valuable to those of you seeking your own success in life. I realized that when we change how we view ourselves on the inside, we change our external world.

It’s not an easy process especially if you’ve been brought up to believe the worse in yourself. It will take time. But know this…

The fact that you are here means you have an important purpose. Don’t let your past, critical people or your own negative voice prevent you from fulfilling what you are meant to do.

There is only one of you. Celebrate it! Share who you are with the world and you will see the gifts unwrap in front of you.

Don’t squander your talent, hide your true self or shy away from your voice. The world will benefit from you being uniquely you. Let me tell you-as you sit doubting yourself, we are all desperately waiting for you to reveal it.

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Everything You Need to Know About Finding Your Calling, Part I

{flickr photo by: Brittany ((Halo))}

If someone asked you right now what you want to be when you grow up, what would you say?

Would you laugh nervously trying to buy time before an answer came? Would you smile and tell them that what you’re doing right now is what you’ve always dreamed of doing?

That answer is a hard one.

Finding Your Calling with Author Gregg Levoy

According to the talk I went to last week with Callings author Gregg Levoy, we probably already knew the answer to that question a long, long time ago. But it got beaten out of us. Years of criticisms, judgement, and conditioning buried that calling deep.

“Conformity is rewarded and the failure to conform is punished,” said Levoy. It’s no wonder we’re so confused about our purpose in life.

I always thought that my classmates who knew what they wanted to do with their lives early on were one of the “lucky ones.” Now I see things differently. Maybe it was not a failure on my part or that I was unlucky, but it was neglect. A daily unconscious burial of the dreams I held deep.

It took me almost 10 years before I returned to writing. And I was reminded of why it took so long.

Recently, someone laughed when I told them what I do for a living. It was someone close to me. I can’t say it didn’t hurt me.

But the journey it took to get me here was long and I’ve built a thick coat of armor to help shield me since then.

But where are you on this path?

Are you unsure about your purpose in life?

Or maybe you just need a boost of confidence to help remind you what you knew all along?

Here are a few things I garnered from the talk that could help you get clear, focused and confident.

What is a Calling?

Levoy said, “A calling is urgings, signs, signals, inspiration that come to our lives. A calling is something you hear, feel, sense, know intuitively.” It’s something we  already know about ourselves, but forgot. Or maybe it is something that is painful to reveal in that it would force us to reach down deep into our unconscious and pull up what’s uncomfortable and scary. Maybe acknowledging our calling would demand that we need to pay attention and reach outside of our comfort zone. It’s a lot easier to sit in the couch and bury our dreams.

In his talk, Levoy said a woman came up to him and asked him, “Why do you think I’m fat?” There was silence on his end because who would answer such a question? She said, “Because I have so many stories that I’m not writing down.”

It’s funny how at first it seems like not pursuing a dream would be less risky and easy, but the impact of letting our dreams die does something to our soul. Sometimes we feed it with food, but we could be feeling with work and other type of addictions too.

Levoy said that “we know what we’re supposed to become,” and that when people say that they “feel it in their bones,” he believes that to mean literally-that at our very core, we already know the answers.

How to Tune into Your Calling Continue reading →

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