At the beginning of this year—like most people—I made a few New Year’s Resolutions. I didn’t resolve to acquire anything new, and I didn’t set a specific goal I wanted to achieve. Instead, I challenged myself to see life a little differently. To try my best to hustle my way to success, experience more of every moment that was put before me, be completely vulnerable with my feelings, and always remain authentic to who I am. These lessons don’t come without mass amounts of failed attempts and struggle. They often came because I did fail, but I also refuse to stay down.
I’m still learning all these lessons, I never actually intend to master them, I don’t’ think that’s , I haven’t perfected, but I consistently work each day at them.
Lesson #1: Remaining authentic and being vulnerable are one and the same.
Let me tell you, I have a real thing for genuine people. But taking a dive into this world in your brightly colored speedo in a pool full of one-pieces is scary. Rocking who you really are—the weird, quirky, romantic, strong, daring leader, without any hesitation takes courage. But I learned really quickly on this New Year journey that showing people all those traits—no matter how uncomfortable and vulnerable to criticism that makes me—it’s the way you truly connect with others. It’s how you forge paths not ventured, it’s how you build allies and not acquaintances.
But being who you are without the need for someone else’s approval is difficult. We live in a world where we follow the lives closely of those we look up to. It’s intimidating and scary to think you could put yourself out there and be accepted in the same ways.
Often times It’s so hard to quiet that voice in your head that says “but what if they laugh at me, what if they’re mean to me, what if they say it’s not going to work.
That voice sounds as though it echoes from a megaphone sometimes.
It’s so overwhelming that you can’t hear the other voices saying “we’re going to laugh together, I’m going to connect with people willing to stand behind me no matter the criticism, I’m not going to listen to them and do it anyway”.
Bury the what ifs.
Stop listening to the voices yelling at you, and start hearing your own voice telling you to move forward.
You gotta do you, boo.
Lesson #2: To experience more, you just gotta be there.
Experience is the root of life. Every moment in your life, however miraculous or mundane, inspiring or earth-shattering, is something we experience. So how is it with our busy schedules and our dreams of grandeur, that we could possibly experience more?
Be there and nowhere else. No matter where it is you are, do your best to be there.
It’s that simple.
Be there as you, be there without a screen in between, be there when she needs a shoulder to cry on or an ear to vent to. Be there to see the excitement of the person that just PR’d their squat, go high five them. Be there to help and talk to the old man who couldn’t carry all his groceries inside. Be there for your friend when they need a push that way, a nudge this way, or a slap back into reality.
This doesn’t mean you have to ditch your alone time, or take away from keeping up with the endless feeds on social media. It just means that when you do show up, be there and nowhere else.
Show up. Be there. Experience more.
Lesson #3: Hustle is hard.
There is absolutely no fast and easy route to instant success—anyone who claims otherwise was only successful based on luck, which is so rare. All of the people who have built a lasting cause have fought tooth and nail for it. Or in some instances, ramen and bus fare.
In the last 5 months I’ve listened to hundreds of podcasts, read articles, and watched videos of people who have put themselves out there, shown up, and hustled their way to their own success. The common thread you hear, read, and see in these, is that hustle is fucking hard. Being you and showing up is only the start. Doing what you say you’re going to do, committing and overdelivering, taking a risk by being you and putting your work out there, is so hard.
I learned the difficult way that hustle is not for the faint of heart, and failing sucks. But staying down because they tell you that you can’t get up sucks more.
Accept that failure will happen and understand that the defining moment is when actually do you get back up.
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