Me? You want me?
I distinctly remember that thought running across my mind when I opened up the email that read, “Dear Hailey, I would love to hire you as my life coach and then write an article about the experience for Buzzfeed Magazine.”
What?! Are you sure? At the time, I was only 21 years old. Sure, I had been working with people since the age of 17 but I still felt completely inadequate.
Thoughts of discomfort and excitement swirled around inside of me for weeks. It was an incredible experience and after it was finished I found myself saying, “Ok, what’s next?”
Flashback a year before that, was my very first book launch. Talk about an amazing event. I’ll never forget how hard I worked for that. I wrote my book in a month and a half, set up this beautiful venue and sent out hand-written invitations to over 100 people.
The day finally came and I sold out of all my books. My hand cramped the entire day after because I wrote everyone a meaningful message in each copy sold.
Still, even after all of that, I found myself asking, “Ok what’s next?” It was as if I was just “making it through” the events of my life but I wasn’t actually attending them.
We do this quite a lot. We work very hard towards the creation of a goal, only to achieve it and not be present to all we’ve accomplished! As if we’re afraid to be proud of ourselves.
Eventually, I came to this remarkable realization, “If I am not present to the small, seemingly insignificant parts of my life, then I won’t be able to experience the big moments either.”
The truth is those great events that I described are fleeting. Those are the “big” career-defining happenings that took place. Everything in between that is usually mundane, normal, simple and small.
However, if we don’t have any practice being awake to the moments of our lives and journeys – how can we ever fully, truly enjoy our success?
Most of us are sleep-walking. Never entirely engaged in what is happening around us.
If you want lasting happiness and fulfillment you’ve gotta wake up and be proud of everything that’s taken place in your life this far!
Here are three ways to guarantee that happens for you:
1. LOVE the small things for you’ll wake up one day and realize it was really a big thing
Those times when your dog is asleep on your chest. The time when your mom looks at you with her delighted eyes and says, “great job, honey.” Or when you and your friend experience an honest, heartfelt conversation. These are the moments to keep an eye out for.
As we get older, we realize that those are the things that are worth living. The connections we have within our relationships. The truth-telling conversations that allow us to grow. Be present to these small moments! They really are everything, the root of all success.
2. Realize you’re playing a long game
My friend and I have this saying that has carried us through failure, discouragement, rejection, heartbreak, and tears.
It’s this: “Don’t forget, we’re playing a very long game.” This essentially means that life is a long road and it doesn’t depend on just one event, it’s a series of events.
All too often as college students, we think in black and white. We believe that if we didn’t get that opportunity, or if we don’t decide right away, or get rejected or fail that it’s the end of the road for us.
In reality, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. There are so many things you’re going to experience and you’re going to evolve, grow, change and grow some more. Hear me when I say: Your happiness and success does not depend on one single life event. Nor does it depend on any one failure either.
A coach of mine always says, “Hailey, there is nowhere to get and it can’t ever be done.” Meaning, we are a work in progress! YOU are a work in progress and the more you can accept the flow of your life the more happiness you will be capable of.
3. Learn to dance with discomfort instead of resisting it
Oh boy, there is so much uncertainty we face as young adults! Sometimes we just don’t know. Sometimes we get anxious because things aren’t moving as fast as we would like.
Perhaps something has happened that shakes you to your core. Maybe you are afraid that you’ll never be as successful as you envision yourself. Instead of running away from these feelings of uneasiness, learn to welcome them into the process. There is so much our pain can teach us if we just get curious about it instead of resisting it.
How do we do that? Recognize that discomfort is part of you and breathe into it. Without it, we wouldn’t be awoken to the good times that are right in front of us.
When we’re young, we believe that something outside of ourselves will make us happy and successful. When in fact, if we shape our inner world and truly develop a deep interpersonal relationship within ourselves and others – success and happiness are inevitable.
All you have to do is live with eyes wide open. Notice your surroundings. Wake up to the world around you and be excited for all that is to come.