I’m cleaning out the old photos on my phone and I stopped on this one from a year ago.
What a difference a year makes!
You can tell how burnt out I was by my eyes. I was stuck in a job that I HATED with a passion. (And I no longer feel bad for saying so!)
And because I was unhappy with the thing that occupied half my waking life, I wasn’t taking the best care of myself. Physically—drinking too much coffee and wine, not eating well, not exercising, not sleeping enough. (And it shows on my face! #glowup) But also mentally and emotionally—neglecting what made me happy and focusing on negativity. I was basically just surviving.
It took a massive shift in mindset to move me out of that place. I finally got fed up and said “surely I deserve better.” Switching to a new career was the first step, but it wasn’t a magic bullet. I was already stewing in a lot of bitterness over the many dead ends of my late twenties and leaving a company after a solid decade (a big deal when you’re 28!) felt like another big red stamp of FAILURE. My attitude still needed some work.
It was awhile before I was able to accept that the time wasn’t really a “fail”, because I’d learned some valuable lessons. But I also had to accept that the reason I spent so many years sticking to things that made me unhappy (and ultimately felt like a waste of time) was because of that “survive” mindset. (And that wasn’t a comfortable realization. No one likes to admit they were wrong!)
I spent a lot of time people-pleasing, doing things I hated because they were “sensible”, and generally thinking there was no opportunity for improvement. I was limiting myself with that internal voice that said “this is the best you can do”. I didn’t think I deserved more, or that more was possible. It was an attitude that had leached into every part of my life.
Shifting my mindset meant I started focusing on what I needed to do to THRIVE, not just survive. It’s not just about saying “this could be better”—it’s about putting in the work to get there, even when it’s hard, because I believe it’ll pay off. It’s about embracing the challenges instead of shying away. It’s about practicing gratitude and focusing on the positive. It’s about setting my intentions for success.
They say your attitude affects the outcome and it’s so true. It started as a small challenge related to one particular goal—getting my health & fitness back on track. I was done with being hungover and tired 24/7 and I joined a group challenge to kick my butt into gear so I’d have the energy to pursue my other goals, including travelling in the PNW wilderness (something that brings me immense joy). Part of that challenge: shift your mindset and see how it affects this goal.
But now that mental shift has begun to play across the rest of my life. Work, relationships, money—making that change to how I approach things mentally is really changing how they unfold. I’m getting bolder in pushing for what I really want in life because I’ve removed my biggest obstacle: my own self.
I want to go back and tell my younger self, and anyone else who’s having a tough time: if you’re struggling with where you’re at now vs. where you want to be in a year, or two, or five—start with your mindset. Change is hard (and scary). Sometimes it seems like you have so far to go that you’ll never get there, or the risks of failure in between are too great.
But I know from experience that so much of what holds us back is our own attitude. Stop asking yourself what you need to do to survive today and ask yourself what you need to do to thrive in one year. Then begin taking the baby steps to get there. Your future self will thank you.