Many people see me as an outgoing, some what carefree person, but truthfully I am a worrier. I am constantly fretting over being good enough. Making sure I hit the mark whether it be my business, my health, my looks, you name it. I think we all do this to a degree. But what I've realized is that life isn't going to wait for you. You do have to get comfortable with change- a big hardship for me. You have to accept that you might falter at first, but if you don't at least try you'll never know. A lot of this has come from working for myself.
For the longest time, I thought I wasn't “big” enough. I was worried that I didn't have the right look or brand or prose. Then I realized that I am different, aren't we all? And that's a good thing. I needed to own what I'm doing and actually, use it to my benefit.
I learned I needed to forge my own path. I can remember scouring the internet for people who moved abroad and how they did it. I literally could not find a single person with my situation. Either they were moving overseas for a job or school or to be an au pair OR they were becoming digital nomads – traveling the world without needing a home base… or a visa. Of course, there are struggles with either of the above, but with both you have a safety net: a job that you can count on that will provide support for your move, and with the latter, an escape. I'm sure the life of a nomad is hard (I personally couldn't live out of a suitcase) but there's also very little red tape- no visa process, no need to search for a place to live, no need to prove that you should be allowed to live abroad. I had to start from scratch and work hard to figure out how to stay in one place, on another continent on my own (and on by on my own, I do mean 2 dogs and a husband, but I mean that no one is helping us. At all.) More on that later.
I also realized I needed help. I loathe asking for help. Full disclosure, I lived with a rash for 4 months (TMI? For real, ask my friends) because I just wanted to figure out the cause on my own. Flash forward to 4 months later (did I mention that said rash was on my face? Okay, great.) and I finally went to the doctor and the pesky itchy face redness is gone. Go figure.
Sometimes we just need help. Actually, more often than not we do, but the stubbornness kicks in and we do what we think we know. The thing is, we all have strengths and weaknesses and can learn from each other. Just because you aren't great at something doesn't mean you've somehow failed. It's the opposite, you're taking steps to succeed.
Take my blog for example. I spent a lot of time and effort doing it all on my own. Then I decided to take a coding lesson and VOILA, I learned things that saved me hours and helped take my blog and business to a new level.
What I'm trying to say is that I became location independent, a long time dream of a once neighborhood lemonade stand owner, and it was scary and totally worth it. Yes, it took some risks, it took some help, it's been hard, it's been fun. But it's been what I needed to live my dream.
When you work for yourself, it can often feel lonely. And I don't say that because I don't work in an office with coworkers – truth be told I love being by myself – but it often feels like you have to solely count on yourself. You are the one creating the content and it's on you to make sure it works out. That's why community is so important. Being able to talk to others about what you're going through, what you experience, or even to bounce ideas off of one another. I will be the first to tell you that I have been closed off to things like this in the past. I thought that working with other bloggers wouldn't be helpful. Or that I would be increasing my competition. But instead I found just the opposite. I'm now a firm believer in a support system and I can't tell you how important it is to have people you can talk to.
Here's what I've learned: you have to do what you love to feel happy. You have to take steps to ensure that. It's up to you. For example, I hear so many people who tell me: I can't afford it, I'm not ready, or worse yet, I'm not good enough. But I see these same people spending money on things like clothes at the Nordstrom sale, when instead they could be investing in their future. I'm not saying buying clothes is bad, don't get me wrong, but spending money on temporary things is fleeting. And it might not contribute to your long-term happiness.
One lesson I learned the hard way is that I needed to invest in myself. I want to kick myself over how long I waited. I just didn't get it. If you can spend money on tools that will help your future, make you a better person, help you make more money, or help you achieve your dreams, then it's worth it. Just two years ago I took a photography course. For years my DSLR camera sat on a shelf collecting dust. It wasn't until my husband bought me a photography course for Christmas that I learned how to use the thing.
Once I took the class my mind was blown: I can learn more and become better in my field! I started taking more and more online courses and developing and fine tuning my skills. I realized that learning doesn't stop once you get a degree, the world is always changing and developing. I can tell you, whole heatedly that taking courses and further developing my skills has led me to be able to quit my job and focus purely on my passion: working for myself and traveling.
I recently read this quote and it resonated so powerfully with me. “There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that's your own self,” from Aldous Huxley. To me, this is the heart of it all. You have to be happy and seek development for yourself. For so long I waited. I wanted to wait for the right time in life.
There is no right time. You have to take the chance. Yes, it does take hard work. Everything in life that's worth it does. Some things I had to learn the hard way. I think what I've learned is that most of all, the risks I've taken have been worth it. I consider myself a homebody, yet here I am in Heidelberg, Germany. Life is funny that way. I had to push myself to get out of my comfort zone to realize WHAT I wanted out of life.
And truthfully, I hope to always be learning.
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