Over a year ago, my favorite professor from college met me for coffee. We sat outside at Starbucks, and I essentially vented for the majority of our meeting. I felt like I wasn’t making the progress I wanted to be making in my career or in my life. There were steps I wanted to take, and things I wanted to experience. It just wasn’t happening. And he said one of the most profound things ever: when one area of your life seems stalled, change lanes.
Photo via Mimi Chica; Graphic by Carly is Inspired
If your career seems to be at a standstill, fulfill personal goals. If your personal life feels as though it’s plateaued, enrich your education. As long as you keep changing lanes, you’re still moving in a direction somewhere making you feel far more positive and productive.
My professor’s advice helped me so much in the moment, but until recently I hadn’t realized how much of it I had taken to heart. This year I’ve made strides in my career, but I’ve made so many more in my personal life. I’ve set goal after goal and met them. I faced fears head on because I was tired of being afraid. I’ve also truly honed in on being far more creative because it makes me endlessly happy (more about this very soon!). I’ve also learned the power of doing things from my core because sometimes the right person takes notice.
All of this aside, I can’t say I haven’t experienced frustration. That would be a complete and total lie. I constantly ask myself why when something isn’t working. But then I realize how much I have accomplished, like crossing the finish line of a half marathon last Saturday (more about that here!). And at that point I just change my attitude. As 2013 comes to a close, I’m even more grateful for the trials I’ve faced because without them I would never have changed lanes or had the experiences I’ve had as a result of being forced to refocus. You can focus on two lanes at the same time, absolutely. But sometimes it seems like you just really need to hone in on one to truly better yourself.
If you’re feeling frustrated, take a moment to stop, breathe, and access your situation. Then change lanes and start taking steps in a second direction. Overtime, you will likely start feeling much more positive. Plus strides in one area might change your outlook on your stall. Maybe what you thought you wanted isn’t truly the case after all. There’s always a reason, but you have to keep moving to find it.
Thank you, favorite professor of mine. :)
This is wonderful advice and definitely a great reminder for me too. You are so right! We can’t have it all, and sometimes you just need to “set it down” and divert your attention. Things have a way of working themselves out it seems. Glad things are going well for you :-)
You just need more of the right people to take notice!