It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for me to publish an article about something related to following your passion, how to change your perspective on negativity to find positive value in your experiences, or the importance of not giving up on the things you believe in. All true. Today, however, is Tuesday September 24th which means it’s also my 22nd birthday. Something I started doing a few years ago on my birthdays was really taking a moment to reflect on the past year, and its relationship to my life as a whole. Today, I want to share that reflection with you, and leave you with 22 things I’ve learned over the years that have helped me shift and shape my mindset and follow my passion through my work. Some will overlap, but that’s kind of the point… when things start to click, they build upon one another. Without further a do, here’s to 22!
- START – there will never be a perfect time to start anything. By that, I mean that the world will never give you an external context that will suit everything you “need” in order to start. Internally however, once you have a passion for something, or even a faint idea of what you want to do – go for it.
- IF IT SOUNDS CRAZY, YOU’RE PROBABLY ONTO SOMETHING – I find that often times people will start off telling you what they’re passionate about or telling you about an idea by saying “this is kind of crazy but…” But nothing! Go for it! What makes it crazy is that it’s unique. It’s different. It’s crazy because it has not been done before. That’s exactly what you need to create something amazing.
- FAIL OFTEN – Failure is something I’ve spoken about a lot, but I think it’s among the first lessons you need to learn to set yourself up to think about it differently through your life. You will learn a lot in life, but failure will be one of the most important teachers you will have. Don’t be scared of failing, be scared of not failing. Be scared of not learning from your mistakes.
- BE AUTHENTIC – People sometimes think that the things about their personalities, goals, dreams or ambitions that differ from other peoples’ are something to be ashamed of, and some people even try to suppress who they really are in order to “fit in”. Don’t ever let go of the things that make you, you! Not only are they your identity, but they bring a value to the world in ways you may not know yet. If you really think about who you already are, the path towards who you want to be becomes clearer.
- PATIENCE – is not just a virtue but an incredibly important lesson. Not only does it teach you that things don’t just happen for you at once, but it gives you time to perfect your craft, your vision, your purpose. Patience on it’s own, however, can be detrimental… that’s why it has to be paired with …
- PERSISTENCE – Understand that whatever you are working towards is not just one achievement. You are on a journey through the rest of your life. There is time to keep trying, but not enough time to NOT try. Keep trying until it works, or until you learn that what you’ve been trying is actually not what your purpose is!
- BREATHE – It’s easy to talk about being constantly on the “grind” – working non stop towards something you love. Work hard, but don’t forget to breathe. Burnout is real. It’s happened to me on multiple occasions, and not only did it hurt, but it also hindered my ability to actually do work that I was proud of.
- THE PROCESS IS THE SUCCESS STORY – Fall in love with the process. Everything you have achieved, are trying to achieve, will achieve, and whoever you will become, is part of a process. Without enjoying it, both the good and the bad, you are not working towards something, you are just driving down a road without looking out the window. Look out the window…believe it or not, the view is amazing sometimes!
- NOT EVERYONE WILL SUPPORT YOU – and that’s okay… The sooner you realize this reality the sooner you will be able to focus on the things that matter. There will be people who don’t get it. There will be people who are constantly on your back about things they don’t understand. There will be people who will tell you what you are doing is a waste of time… It happens. The answer to all these negative inquiries should be, “is it your life?” If you believe in it, do it.
- DON’T CHASE ‘WHAT’, LIVE ‘WHY’ – Simon Sinek’s book “Start with Why” is a must read for everyone on a path of personal growth and development. As you work towards who you want to be, let your driving force be WHY you do what you do, not WHAT you do. The reason for this is that a WHY never changes, a WHY never goes out of fashion. A WHY does not expire. When you are consistent in WHY you do things, your WHAT can be anything. Live your WHY.
- NOT EVERY DAY IS A GOOD DAY – There will be days where you absolutely hate the work you’ve done, trust me, I’m a creative and an architecture design student – it happens. Don’t get stuck in your head about it. Give yourself the peace of mind to be upset. It’s okay to be upset. It’s okay to have a bad day, week, month. It’s okay. Breathe, and look for new options.
- SUPPORT OTHERS IN THEIR JOURNEY – Nobody can do it alone. If they can, they aren’t reading this article. Your support of others reminds you of the importance of following a passion. You’re not the only one with dreams, build each other up.
- ISOLATE TOXICITY – Take a hard look at your life, and objectively ask yourself where negative energy is coming from. Identify these sources, and cut them out of your life. It can be the hardest part of any growth process, but it can be equally as rewarding.
- LIFE HAPPENS AROUND YOU, NOT IN YOUR PHONE – Strongly examine your relationship with social media. Notice your behaviors and motives for using it. Question the accounts you follow, and ask yourself if they are helping you become who you want to become, or if they are only perpetuating a false perfection. Life is experienced around you, engage with it. With real people, on real adventures.
- YOU ARE NOT AS OLD AS YOU THINK YOU ARE – There is time to do everything. Never tell yourself it’s too late to do anything. Especially when it comes to following your passion, you can turn your life around in one night. Take the risk to follow your purpose, it will pay off.
- YOU ARE NOT AS YOUNG AS YOU THINK YOU ARE – You may be young still but this is the time in your life to become who you want. Don’t tell yourself I will do it later, do it now. Start now. You will be happier. You will find purpose. Your entire life will change. Believe in who you want to become, and go after that!
- REFLECTION IS CRUCIAL – This one is quite important for me personally, and I think many will agree with me. It is in moments of reflection that you are honest with yourself. Ask yourself questions, notice patterns, connect the dots. You are your best teacher, you just have to be willing to learn. Be honest with yourself.
- YOUR STORY IS NOT ON ANYONE ELSE’S SCHEDULE – We all go through things at our own pace. Do not let the accomplishments of others get to you. You know your passion, you know your journey, keep your head up and allow yourself to experience your process at the pace the universe has set out for you. There is no rush.
- THE PEOPLE AROUND YOU CREATE YOUR ATMOSPHERE – Surround yourself with people who help you become the person you are trying to become. Mindset, energy, positivity, negativity, and inspiration are all contagious. Surround yourself with the energy you want to radiate. Your outlook on life, and on your own capabilities will grow.
- BE KIND – Kindness is the root of all happiness. It costs nothing, but means everything. Be kind to those you encounter, and don’t forget to be kind to yourself. You are human, you will mess up – pick yourself up, and forgive yourself. Kindness heals. Kindness inspires. Kindness is the root.
- CHANGE YOUR ROUTINES – It’s great to develop habits, but sometimes when we feel stuck we need a change. Make yourself uncomfortable. Put yourself in situations where you are FORCED to learn. You will be forced to grow, and this will help you get back on track.
- BELIEVE IN THE POWER OF YOUR DREAMS – There is a reason you have the dreams you do. It’s because that is the root of your passion. Don’t sleep on them. Allow them to drive your decisions through life, because even if you don’t know how to get there, by simply believing in them, you are stepping closer to turning everything you’ve ever dreamed of becoming into a reality.
I have been blessed in my 22 years to meet and encounter the people I have. It has been a truly remarkable journey. In addition, I’d like to thank everybody who has been a part of my personal and professional journey. The people closest to me know who they are, and I say with 100% confidence, I would not be the person I am without your support and encouragement. ZULUECHO INITIATIVE is just under 3 years old, but it has grown at an incredible rate, and is having a truly remarkable impact on so many people all over the world. I am so grateful to everyone for this. There have been many questions in my life, both asked of me, and questions I’ve asked myself about my own future. There is a lot that I don’t know yet, but I do know that I have this passion to inspire, and with this incredible community, I am able to do just that, and that is the best gift I could ever ask for.
BELIEVE IN THE POWER OF YOUR DREAMS…#zuluechoinitiative