(Image Credit: Pinterest)
What would you do if you could get out of the grind of your 9 to 5?
Don’t say you haven’t thought about it. I know you have.
Travel to Dubai? Work with animals in a shelter? Or would you write a film script that could make you the next Akira Kurosawa?
So how do you get from organizing the folding room at Macy’s (or any job for that matter) to landing a seat on the first flight to Dubai next summer?
You shift your perspective.
Yes, you read that right. It’s easier said than done. But it makes your life so much better. Screw the fact that the Huffington Post article that said you may have to wait potentially forever to be satisfied with your career. Screw the fact that nearly half of us graduates from 4-year colleges are in jobs that don’t require 4-year degree.
You CAN have that dream job. You CAN get that plane ticket. You CAN get that Olympic medal. You can have your dreams. Prove all the naysayers wrong by following these steps.
1. Focus on Your End Goal
You’ve run a marathon right? What happens in the middle of it?
Your legs are burning; your breathing’s labored. Ducking under the barrier would be easy. Focusing on one step at a time may work for some, but it doesn’t work for everyone.
Keeping your eye on the finish line works too.
The same goes for jobs.
Instead of focusing on what you don’t like about what you’re doing, try to find things about the job you do like. Focus on what you’ll gain.
Athletes don’t get to the Olympics by closing their eyes and snapping their fingers. Yes, visualization is powerful, but it can only do so much. It takes practice. It takes sweat. It takes getting to practice every stinking day even if you want to curl up with your cat.
Will your choice get you to where you want to be even if it sounds like the LAST thing you’d want to be doing right now?
I recently accepted an internship as a content creator for a technology company. Pretty far off from my dream of working as in an international company based in London that inspires youth to overcome the challenges they’ve faced.
I didn’t like technology. I didn’t see how this could help me get there. The passion disappeared from my writing. It wasn’t until my boss recently called me out, and sat me down for a good chat (and by good chat I mean brutally honest discussion) that I woke up and smelled the espresso.
Focusing on what you’ll gain gives you motivation. It gives you a reason beyond having to pay the bills to get up in the morning when your alarm goes off.
2. Take Time For Yourself
What do you think would have happened if you hadn’t gotten a lunch break during your first shift at your first part-time job? (Besides the store getting in trouble for breaking the law.)
What if you had been told to work all day every day like your life depended on it?
Yeah, I think I would pass out too.
This IS such a thing as working too hard.
It’s great to have goals, but balancing it out with different activities and your personal time is important. Having time for yourself gives you a chance to recharge. It allows your creativity to come forward. That creativity can help you produce your best work.
It’s not a crime to take time for yourself.
No, not spill-your-guts kind of communicate. The asking-questions when-you’re-confused kind of communicate. There is a time and place for that kind of communication and honesty, but it’s not always appropriate (especially when we’re talking careers).
Would you rather make sure you’re doing the right thing or make an assumption and have to spend extra time cleaning up your mess?
Yeah, I thought so.
Communication also helps people around you understand where you are in your head and how to help you. And we could always use an extra helping hand every now and again.
4. Change The Voices In Your Head
Yes, I just stole that line from P!nk’s song.
Yes, it’s easier said than done. It takes time. I’m still working on mine.
But the things you focus on become more prominent in your life. Focus on the positive, and happy things will sneak into your life, probably when you’re not paying attention.
Who doesn’t like happy surprises?
Focus on the negative and the energy will draw unhappy things into your life.
At the risk of sounding very cheesy, I’m going to steal a quote from Peter Pan.
“Think happy thoughts.”
Yes, even when it seems like everything is just WRONG.
5. Know That This is Not Permanent
Stand up. Back away from your computer screen. Or put your phone down, whichever device you’re using.
Okay, you can come back now.
Could you move?
Whether you did or didn’t is a completely different story. I don’t have eyes in the back of my head. I can’t reach through the screen to make sure you did since I’d be breaking the First Amendment of the Constitution.
The point is that no one FORCED you to stand up or drop your phone. You’re not permanently stuck in the chair you’re sitting in (or the job you have, the house you live in or the life you live). Nothing is permanent unless you make the choice to make it permanent.
6. Embrace Criticism
Criticism is like a mosquito bite.
It can bother us if we let it. Or we can put repellant on when we need to.
Criticism allows us to grow. It allows us to improve ourselves. It’s also a sign that the people giving you the criticism believe in your potential.
It feels good to have other people believe in you doesn’t it?
They want you to be better; they know you can be better.
Yes, sometimes it’s hard to hear the criticism because it feels like you’re being attacked, especially when you put a lot of time and energy into something. But I personally would rather swallow a bitter pill and come back a better version of myself than constantly be told how wonderful I am and never improve.
I’m not trying to tell you that you HAVE to embrace criticism. I’m not trying to pose a loaded question. You can choose what information to absorb. You can also choose what sort of information you want to forget. But shifting your perspective and embracing criticism go hand in hand from my experience.
7. Appreciate It (Whatever Your “It” May Be)
Find a painting. Get closer to it.
All you see are little swatches and splats of color right?
Now back away so you can see the whole thing.
Looks a lot better now huh?
Perspective is something that comes with time and distance.
I didn’t want to go to Australia to study abroad two years ago. I wanted to go to London. I did everything right, but I didn’t get in.
Australia turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life.
Not because I got to hold a koala.
Not because I got to see a play in the Sydney Opera House
Not because I got to snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef
Because the experience showed me how much more I had to grow.
Because I started to get comfortable with pushing myself out of my comfort zone.
“Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted”
Armed with that experience you can do bigger and better things. You were meant to do more. Every experience you have is a stepping-stone, preparing you for the next one. And you might get something better out of the detour.
I didn’t get to go to London this time, but that just means that when I do get to go there (and stay there for the long term) it’ll be that much sweeter.
What other tools do you use to shift your perspective?