The pressure to have the perfect life is everywhere. From friends’ Facebook pages littered with pictures of amazing holidays and fabulous days out, to that one girl in your office who just got engaged, it’s easy to compare your life to others, and feel that you fall short. When it comes to the end of uni, and securing that elusive graduate job, the feeling of not being good enough can spiral. If you’re still looking for your dream job (or really any job. Please!?) you probably know what I mean. Whilst all your mates have got great places on grad schemes or internships, or even fully fledged jobs, and you’re happy for them, you can’t help feeling both left out and also like you’re failing. I am here to tell you that you’re doing fine, and you will find your own path soon.
The thing is, there is no such thing as ‘the perfect life’. It’s a lie. It’s been invented by films, and the media, and Facebook and Instagram. Everyone has problems, issues, and things they wish they could change. But at the end of the day, we should all try to be a little more grateful for the things that we do have, and stop letting the things we don’t have cancel them out. Striking a healthy balance between trying to improve yourself and being happy with what you have isn’t easy, but once you master it, you’ll be amazed at how far you can go. I’m still working on it, but I think the first step is to realise that. So this month I am going to be nurturing the parts of my life which make me happy; friends, hobbies, my ridiculously comfy bed, and also working towards the dream life I want.
It’s also important to remember that everyone does things at their own speed, and just because Sue and Dave both have jobs already it doesn’t make them any better than you. Sure they’re a couple of rungs higher on the ‘grown up’ ladder right now, but you’ll get there. In fact you might even learn something on your slightly slower journey up that they didn’t have a chance to see. Really it all comes down to realising you can’t compare yourself to anyone else’s life, as it will never look the same as yours.
Instead, the thing which I have found useful is to take those people whose careers, hobbies and talents you envy (whether in real life or through social media) and turn the jealousy into something positive. So you wish you had a successful YouTube channel like your favourite vloggers? Well get a camera and start making videos! You’re envious of that famous author? Write more, post it out into the world, try to get an agent. A little bit of life-envy can be used to spur you on to your own success, as long as you don’t let it overtake you. Use the examples of ‘perfect’ lives as inspiration, and motivation. You’ll be surprised at what you can achieve when you really go for it.
I am currently putting this ideology to practice in my own life, and it’s already bringing results. I’ve been offered the chance to blog once a month for Young Women’s Trust, and am in the process of preparing a pitch to write for Hello Giggles. It’s a slow process, but every time I publish a new post, or get a new follower, I remember that I am on my way. I also tell myself that even if I don’t do every single thing that I want to, I can be happy knowing that I’ve given it my best shot. A lot of joy can come from the journey towards your goals, so I try to enjoy every moment that I get to spend doing what I love; writing, campaigning, or just being with people close to me.
What are your dreams or goals? Are you on your way to achieving them? Make a list of three things you can do, no matter how big or small, in the next week or month, to get you that little bit closer. Then make a list of three things/people/facts about your life right now that you are happy about. Stick both up somewhere you can see, and use them as motivation to live the ‘perfect life’. Or not.
Tagged: ambition, career, determination, goals, growing up, happiness, job, life, the future, work
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It’s been slowly creeping up on me for a while, but at the beginning of this month I had a revelation. The sort of jobs I’ve been looking for, the work experience I’ve undertaken and the placements I’ve applied for have all been doing something which doesn’t actually make me happy. For the past couple of years, I’ve set my sights on getting a job in social media, marketing or something similar. Two different internships and a lot of helping out with Facebook pages later, it’s finally time for me to accept that whilst I’m pretty good at social media, it’s not what I want to spend the large part of my life doing. Sure I’d be happy doing it on the side of my main job, or as part of a role, but not as the main part of my working day.
This isn’t just an ‘oh I don’t like that so much’ feeling, it’s a huge, uneasy weight which has been pressing down on me and stifling my creativity and motivation. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and a bit unhappy in my job, and that was how I felt during my internship last year towards the end. I just put it down to transitioning into the real world, believing everyone felt like this about their first job. Now I’ve come to realise that’s not true, and I can do something about it. Also having to forcefully leave my most recent internship made me think a lot about what I want to do next, which helped me realise that it’s not more of the same.
Of course the next question is what do I actually want to do then? I need to work out my next step, realising what you don’t want to do is great, but you can’t move forward until you have something to do instead. Considering that it took me a while to know that I didn’t want to go into marketing, the prospect of figuring out what I actually do want to do was daunting to say the least. However, I was very lucky in that I had been told about an awesome service called Work It Out.
Work It Out is an initiative set up by The Young Women’s Trust which works with young women aged 16-30 who are not in education, employment or training. They offer a personal coaching service, which connects you with a coach/mentor who can help you explore the things which may be holding you back from getting into work or education, look at options you may not have thought about, and most importantly help you to feel more confident and motivated about life. My coach, Yasmin, has been a great help in figuring out my next move. From our initial conversation she made me feel at ease, and we ended up talking for well over an hour on the phone! Without sounding too cheesy, Yasmin helped me to see things about myself which had always been there, but I just didn’t realise. Every phone call left me feeling more confident, and motivated to take action and do things.
One of the things which we’ve discussed a lot is what my ‘ideal’ would look like. Whether that’s ideal day, ideal routine or ideal job. This has been one of the absolute most helpful things for me in looking at what I want to do. By picturing the ‘perfect’ scenario, I was able to look at what elements made up that image, and try to find a way to get them. Instead of focusing on what I don’t have, I am figuring out a way to work towards what I want. It sounds simple once you start doing it, but it can change the way you think about your life.
I started to think about what my ideal career would look like, and unsurprisingly it wasn’t in marketing. Since the age of 13 I’ve always been involved in different youth groups and organisations; from Youth Parliament to running in the Students’ Union elections this March, I love doing something which makes a difference. It follows that I might be happier in a job which incorporates this, so I started researching different organisations which work with children and young people, and the types of roles they have available.
I am now applying for jobs in the youth sector and also in universities or externally with students. I’ve realised that what I want to do is help people to realise their full potential, and give them opportunities they may not have had. I know from experience that when you’re growing up and entering into being a ‘real adult’ it can be one of the most daunting, scary times. Having people and things which make you feel a little less lost and overwhelmed can be invaluable, and I want to be a part of that. From when I was in youth parliament I’ve always had a passion for standing up for others’ rights and being there for others, so I am confident that I can turn that into a career.
I’ll keep you all updated on how my job hunt is going, and I’m also hoping to have a couple of guest posts coming up!
Do you know what you want to do? Or are you still figuring it out? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section, and have a great day whatever you’re doing.
Tagged: career, education, life, life lessons, students, the future, work, Work It Out, young people, Young Women’s Trust
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