Ok, I get it. The whole "You only live once! This is your life, do whatever you want! The only way to succeed is to take big risks! Just do it, make your dreams come true!! (Thanks Shia)"
Noted, internet. You are inspiring, yes. But you are also gut-wrenchingly overwhelming and you are a thorn in my about to have a panic attack ass.
While the concept of living your dream is rooted in all of us through content overload and various envy-driving success stories on social media, these dreams don't happen over night for us – or wait for it – spoiler alert: perhaps not at all. Even more, making it big isn't for everyone, nor does it have to be. But many people may feel the pressure to reach a higher standard due to the societal pressure of our generation. And who can blame them? We're only human, and we're bound to size ourselves up.
Five years ago we found it easier to stand tall and proud, because we were comparing ourselves to a small pool of people in our lives. We weren't scrolling through thousands of photos on Instagram to steal style tips from an entire online presence that's staged to perfection, live tweeting reality television trying to out-wit each other, or furiously swiping right. Now, we are. We're obsessed with everyone else's online brand story, and because of this, striving to meet unrealistic expectations. Not only is it unhealthy, it's absurd. So much of what we see is a perfectly planned facade.
Though we SHOULD have larger goals and feel inspired to grow, we should also have small steps of self-growth that may help define what that larger goal is, every day. And we should have a larger goal that makes sense for us, not a goal born out of spite or pressure. So instead of asking you to take an immediate big risk in order to succeed – like quit your job on the spot to start your own business or travel the world for a year – I'm asking you to take little risks when and where you can. Hopefully adding up to something greater. Here are a few I recommend.
1. Disagree with your boss and be adamant about your point of view.
My boss once told me that I didn't disagree with him – ever. And it was a problem. He was right. I constantly allowed him to make the final decisions and nodded my head in agreement with him whenever there was conflict. I was dodging confrontation when and where I could, thereby personally demoting myself as a strong voice and point of view in the office. So test the waters. Make it a point to disagree when you truly disagree. Don't hide behind your opinion. Also, don't lose it completely and start screaming at him in public – but try to be a bit bolder. He or she will notice and gain a newfound respect for you.
2. START A SIDE PROJECT.
Just start one, that's it. Whatever feels right to your soul. It doesn't have to be your end all, be all. It just has to be the perfect escape for you from every day – and it has to get you excited about accomplishing something outside of work.
Our jobs can be utterly monotonous and life draining. We NEED something on the side that can grow ourselves, better reflecting our personal identity. Whether it's a pottery class or a blog, this is an essential "small risk" that rebels a little against the 9-5 world. And who knows, it may turn into something bigger. Check out Dabble for a few ideas.
3. Call in Sick and use it as a day to work on your side project.
Yes, DO IT. Call in sick, and don't you dare feel guilty. In fact, take two sick days in a row! It makes it feel like you're REALLY sick and no one will question. Then, use those days to proactively grow your passion project. If you work hard at the office and have a good reputation, It's ok, be a little selfish. You deserve some "you" time.
4. IF YOU'RE SINGLE, HIT ON A HOT DUDE AT THE BAR.
How do you think I scored my boyfriend? Get over yourself and take control. The good ones aren't the charmers who will approach you and throw down cheesy pick up lines. They're normally a bit quieter and nervous to talk to you. So, have a personality drink, find an unsuspecting victim, and the rest will be your history.
5. USE ACORN TO SAVE AND INVEST SOME CHANGE.
So there's this new app I just found out about, called Acorn, where you can invest your spare change. How about that. Nothing crazy, nothing scary. Just a good chunk of change to play around with. Who knows what that could one day add up to!
Hope these little tips help you out! Life's too short to worry about life being too short, so let's just take one thing at a time.