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The Journey to Self-Awareness

What do I believe is the number one root cause for a person becoming “successful?” SELF-AWARENESS. Success has a different definition for each and every person. This is why having a good sense of self is massively important to finding out what our definition is.  Some people want money, some people want attention, some want internal peace, some anything and everything, some want none of it. All of them are good answers. I think a lot of people out there though are confused and are pursuing somebody else’s definition of success. Let’s use me for instance. In college I pursued an engineering degree not because I was extremely passionate about it, but because my dad was an engineer and I knew it was a “steady, stable, good paying” job. On the side I was also pursuing the things I was passionate about. College athletics, fraternity events, clubs, volunteer opportunities. This was a point in my life where I started to dive deep into my own self-awareness. While I loved helping people, playing sports, and being creative with social media…this was not a lucrative career path in my eyes (little did I know where I would be right now). So, I stuck out the engineering because even though I was not head over heels about it, I knew learning to solve problems in the most efficient manner would help me throughout any point in my life. Particularly when I was older, wiser, and more in tune with how to make my passion my work. That awareness paid huge dividends both then and now. Fast forward to graduating college and I already had a great “job” lined up. While everyone else seemed ecstatic for the future and getting “jobs” to solidify their career paths…I felt lost because I knew I wanted more from life. Instead of hesitating though, I started DOing even more. I worked out harder, joined more teams, traveled more, networked everywhere I went, CARED more about the little things than the other people did. While many put their heads down in their work, (work they usually didn’t enjoy), I was learning to pick my head up and look for opportunities to work with other people, projects, and brands outside of my “job”. I didn’t know it at the time, but this was the start of my entrepreneurial journey. As I continued on my career path, I started noticing that no matter how tired, sick, or burnt out I was, there were a couple staples in my life. I always went to the gym, I never missed a soccer game, and I always was texting, emailing, snapping, DMing people from all over the world. While it was a hassle to drag my feet to the “job” every morning, everything else I was doing without hesitation. Then after following a lot of different influencers, I began thinking to myself what is stopping me from monetizing off of my passions.. I was already spending a massive amount of time for FREE doing them, why not make money from them? This is the part that trips a lot of people up. We all say we want to make a living doing what we love. But how do we START? Simple. Stop thinking, start DOING. Say yes to everything and then narrow down based on what you like and don’t like.

My Tips

This is where I want to provide some VALUE with a few simple steps that were crucial to my journey towards quitting things I disliked to spend time only on what made me feel alive. These steps can literally be used by anyone at any point in their life.
  1. Read the book “The crossroads of should and must. Find and follow your passion,” by Elle Luna. This book is a quick and engaging read that I found to be an absolute game-changer for my thought process.
  2. Read, listen, and watch videos on other people’s failure and success stories. Then reach out to them! What do you have to lose? NOTHING! If you do not know how to communicate with others…go back to the first sentence and read, watch, listen about that. One of my all-time favorite videos is about how your body language shapes who you are. Aka "fake it till you make (become) it" as Amy Cuddy says. I highly recommend watching it!
  3. Coursera, edX, Lynda…any other sites that provide courses that you can take online and start adding credibility to whatever it is you are trying to pursue. I highly recommend everyone take some type of Entrepreneurship 101, Business Finance, Marketing, Social Media, and Building Personal Brand class.
  4. Download the networking app SHAPR, attend local networking events on meetup.com, set coffee/tea/lunch meetings just to meet new people and learn of new opportunities going on around you. If you are introverted, I suggest going with close friends to events while also utilizing forums and other platforms to connect and learn from others online. Some of them include reddit.com and quora.com.
  5. Look in the mirror every day and realize that it is solely up to you to make your dreams come true. Good things will happen, bad things will happen, but it is how mentally strong you can be to realize your temperament and spirit have the biggest impact on whether you fail or succeed. You decide your worth, and it is up to YOU to start providing VALUE to the world. These steps will help you get started!
Now to be clear, I am not saying this is going to be easy at all. You will have to work 10x harder than at any other point in your life. The catch is, it will not feel like work! I now work 7 days a week, pretty much 365 days a year. At times, it has taken a toll on my health, my relationship, and my sanity. If we take everything as a learning lesson though, we can minimize our future mistakes, and grow into a better person for both ourselves and everyone else around us. I wholeheartedly believe that these steps can help you become more self-aware, help you start chasing your dreams, and begin to feel what it’s like to THRIVE! And if you disagree, I’d love to hear why!