Creating Your Own Opportunities

Creating Your Own Opportunities

In the past few months, I have been noticing an interesting trend where people lament their lives because there aren’t enough opportunities for them.

Maybe we need to start changing how we understand opportunities. For so long, we assumed or were led to believe that once we’re old enough, the right opportunities would come our way. Flash forward a few years, and you will quickly come to realize that opportunities don’t just fall into your lap. If anything, they come by once in a blue moon and are fleeting.

Then there’s a rude awakening that makes you realize you have to go out and create your opportunities because they will not come knocking at your door. The idea that you have to create things out of thin air is daunting. But you’re in a tiny bit of luck because starting to create opportunities for yourself just requires energy, effort, and patience. All things you have probably already have!

If you have no idea where to start, here are a few steps you can take to start creating the opportunities you want in your life.

1) Figure out what you want

There’s no use in trying to create something when you have no idea what you want. Take your time researching, reflecting, and picturing what kind of opportunities you want in your life.

2) Putting yourself out there

Again, nothing will come knocking on your door. It is up to you to get yourself out there. How? Well, it might look different for everyone. For some, it might mean volunteering, networking, applying to jobs, meeting other like mine people who want similar things to you. For others, it could be starting their own business, organization, etc.  

3) Creating opportunities

Sometimes all it takes is one simple claim, email, question or answer to set off an opportunity. But at the very basis of it all, you need to try. For example, the job I currently have is thanks to me sending one email just prying and trying to see if I could volunteer. Nothing crazy, but that one email led to a few more and then a zoom call and now I have a job. I had to put myself out there and dare to just ask one simple question.

Creating opportunities in your life is not some giant momentous occasion, it is small little actions that you take every single day, 

Somewhere between one point and another, people forget that if you want something to happen, more likely than not, you have to go out and get it done yourself. The world is not waiting around, trying to find the right time to give you an opportunity. It’s entirely up to you what opportunities you go out into the world and create.

Does this mean it’s easy? No. But that’s the entire point, nothing easy ever really just happens. Opportunities do not appear out of thin air.

Opportunities require effort, energy, time and putting yourself out there.

Why It’s Difficult To Sit With Our Thoughts

Why It’s Difficult To Sit With Our Thoughts

In the past few months, I have noticed how any time I am faced with a situation that I know I need to sit with for a while, I immediately gravitate towards my phone. My solution to not facing my problems has been to just continuously scroll on my phone for hours on end or do anything at all to avoid sitting alone with my thoughts. Which, if you know me, you know is not something I preach. I believe that it’s important to sit alone with your thoughts. I think it’s fundamentally important to check in with yourself and what’s going on in your brain.

These last few weeks, I have been doing the opposite of checking in with myself and I wasn’t sure why until this morning.

I woke up earlier than usual and by habit, I rolled over to check the time on my phone and immediately opened Instagram. I had been barely awake for 15 seconds and I was already scrolling on an app. This time around, I caught myself in the act and paused for a moment. When did I become this person? When did I start scrolling through my phone 15 seconds after waking up? Why do I do it?

I put my phone down and stared up at the ceiling for a bit and just let myself be. My mind started racing and listing all my to-dos and anxieties for the day and then jumped straight into the negative self-talk and internal arguing. Once again, I caught myself in an act I wasn’t so proud of. When did my internal monologue get to be so rude? Pessimistic? Negative?

You see, what I have come to realize is that I am not necessarily ignoring sitting alone with my thoughts. I was doing that because I couldn’t handle the negative self-talk that was happening, and my temporary solution was to ignore absolutely everything. Whether it was reading, scrolling for hours on my phone or just watching endless YouTube videos, I was adamant about avoiding the harsh mental space I was going through.

Contrary to popular belief, we don’t avoid sitting alone with our thoughts because it’s boring or lonely.  We avoid sitting alone with our thoughts because we most likely know how bad we have let it get in our heads.

When we see the missteps we’ve made, or how we slacked on our mental health, our immediate reaction is to run from that realization – at least that’s how it is for me. We run because we feel as if too much time has passed and the conversation and space, we have created for ourselves in our head can never be fixed. But that notion couldn’t be further from the truth.

Even the act of realizing that we are avoiding something inside ourselves shows that you are still doing the work.

Sitting alone with our thoughts isn’t an easy thing, so we need to remind ourselves to do it a bit more often, so it doesn’t pile up and become unbearable. But do remember, we are all human. It’s normal to avoid our inner thoughts, scroll on Instagram and then realize that something isn’t right. It’s normal to be scared of facing our fears, but what’s important is that you realize them and address them.

So, if you haven’t sat with your thoughts in a while, here is your daily reminder to do so.

Becoming Who You Want To Be

Becoming Who You Want To Be

Becoming the person you have always wanted to be, is a long process. It requires you to make a promise to yourself every night before bed that tomorrow you will try again, and it requires you to act on that promise every morning. It’s not an easy promise to keep to ourselves, and oftentimes it’s one we won’t keep. But that doesn’t mean you should stop trying to be the person you always wanted to be.

But getting back at it and motivating yourself to try again becomes easier when you have the following things in mind: a reason behind why you want to become that person, consistency and a core set of values. Here’s a little bit more of an explanation as to why you need these three things in your life when you are trying to become the person you have always wanted to be.

1)      Establishing a ‘Why’

Why do you want to be this person? To live a happier life? Perhaps, to live a more balanced life? To be more present? The process of becoming the person you always wanted to be is challenging and exhausting but having a solid reason as to why you are becoming this version of yourself can save you in more ways than you know. When things get tough, or you feel like giving up, having that ‘why’ to catch you is crucial to continuing the lifelong journey of becoming who you want to be. Starting things without creating a solid foundation first, often leads to things falling apart faster than you wanted.

2)      Consistency

In most endeavours in life, people will tell you that consistency is key. It also applies to this matter and is one of the few ideas I try to follow every single day. When creating anything, a project, an idea and yourself keeping up consistent habits that you know add a tremendous amount of value and joy to your life is key. Doing those all the time is the tricky part, but I can tell you that forcing yourself to keep up healthy habits, whatever they may be, is key to becoming the person you want to be. Eventually, they will become second nature and you will be one step closer to being that version of yourself that you know you can be.

3)      Establish a clear set of values

When envisioning this version of yourself, it’s easy to imagine where they will be living, wearing, eating, who they will be surrounding themselves with, etc. But as we all know, life is a lot more complex than that and can throw a few curveballs at you. Through time, that ideal version of you might change or evolve and that’s completely okay. Adjust, pivot, try new habits that would align with that version, even if it’s not the one you started with. More often than not, pivoting and readjusting is a lot easier when you have a clear list of values that you want to live by. Values can change, everything does, but more often than not our core values are with us for the long haul. Having a clear idea of those core values can allow you to work towards that person you want to become, but also allow you to change course whenever you want or feel the need to. Because you aren’t changing absolutely everything, just the direction but not the core of who you are (but between you and me, you can change that too – it’s your life after all).

The journey is tough but you can do it. You can and are allowed to be the person you have always dreamed of being.

Showing Up for Others

Showing Up for Others

A few weeks ago, I talked about how we need to start showing up for ourselves more, and I wholeheartedly believe you should always show up for yourself. But something else I have been reflecting on is how our generation tends to be when it comes time to show up for others in our communities.

You see, we sometimes lean towards showing up for ourselves more than we show up for others. During specific times in our lives, this makes perfect sense. We tend to forget that there is an entire world out there that needs us to actively be a part of it.

How do we find the balance between showing up for ourselves but also showing up for those around us when the time comes?

One example I turn to is the older generation, and by that, I mean the grandparents of the world. When you look at our grandparents, they are the first people to be by your side when you need them. When you call, they will come. They believe that it is important to show up for the people and things that are important to us, and I think our generation has to learn something from this. It’s not a hidden fact that older people, in general, tend to show up and participate more in events, civic duties, etc. and they show up happily. So why can’t we do that as well?

It’s not to say that we don’t, but sometimes I don’t think we do it enough. I don’t think it’s just because of social media. I think we don’t show up because it would mean committing to something in a way, we don’t have to that often. Yes, we can commit to our jobs, school and perhaps a few other things. But, showing up for others just seems like a step we have a hard time taking.

Here’s the thing, as the world progresses and continues to be as chaotic as it currently is, showing up for other people might need to become just as important as showing up for yourself. Once you get in the habit of showing up for yourself and taking care of yourself, it becomes a lot easier to be there for other people in your community.

But we have to remember that we are part of this world, this country, and this community. We actively play a role in society, whether we show up or not. But showing up makes a much bigger impact on everyone’s lives, including your own. We are also reaching a point in time where we can’t afford to not show up for others.

So today, I am challenging you to reflect for a bit. Think about how you engage with your community and how you can show up for others. Do the internal work of showing up for yourself and once you feel ready, remember it’s equally important to show up for others.

Life is About Creating Yourself

Life is About Creating Yourself

Life is about finding yourself – is it, though?

For years I was caught up in this idea that I had to find myself. I was obsessed with trying to get back to this younger version of myself where I felt had peaked. I spent nights crying myself to sleep because I could not find myself. I spent days aimlessly wandering around trying to find this idealized idea and somehow make it fit into my life. But as we can all guess, that never actually happened. I never “found” myself the way everyone claimed I would. All this made me do was hold onto a past version of myself that no longer aligned with who I was or who I was becoming.

I held onto this idea because that’s all I ever knew. From Pinterest to Instagram to general conversations with friends, we were all led to believe that life was about finding yourself. We thought that one day we would stumble across this version of ourselves we once loved and immediately return to being that person. As I got older, I started to realize that all I was doing was holding myself back from enjoying the present and looking forward to the future – I had planted myself in the past and slowly but surely, I realized that it was not doing anything good for me.

Here’s the thing, life is not about finding yourself. When we ask people to find themselves, what exactly are they looking for? A version of themselves they used to be. It seems odd that the idea of finding ourselves suggest that we can g back to our past selves and embody them when undoubtedly, so much has changed.

So, I propose we change how we understand our life and who we are. Instead of aiming to find yourself, what if we made life about creating ourselves? What if we focused our energy on learning from the past and moving forward? What if we built who we wanted to be every single day?

Life is not about finding yourself. That idea implies that there was a better version of you that existed once upon a time and makes you forget that the best is yet to come. The best is yet to come if you create and build it.

Creating yourself leaves you with endless options of what you can create and who you can become, and those endless possibilities are one of the most beautiful gifts that life has to offer. Focus your energy on creating who you want to become and know that who you are right now is more than enough. Your past does not define you.

Personally, when I started shifting away from the idea of finding myself, I almost felt relieved. I felt like I had gained back some agency in my life like I was finally the one steering the ship. Creating yourself is about doing whatever the heck you want. It is about creating who you want to become and loving yourself in the process. Finding yourself might be great in some circumstances, but you have the option and agency to create who you want to be and the life you want to live.

How to Stop Living a Passive Life

How to Stop Living a Passive Life

Have you been living passively for the last year? For the past year or so, I have been watching the days, weeks and months, fly by without even realizing it. Time has flown by so quickly, and I genuinely cannot tell you where the time went or what even happened. Which got me thinking, what was doing in the past year? Why was I living such a passive existence? What happened to my life? The pandemic presented a strange set of circumstances that were different for each person, and the way we all responded to those circumstances differed as well. Today I want to share how I slowly climbed out of this habit of living life passively to one where I am actively living my life.

For an entire year, I stopped myself from feeling any sort of joy because I thought it was going to be taken away from me. For a year, I held in my grief because it hurt too much to feel anything. For an entire year, I let things happen to me and didn’t even bother reacting. I let life pass me by. Even though it was a horrible year in so many ways, it was still a year of my life. I still passively lived a year of this precious life that I have. Quite honestly, I have reached a point where I do not want that to be who I am or the type of life I live.

So, what changed? A few weeks ago, I reached a point where I was getting sick and tired of my daily routine. It was chaotic, boring, and quite frankly not helping me live my day-to-day life. So, I decided to challenge myself. For three days, I would try hard to create a daily schedule that was balanced, healthy and made me excited to wake up in the morning. For those three days, I made sure to carve out time in my days to do things I know benefit my mental and physical health, but that also allowed me to balance work with hobbies on the side. Was it easy? No. A part of me wanted badly to revert to old ways, and the next week I did. But I also realized how awful I felt living passively after I experienced three days of actually enjoying my life.

Now the question remains, what can you do about it? For one day, try to create a day that makes you truly happy. I am not saying you must ignore work and responsibilities but create a day that makes you feel balanced and happy. Think carefully about how you want this day to look. Think about how you want to feel. I would recommend writing it all done on a list because trust me there is nothing more satisfying than checking things off a list.

Once you have your list of all the little things that you can do in a day that would make you feel full, happy and balanced, it’s time to do it. I don’t have any secret how-to for this part because it’s up to you at this point to decide that you want to try. You wake every single morning and give it all you got, so why not try doing something you like? Take the list and go through it throughout the day and check things off.

I hope that at the end of the day, you feel happy and full. I hope you realize that little things throughout the day can make us feel just as satisfied and happy as the big moments in our lives can.

The secret to actively living your life and not passively going through it is that you must choose to live your life. You must actively choose small tasks or moments throughout your day and fill them with something you love. Living doesn’t have to be going on crazy adventures it can just mean living intentionally and fully.

I hope you take a few months to realize that if you have been on autopilot for the past year or just not happy or disconnected, that it doesn’t have to stay that way. You do not have to watch the rest of the world go on without you. You can be a part of it.

The only way you can create the life you want or the life you dream of is by deciding to live your life.

The Uncertainty Of New

The Uncertainty Of New

Do you remember that last time you tried something new? Do you remember how nervous but excited you felt? Maybe even a little reserved or apprehensive? Because I do. I am currently swimming in that feeling right now. It’s a strange feeling because it’s probably not that what you are doing for the first time is bad it’s just different and you know it might change things. Whether that be starting a new job, entering a new relationship, trying a new activity or hobby, doing something brand new for the first time brings up a lot of emotions.

Today, I want to focus on helping you get through that period of uncertainty that will undoubtedly come with the territory of doing something new.

First, when trying something, new it is crucial to reframe your mindset. When we approach something new, we often put on this guard and start thinking about how bad it might go. I am the first person who will jump to the worse conclusions and make up scenarios in my head of all the ways I will fail if I do or try something new. But one of the ways that I turn that mindset around is by reframing whatever I am about to do.

 Instead of seeing it as doing something scary or different, I remind myself that it is an opportunity to learn and do something that I have never done before. It is a chance to add something new to my repertoire, a chance to connect with people I have never met, a chance to see just what I can do. Think of something new as an opportunity for change, but see it as inviting positive change into your life and not the negative aspects you have overthought in your head that will probably not happen.

Second, embrace the uncertainty. Before we start something new, there is a small period of hesitancy that naturally comes with trying something new. It is normal, and you need to understand that. You need to accept that you might not know what’s to come, and that is okay. No one expects you to know how to do everything right from the start. We are not born knowing everything and nor are expected to know how to navigate new opportunities in our lives. It is okay not to know what will happen.

By accepting that you don’t know what’s come, you are allowing yourself the chance to take a breath and start something new in a way that is open and shows you are willing to open. When we don’t know anything, the best way to change that is to approach it with a willingness to learn. We can only do that once we accept that the circumstances surrounding the situation might be uncertain, but you are willing to learn.

Third, just dive right in. Starting something new often feels like standing on the tip of the diving board in a pool. It’s scary, but once we just take a deep breath and jump in, it turns out that it isn’t so bad after all. Take a deep breath, have some faith in yourself, and just dive right into it.

Show Up For Yourself

Show Up For Yourself

Last week, I was on a blissful high – I was happy, motivated, energized and springing out of bed in the morning. This week however, I can barely get myself to crawl out of bed in the morning. I feel unmotivated, tired, sad, and spaced out. What changed between last week and this week? I spent a few hours this morning racking my brain trying to understand what had changed. Then it dawned on me, I wasn’t showing up for myself.

I wasn’t doing the things I know I need to do to be the best and happiest version of myself.

I wasn’t moving my body, even though I knew it benefitted my mental and physical health in a lot of ways.

I wasn’t creating a balance in my schedule between work things and things that brought me joy.

I wasn’t eating food that fueled my body.

In short, I wasn’t showing up for myself like I had the week before. I knew very well how I would feel if I decided to do what was good for me, but I still didn’t do it. Why? Because I decided that not doing those things was the easier option. Maybe it was in the short-term, but in the long-term it just made me feel worse.

 Showing up for yourself is a decision you have to make every single morning. You have to decide to take care of yourself, to do what you love when you can, to eat whatever makes you feel best. You have to choose to be the best version of yourself – it doesn’t just happen to you.

When you want something, you have to actively go after it. You need to get the ball rolling if you will, or else nothing will happen. If you want to be happier, live a more authentic life or just be more present in the one you have, then you need practice every single day. You have to make choices that will lead you to that lifestyle that you want.

I challenge you to try and show up for yourself, because when you do, I can guarantee you that you will feel a whole lot better.

Start by analyzing the habits and routines that make you feel best and choose to stick to them.  A big part of this is you choosing to prioritize what makes you happy over everything else. Obviously, this is not always possible, but you have to choose to find even 5 minutes in your week to show up for yourself. 

Take A Step Back

Take A Step Back

I can’t tell you how many times I have found myself racing through life, concerned about how busy I was and what the next goal was that I had to accomplish. I felt as if I didn’t check things off a list or look extremely busy to the point of burnout, then I would be seen as lazy and a failure. In hindsight, the negative self-talk and pressure I used to put on myself to perform were harsh and unnecessary. But it was all I knew, and the thought of taking a step back and trying to grasp what I was doing just seemed like another way I could procrastinate.

Only now, after slowing down my life because of the pandemic have I come to understand and appreciate the simple concept of taking a step back. Yes, the world will go on, but that doesn’t mean you will fall off the bandwagon for taking a few moments to step back and see your life from a different perspective.

It has been beyond a rough year for me, and a lot of it was due to me clinging on to these ideas that no longer aligned with who I was or what I wanted from my life. I had convinced myself that following one specific path was the solution to all my problems, how I would become successful and make money. The truth is that the path had ended, and I didn’t even know. Around the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021, as I was getting ready to finish my university degree, I started on the classic post-grad job hunt. I had it stuck in my head that I needed to work a specific job in order to be happy.

That specific job wasn’t a bad one – it could have been a great job if it had made me happy and was what I wanted. But I had lost my way and was forgetting the previous experience I had had in a role similar to that job. I fully forgot about the many experiences in that job that made me so unhappy. I had trained myself to forget about those experiences to keep pushing forward and make it seem like I had a plan. It felt good to tell people exactly what I wanted to do after I graduated. Except for the fact that it wasn’t what I wanted to do at all.

Giving myself the time and patience to take a step back and re-evaluate my life was one of the best decisions I ever made. Here are a few things I did that you could do whenever you want:

1)      Stop doom scrolling through job sites or the internet in general

I was constantly checking any job site you can think of. I was doing everything “right”, but I wasn’t doing what was right for me. Because no matter how many job postings I searched or replied to, absolutely none seemed even remotely interesting. At the end of January, I decided to clear my search history on these job sites and overall, not look at them for a few weeks. From January to early March, I very rarely looked at a job posting.

2)      Evaluate how you feel right now

I was feeling unmotivated, disappointed, fatigued and exhausted from trying to carry on in this life as if everything was sunshine and rainbows. After a family thing happened, I felt nothing but numb and I finally gave in to all that I had been feeling for months at this point. I was so unhappy with my life, anxious about what would come and confused about which direction to go.

One night, I was reflecting on the past two years of my life when suddenly it was like I had unlocked memories that I had kept hidden. It dawned on me that I already experienced the life I thought I wanted – and quite frankly I hated it. That time in my life was filled with depressive episodes, an abnormal amount of crying and a constant state of sadness. Why was running back to that?

3)      Accepting that you don’t know what you want

After realizing that the path I was working towards had ended and taking that very necessary step back I was essentially starting back at square one. In a way, I felt hopeless and like a failure, but I just gave myself time. I let myself sit in this period of not knowing, and I stopped forcing myself to create a life that I didn’t want.

4)      Opening yourself up to new opportunities

At the beginning of March, I sent an email to someone and a few weeks later I would end up doing something with my life that made me happy.

Now I don’t think you should take a step back and never go back into the arena. Breaks and pauses are meant to be temporary, but eventually, you will start to feel a lot better, and you will know when it’s time to get back at it. But when you do, you will have a much clearer vision or at least a semblance of an idea of the kind of life you want to live.

Allow yourself to pause, take a step back, re-evaluate and sit in the unknown for a bit. It’s essentially allowing yourself to recharge and reset – something we should all be doing a bit more often.

Figure Out Who You Are & What You Want

Figure Out Who You Are & What You Want

Do you ever find that your goals never pan out? Do you find yourself unmotivated after the excitement wears off? Then this post might be for you.

Today, I don’t want to focus on creating our goals, instead, I want to help you build a solid foundation for your goals and dreams, and that all starts with understanding who you are and who you want to become. When we create goals with no solid foundation, we set ourselves up to fail in a way. The truth is, the excitement and motivation will run out; but if you have created goals that align with who you are and who you want to become, then you can keep working towards those goals even when it gets challenging.  

Before you start building your goals, take the time to understand who you want to become. I find that the easiest way to go about this is by journaling. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated just grab a pen and a piece of paper and start writing. Write about anything that comes to your mind and what you want out of life and who you want to become.

For those of you who might need a bit of guidance, here are some journaling prompts I used after I did my free write, to structure out my ideas and see them more clearly:

  • Are you happy right now? If so, what makes you happy? If not, what makes you unhappy?
  • Is there anything you would change in your life right at this moment?
  • Who do you want to become? What does the best version of yourself do? What habits do they have? What kind of person are they?
  • Are you still the same person you were a few years ago? How have you changed? Have you changed at all?
  • What kind of lifestyle do you want to be living?

Embracing Our Complexity

Embracing Our Complexity

Do you ever feel constrained by society? Do you ever feel trapped inside one box that you can’t ever get out of? Do you ever feel like there is so much more you want to explore and are interested in but you can’t? Chances are, you are not alone in feeling this.

Society has a way of ensuring that you stay in one lane or path for a very long time, and diverging from it can cause some strong reactions both from those around you and society in general.

There are so many things that we are constrained by, and I never understood why. From a personal standpoint, I feel as if I cannot like makeup and also be a woman who argues about politics. I feel like I can’t enjoy baking and be someone who loves to study history and read books. It’s as if anytime I try to break out from the one box or thing I am suddenly faced with a heavy dose of criticism. The truth of the matter is society has not yet evolved to understand this idea that we are more than the one thing they label us as.

The only conclusion I can render as to why society functions that way is because it’s simpler. It’s simpler to see someone and immediately be able to categorize them into one box, even though there isn’t a single human on this planet who is that simple.

So, I am here to remind you that you can love more than one thing. You can love sports and makeup. You can enjoy dancing and be an electrician. You can enjoy the piano and still attend rock concerts. You can be multifaceted.

Categorizing people under this one thing harms the beauty and complexity of what it means to be human. It strips us of this ability to embrace the different aspects of ourselves and trains us not to see that complexity in others.

However, things don’t have to be this way. We don’t have to just love one thing or fit it into one box. We were never meant to be on one path and only do that one thing; We were meant to grow, change, learn and explore anything and everything that piques our interest.

It’s okay to love more than one thing. To be interested in more than one thing should be seen as an opportunity, not something to be looked down upon because it might require a few extra seconds to wrap your mind around it.

For a long time, I thought I couldn’t blog about life, organization and motivation because I was studying political science. I thought I could not love makeup because I loved to read; I believed I couldn’t care about my appearance because I was a feminist. But the truth is, you can do everything and anything you want. I came to understand that in this world, I could blog, study politics, care about my appearance, be a feminist and still spend hours watching makeup videos for fun. I have come to understand that life is so much more complex than society makes it out to be and that you are allowed to be as complex as you want to be. It is not up to anyone else to constrain you to one thing you can love everything and anything – it seems complicated but choosing to embrace every part of who you are is one of the most relieving and beautiful things you can ever do.