You have to possess an '...obsessive, non-stop, improving, evolving character' in order to achieve success
-Ben Gorham of Byredo
It's hard to admit to yourself that you're stuck.
To admit when you've stopped developing, stopped challenging yourself, stopped chasing and stopped growing.
In the past few years, I got myself to a point where I was letting my anxiety and my fear get the better of me and stop me from moving out of my comfort zone. Honestly it's been like that for most of my life and I've been fooling myself into thinking that fighting for comfortable in all aspects of life was the goal.
You know that saying that nothing will get better if you stay in your comfort zone? It was a saying that I stubbornly spent years not wanting to believe. I was so anxious and unhappy that I spent all of my time trying to fight for a comfortable happy place in life. I ended up being scared of pushing myself to do things that were new. It frightened me beyond belief rushing into the unknown, pushing myself away from what I thought made me happy, and as a result, I kind of clammed up and stopped trying new things. I hated trying new things.
I stopped enjoying life properly because of it.
I wasn't happy.
I was stuck in my work, stuck in my personal life, and not really evolving as a human being. It's miserable being scared and trying to cling to your comfort zone all the time. Demoralising seeing people around you doing all this cool stuff. Heartbreaking not being brave enough to go after the things that will bring your dream life closer to you.
I turned 24 last month and I realised I was done. I wasn't about to be 25 and be in the same place I was several years ago. I was over being stuck and unhappy. I decided that 24 was the year I was going to change shit.
And I did.
I started properly working out again for the first time in a long time, saying fuck it to my back issues and trying to do the stuff I loved doing that I was too scared to do for fear of throwing my back out. You know what happened? My muscles started getting stronger, I was generally happier and my back was getting stretched out properly. I might have pushed it too far every once in a while, but I'm learning what too far is and how to avoid it. I'm soooo much happier knowing my body can do these things again instead of feeling trapped in an endless cycle inside a broken body that wouldn't stop hurting. And gaining weight because of it, further destroying my self confidence.
I went out of the country for the first time. Yes, I'm serious.
My family never travelled overseas while I was growing up. Mum didn't like travelling and Dad did so much for work he didn't really want to push her on it. I started going on planes to Wellington for work a year ago but didn't leave the country until recently. And I was so nervous. But it was awesome. I love flying, and was upset when it was over. I loved exploring somewhere new, eating at aaaaaalllll the restaurants, seeing things you've only ever heard about online. I grew a little bit on that trip, learning how to deal with customs and border securtiy, that the Australian Border Force, (note the FORCE, not security, it's all in the name), are dicks, and what happens when a flight is cancelled. I'm ready to travel more and the idea doesn't scare me as much as it used to. BECAUSE I PUSHED MYSELF TO DO IT and the first time I did it MY FLIGHT HOME WAS CANCELLED. And I got through it fine. Growth.
And then my dating life, or lack thereof, needed to be dealt with. I haven't really dated anyone in a while, and never had a proper relationship. I wanted to work on my self-confidence and who I was before bringing someone else into that equation, which is still true and very valid. Being single for so long I've learnt watching others that you can't find validation in who you are from other people, you have to love who you are in order to fully let others in and love them back. But in all of this, I found myself actually not dating because the older I got and the longer I didn't, the more scared and anxious I got about the prospect of opening up to new people and being vulnerable. To get myself out of that, I finally relented and let my friends set up Tinder for me and in the span of a few weeks or so I've learnt a lot. At the very least it's opened me up to meeting new people, and that alone was a hurdle and a fucking half.
And work! The biggest thing I've been stuck in and the most frustrating from a self worth point of view is my work. I set out to grow a business with Samand it wasn't growing because I wasn’t. I've been too scared to create interactions with people saying 'hey i'm bomb, work with me'. Not confident enough in myself or my work to support it. And fuck me I'm done with it. I know I have a lot to learn, and I know that where I will be skills wise in just a year for now is unfathomable to me right now, but I am going to fight for how good I am now and work on creating the empire I dream of. Because I am good enough and I believe in what Sam and I can do together, and what we can create for other people and this is what I'm meant to be doing right now. Things just falls too perfectly into place every time for it not to be.
In line with not thinking i'm worthy, i've been too scared to learn new things and learn the skills I need to get better. I hate being bad at things, and I hate even more showing other people the bad versions of what i'm trying to get good at. I decided in the past few months I was going to embrace being bad at stuff, to embrace the beginners mindset, AND ITS FUCKING CRINGE STILL BUT SO LIBERATING. So I've made it my mission to grow as a creative, to learn everything I can as fast as I can to make me better, to make my business better, to make it so I can help Sam with his work better, to make me a better photographer, videographer and to push my career in the direction I know it can go.
I started vlogging finally to help me learn video editing. And the cherry on top of learning a valuable skill is that I'm going to be a youtuber. After years of dreaming about it I am going to upload youtube videos and contribute to a community that has literally helped me out of some of the darkest and saddest moments in my life. I've spent 10 years wanting to be part of that community and even if I never get any subscribers other than the people I know I will be happy knowing that i'm contributing to the platform I've always loved. Plus it's going to help me grow as an editor and a videographer, which is fucking dope. I just need to start editing and uploading.
At its essence, I'm just stopping myself from holding back. Trying so hard to not let that little voice in my head tell me i'm not good enough, pretty enough or talented enough. I have been so closed off trying to protect myself from criticism that will further fuel that voice, but I'm so done letting it win and done waiting for other people to negate those thoughts in my head for me. And I know this is one of the most cliche ideas out right now, but it's so on point with what this time of my life is about for me. Doing right by me and actually working and fighting for the life that I want for myself. Fighting for my happiness, embracing the scary stuff and shaking things up. Because i'm going nowhere if I don't.
But this growth, and me working on growing my business, was always the whole premise of this blog and I want my youtube channel to be. I always wanted my online presence as a human to be sharing that journey in the hopes that someone else would be able to relate and take something from that. That we could all help each other grow and support each other. That I can leave behind a trail for people that clearly outlines my journey as it happens so in 5 years time, 10 years time, the accounts of my growing as a brand are there for people to see instead of me recounting them from the slightly jaded perspective in the future having achieved what I hope to.
Someone said at In Focus last year 'don't compare your back end to someone else's front end'. Sam and I might joke about how it’s pretty dirty with the wrong mindset, but the premise of it stuck with me. I want my back end, for lack of a better word, to be here for people to find so that they can know that it existed. There is something open and honest about that and I think that's part of the legacy I want to leave.