In a world where other people’s success is constantly amplified via social media, you can’t help but feel a bit inadequate. Are you achieving enough? Do you have enough? Your journey does not feel yours alone, but you’re in a race with everyone else – which can be detrimental to your personal journey, if you’re not careful. Navigating the 21st century scene is much more complex than anyone growing up in the 90s could have expected.
So what do you do you to start accomplishing your goals, instead of constantly living in your head about all the things you wish you could get done – as you watch people living their best life on social media?
If you are lucky enough to live in a time, place and space where you have access to opportunity, that potential for opportunity can feel overwhelming. It’s the feeling I get when I drive into New York City – endless opportunity – but those feelings of opportunity can quickly turn into frustration if you don’t know where, or how to begin.
Navigating that sense of opportunity, but not necessarily being able to identify how to grasp it is amplified if you are a person of firsts. The first in your family to graduate ________, the first in your family to become ______, the first in your family to _______. It’s a bit tougher because there really isn’t a precedence to look upon for guidance and that can feel a bit overwhelming. Throughout my own journey, I often thought it would have been so much better if someone simply told me what to do! Although that may have been easier in theory it would not have necessarily been the best option in fulfilling my purpose.
Clarify Your Dreams
It is particularly hard to access opportunity if you are not clear on what it is you want to actually accomplish. What is the “dream”? Your dream is not an intangible element floating somewhere in the sky, the dream is within you. It is the nagging voice inside that won’t leave you alone. Listen to it.
As an educator, I feel like I am living my purpose everyday. My happiness is in seeking knowledge and encouraging others along their journey. However, there is that constant tug within me to create, as a “creative” if I do not partake in my craft – writing, I do feel like my soul needs to be nourished, which brings me back to the keyboard.
But what happens when you’re stuck? When you don’t know what to do or how to proceed? I’ve consistently fallen back on what I’ve termed “processing”. Here is what processing has looked like for me when I’ve entered phases of feeling stuck:
- Talking it out with a trusted friend. Processing involves talking through the obstacles you’re facing with someone you trust. As you talk through things, you may encounter a new idea you hadn’t thought about before, and said trusted friend may offer a new perspective. Often time, perspective is blurred when you are caught up in the midst of a struggle, seeing it through fresh eyes is helpful. Simply getting it out of your system is refreshing and will leave room for a different energy to flow within you.
- Remove toxic relationships from of your life. Although this is a statement repeated in our pop culture, anyone who has dealt with this scenario understands it is more complicated than a tagline or inspirational quote. What happens when that individual is someone you love, someone connected by blood and therefore obligated by the command of God? What happens when you might feel like you may have contributed to the toxicity of the relationship? Toxic relationships hinder our ability to create, to move forward – and even after you think you’ve put an end to it the weight and possible trauma of ending toxic relationships are very real. However, I will say in order to function, to have the capacity to take care of the responsibility you have to yourself and be able to obtain clarity in your own life – and clarify your dreams- you must remove toxins from your sphere and make peace with it as best as possible.
- Simply move in the direction of your dreams. One step at a time, without looking at who is next to you, who is doing better than you, simply move in the direction of your dreams. This might look like going back to school, taking an extra class, starting your own website, networking, asking for advice on how to start. Moving in the direction of your dreams translates into taking action.
Amplify Your Duaa
Once you start taking action, amplify the duaa, or prayer. Center your energy on the notion that there is a higher Being in control of the direction and scope of your journey. I have time and again been disappointed in either myself or others because, quite simply we are human, by default our capacity to deliver is limited. However, I remind myself of the one Being that is incapable of failing and that is “Al-Khaaliq”, or the Creator, the one who brings everything from non-existence to existence.
What a humbling reminder that there is a force so much more powerful than ourselves, capable of bringing into existence all that did not exist prior.