A creative and inspirational blog dedicated to busy and burnt out creative entrepreneurs.
Life moves at such an interesting pace. So quickly nowadays. Information moves faster, we move faster, sometimes not even peeking up from under the visor of our everyday routine, shrouding us in more of the same.
And we wonder why we aren’t happy.
I went to get groceries today. I went down the same aisles, dropping the same foods in my cart, without even looking up to meet another eye of a human other than the cashier.
Head down, keep moving.
Zipping from one end of the store to the other, having forgotten certain items that never made it to my actual list but popped up in the moment.
Head down, keep moving.
Dragging plastic bag after plastic bag from the cart to my car and running to drop the cart in the right place where they’re collected, thank you very much.
Head down, keep moving.
Loading as many bags as I can onto my arms when I get home—sometimes 8 at a time—from my car into the house, winding around an overly eager pup’s squeals.
Head down, keep moving.
And then I started putting the food into the fridge, which had to be put on pause because I hadn’t emptied the fridge of leftovers and such for over two weeks, and there was no waiting for that.
I grabbed a new garbage bag from under the sink. I knew the garbage was already a bit too full for what I’d need.
Head down, keep moving.
I started grabbing plastic fruit bins and tossing them into the bag. Some leftovers were too far gone to even care about the completely reusable plastic tupperware containers they were stored in.
So I just tossed those into the garbage bag too—I have plenty more.
Head down, keep moving.
I found some spoiled yogurt, grabbed it, and looked down at the bag’s bulging sides, tossing it in and turning back to the fridge.
Head down, — wait.
I looked back at the bag.
I not only threw away a ridiculous amount of plastic without even really…noticing, but I also wasted a lot of food. There was a large container of meat that I made and just…didn’t want to eat for several days, a bowl of at least 3 more serving sizes (maybe 2) of mixed salad.
A bowl of rice with beef and onion from two weeks ago when I ordered chinese food.
Several pieces of fruit from the bin on my counter.
And I didn’t even realize I was wasting so much.
Because the truth is that I do care about the environment. I care about wasting food, and I had in fact told someone close to me that I was making an effort to waste less food not two weeks before today.
But I was throwing away a big bag full of it.
I hadn’t even been paying attention.
I move move move, so quickly, all the time, that I don’t even realize that I am not living up to who I really want to be—to who I truly am.
And I can’t help but think a lot of the rest of the world is probably doing the same thing.
Who would we be if we just…paid attention?
If we caught ourselves in the moment of awareness and stopped ourselves from doing something that was against our morals or values or even just our goals?
If we instead chose what we wanted, intentionally, and lived up to that?
Who could we be?
So many self-proclaimed “experts” have touted this advice as the holy grail when it comes to any achievement in life—namely, theirs.
“Just believe in yourself,” they say, like it’s as simple as just washing your hands, or changing a shirt. What they don’t tell you is that this very thing is more like changing your lifestyle from that of sedentary to an active one.
Or even like changing your diet for a healthier version, cutting the crap cold turkey (which we all know is the wrong way to make real change).
That is to say…it seems easy at first, like it’s a quick fix, something that you can flip a switch and make it all better.
You realize that you’re not really believing in yourself, but just pretending to, and that believing in yourself means there is a fundamental shift in how you view yourself and your position in this life. And that shit is hard. It doesn’t happen automatically, but you don’t know how.
How do you go from someone who doubts and makes excuses to the person who can stand up and be who you truly want?
Because in order to get where you’re going—no matter where it is—you have to actually believe you can make it.
I have such a problem with the people who tell us to believe in ourselves after they themselves had a hand in pulling us down. Little did we realize before…but since we were only in the single digits, we were being groomed to do the very opposite.
Imagine you are 5-years-old again. You just hurried in the door to your mom/dad/guardians after a day filled with activities of learning about different professions and what you could be when you grow up.
And of course your parents are delighted to ask, repeatedly, every other day at least during your kindergarten year, “what do you want to be when you grow up?”
It was a simple question, so we thought when we were kids. It required a very simple answer. Usually something “honorable” or lofty, something your parents would “aww” about and talk about how proud they were that you wished to be that.
And when we answered with, “A doctor!”, “A marine biologist!”, “An actor!”, our parents cooed and cawed over us, telling us that’s exactly what we could be, their eyes alight and smiles bright.
The next year seemed similar, and maybe the one after that.
Your answer did too, for the most part, maybe rotating between a few dream careers you were proud to want to do, the ones that still sounded cool. And the light in your eyes grew each time the adult approved of your grand plan.
But soon, the same question would be asked again, and your same answer would be given, but those same wide excited eyes would start to fall after bearing witness to furrowed brows sinking further into the sideways glances of those adults as each year went by.
Until eventually, we learn to provide answers that receive a nod and maybe a “neat”, something—anything—absent of judging eyes that made us burn inside when we voiced the silly little cute career our childhood selves dreamed of.
This is how, as children, we learn to let other people’s limiting beliefs replace the belief we had in ourselves.
We were taught to stop believing in ourselves. We were taught that when our dreams get big and “difficult to achieve,” that it’s already out of reach.
Is it really their fault, though? They were taught the same, and the people before them. We’ve all been conditioned to be creative and wild and completely out-of-the-box when we’re small, but eventually we have to be “appropriate” and for some reason, that means we have to conform to some sort of “norm” that really doesn’t exist.
So instead of the idea of starting to believe in yourself, it’s more about unlearning how to NOT believe in yourself.
Because believing in ourselves is innate. We’re born without the self-doubt, without the thoughts that run rampant in attempt to slow us down, keep us “safe.”
When we begin to learn to walk, we don’t sit there doubting or over thinking. We pull ourselves up, and take a step, fully believing we can make it happen. And when we fall down, we repeat the same process: pull ourselves up, take a step, fall. Pull ourselves up, take two steps, fall. Pull ourselves up…until we can successfully walk to our parents, their full support and cheers of glee yanking us forward.
It’s easier then, because we don’t know how to doubt our belief in ourselves.
But when we grow, this learned behavior punctuates the light with shades of darkness that turn dreams into nightmares, something inspiring to something we fear.
Okay, okay. Enough about the what. You know here at Own Your Ordinary, we dive into the how to instead of just spouting information at you like so many people do, you can actually implement it so you can learn and grow—we can learn and grow.
So how do you go about unlearning this behavior, getting rid of the self-doubt and adopted limiting beliefs that are holding you back?
Most people can find that they often have 2 voices in their heads—2 versions of themselves. One is the voice inside their head that just speaks up at all times, the observer who comments on life.
The other is their conscious voice, the one they can control, the one they can feel as themselves.
There’s a book I read called The Untethered Soul and it often talks about the difference between you and your thoughts and observations (highly recommend checking it out).
The point is, you can influence that automatic voice inside your head, the non-conscious one, the one that often controls your conscious mind as well. When you use your conscious voice to evaluate those other thoughts, you’re able to shut them down and silence them.
Simply observing those thoughts and then responding with your conscious mind with the truth, can help you see how vastly wrong your thoughts can be.
Here’s an example of one I have often:
Who am I to even talk about this stuff? So many more people have had it worse. Nobody will take me seriously, or worse, they’ll think I’m full of myself.
Conscious mind self-talk:
But…just because other people have had it worse doesn’t take away from my experiences, or the things I’ve learned. And…who cares if “nobody” takes me seriously? Those people are not my audience, they’re not for me anyway. I’m not full of myself because my heart is in this to help other people, and I know where my intentions lie. Who cares if other people don’t or misinterpret? They’re either not for me, or they’ll come around after realizing I’m authentic.
It can feel silly to do this. I recommend writing this stuff in a journal (this is my favorite one, simple, classic). You can really just do exactly what I did above and write down your fear or what your self-talk is saying, and then you can respond to it with your conscious thoughts.
^ This method also works great for other mindset-related things like insecurities or any negative emotions.
This one is all about pulling your emotional brain out and filling it with logic. It’s about recognizing those limiting beliefs when they appear, and challenging where they came from.
You spend a lot of time around a specific person who uses a phrase repeatedly, one you even find annoying.
After a little while, you start using that phrase over and over again, to the point that your other friends/family start to tell you how annoying it is.
This triggers you to go, “where did I get that from?” or even “Damn! I must’ve picked it up.” And because you’ve recognized that you do it, you now pay attention whenever the opportunity to say it comes up, and you choose not to.
This is the same thing with limiting beliefs and learning to believe in yourself.
Sometimes, you have to spot where that lack of belief came from in order to shut it down.
An example of this for me is when my grandmother used to say I would never get anywhere without going to college. I held this belief myself for a long time, even planning and writing essays to apply to schools that I knew, deep down, I didn’t want to go to.
But because I held that belief, that was the only way.
Then, one day, I was talking to someone and said “well my grandma says…” and then realized…why am I living my life according to a woman I only see a few times a year? That belief is hers, it’s not mine.
And that set me down a path that allowed me to create the life I truly wanted, one I love to live.
So get into the habit of stopping yourself whenever those limiting beliefs come up, whenever you find your mind wandering to, “I can’t do this,” stop and ask “when did I learn to believe that?”
And watch your perception change.
Specifically, talk to the people closest to you, who see you as you truly are and not the person you’ve been conditioned to see yourself as. Yes, this can get difficult if they’re the wrong people…
Meaning, if the people around you are full of limiting beliefs themselves and don’t think you can do things or believe in yourself, they’re not going to help this.
The good people in your life—the ones who are truly there for you and to see you succeed—will help you see yourself in the light you need to in order to accomplish your goals.
Open up to them and explain what you want, who you want to be, and what you think is getting in the way. More often than not (if they’re good people), they’ll tell you how silly our worries are and that you’re more than capable of making it happen.
Sometimes, because we’ve learned from other people to not believe in ourselves, it takes the words of other people to help us get there.
I hope these tips helped! Overall, it’s a lot of self-work. You have to be willing to get vulnerable with yourself, admit your worries and insecurities, and work toward remedying them the best way you can.
THEN, you’ll start to believe in yourself.
Success is such an interesting concept.
Everyone wants to figure out how to know if you’re successful because we base so much of your self-worth on it but the thing is, it’s kind of inconsequential.
I’ve been doing a ton of thinking about how to know if you’re successful lately and what really defines “success” in the first place.
At 25-years-old, it’s easy for me to think I should be successful by now. I’m in my mid-20s, have a solid job, rent a house with my dog and cat.
Is that being successful?
Or is that simply a step toward getting there?
If you’re like me, which you probably are if you’re reading this, you’re curious about success and are probably stuck with figuring out if you’re successful in life…
Or if you’re simply letting life go by.
I’m here to help with that. While I don’t have all the answers, I think my unique life has set me up to better understand the concept of success, and I’m gonna break it down for you best I can.
Here’s what I’ll cover for how to be successful:
The definition of “successful” is: having achieved popularity, profit, or distinction.
The “having achieved” makes me picture a very significant moment in our lives that’ll somehow make us successful.
But that’s just…not a reality.
Because what this makes us do is compare our own success to some influencer we follow on Instagram or to some standard our parents or grandparents set.
Which is awful because Instagram, or any social media really, is such a fucked up, curated display of someone’s life and just doesn’t show the real shit it took to make that feed what it is.
A lot of people might look at my life from the outside and see it as successful. Especially when you take a look at my past and childhood.
I come from a family of 6 kids (8 in the summers and holidays with step siblings). It was hectic. There was a lot of yelling, not to mention the drinking and other shit that contributed to the trauma.
It wasn’t exactly a …traditional family. I didn’t go to college.
And by those measures, people might look at what I’ve done with my life, created a career for myself, making nearly 6 figures at 25, and say that’s successful.
My own measure? It’s much less relaxed than that.
I couldn’t figure out what success meant to me. But I certainly didn’t feel successful. So I had to do some digging and really sit myself down and figure out what success means to me.
In fact, I personally believe success is more about your journey and overall life than it is any single achievement.
A friend of mine wrote an article about how he defines success and it really got me thinking about it for myself. I hadn’t really thought about if I thought my life was successful much until I read his own thoughts on the matter.
Then it got me wondering about how to know if you’re successful. What moment in your life helps you determine if you’ve found success or not?
Instead of digging through the chaos of my brain and trying to divulge the very moments that contributed to my potential success, I decided to think about what success is and how I’d personally define it.
And this is what I came up with for me.
(If you’re following along, comment some of your definitions of success and what you agree/disagree with!)
If you’re here for a “quick” win…aka: a key, there simply isn’t one.
“But Bella! You have a section titled the ‘key’ to success!”
Yeah yeah, I’m aware. And I do have a very important key piece of advice in this regard. Something that’s going to change how you read the rest of this article, and hopefully every other piece of “success” advice…
There is no singular thing you can do, be, or say in order to be successful. It’s not a formula someone can take and replicate in order to magically become successful the next day…
There’s just something about successful people and the way they think that puts them a step above others at times.
We can ask them all we want but the truth is, some successful people don’t even know what makes them unique.
Instead, we’ve got to look at them from afar and determine what those key qualities are. You can watch all the Gary V videos and listen to all his podcasts but the truth is, even Gary V doesn’t really know what makes him tick.
(I personally think Gary V has a complex created as a young child, being an immigrant, trying to fit in. It instills this “winning” mindset and attitude he talks about so much, but we’ll save that psychoanalysis for another time.)
Here are a few key qualities I’ve seen in them that I think sets them apart. Understanding these things can help us adopt them and tailor them for ourselves, even.
Again, these aren’t “necessary” in order to be successful, but they sure help a hell of a lot.
I think one of the biggest flaws in the U.S. education system is that we don’t prioritize teaching children how to think for themselves, develop their own opinions, and formulate what you want in life.
School and our childhoods are so deeply built around getting good grades and going to college that most people I talk to have no idea what they want.
The first thing you have to change is how you think about your life.
What are areas you’re working to improve? What is it do you really want by doing that?
Let’s use working out as an example. Firstly, do you want to work out? Why does doing that make you successful? And what is the result you want out of working out?
If I want to work out in order to get shredded, my measure of success will be so different than if I just want to exercise to nurture my body.
The former will require a much higher level of commitment, hard work, and alterations to other areas of my life—like my diet, everyday habits, and more.
Whereas simply working out to nurture my body really only requires being active and pushing my body.
So you have to know what you really want and think about that often, as it can evolve overtime—and if you don’t change your habits with it, you’ll wake up and find that you just…don’t feel successful.
This can be hard.
Some people are born with a great support system. Not all of us can be so lucky, and we usually end up with friends who also fall short in this department.
“Friends,” I should say.
In a good way! And I know what you’re probably thinking, “Yeah yeah, Bella. Cut out the toxic people, we know.”
But it’s not just that. The little stat about you being the sum of the people ou spend the most time with is so true. I’ve experienced it, and here’s how it changed me…
I joined Self-Publishing School for work in June 2018, working part time to start, full-time come the following January 2019.
I really wanted this job. I really really wanted it. I worked my ass of on those interviews and made sure to stand out. And I got a job!
The team at Self-Publishing School is comprised of high achievers, positivity, and people focused on bettering the world and themselves. As you can imagine, working with those people and in that environment 5 days of the week really changes you.
There’s never been a time where I was so happy and fulfilled and working toward bettering my life, even more.
Since joining that job, I ended a relationship that was long overdue for it, lived 6 months in Florida (from Wisconsin!), moved to Colorado (where I am now!), have made more progress toward bettering my life from a mental and physical standpoint than ever before.
And it’s because of the support and environment I’ve been in.
This doesn’t mean you have to ditch all your friends and revamp your support system. It could be great already. Maybe all you need is to have a conversation with a close friend or family member about being there for you more.
But sometimes, you do have to make a major, painful change.
It’s worth it.
This is probably the hardest part of success—and really happiness—in life.
We’ve been so hardwired to care what people think that when the time comes to actually be yourself and go after what you want, we’re plagued with thoughts about what everyone else will think about it and us.
Even as I’m writing this, I’m insecure about building my social following because I don’t want people to think I’m trying to be an “influencer” on Instagram or any of that.
But the thing is…
Why shouldn’t that be the goal? That’s what I want, right? To influence people in a positive way. And that means growing my following.
In short, it doesn’t.
Humans are designed to care about what people think. We’re pack animals. We want to fit in and have a place and therefore, we have to think about other people.
At least we used to have to be this way.
That was thousands of years ago when we were evolving and needed to stick in a pack to survive.
But times have changed and now, more than ever, caring about what other people think of your goals and aspirations is toxic…and killing your chances of success (but really, of happiness as a whole).
At least not what people they don’t know or care about think. Because let’s be real, what your family and close friends think is important to a point.
But the fact is: you have to ignore what other people think and focus on why you’re doing what you’re doing. Remembering your why will always point you to the right move, regardless of what other people think.
Speaking of whys! This is so so so important!
And I mean the real reason, the one that matters. Because honestly, I could say that I started this blog to make some extra income. Which isn’t untrue…but the real reason I do this is…
I didn’t have this type of guidance when I was younger, and I worked really hard to figure a lot of this stuff out by myself.
I just wanted this to be a place other people can learn and grow from, a place where they can get the guidance I never had in order to change their life for the better sooner.
And if I’m being really honest…I want my little sisters to change their lives from this.
If you live with constant reminders of your why, you’ll find it’s a lot easier to keep going, even when times get tough.
I personally have my whys printed and framed next to my desk, so I can’t really forget on a day to day basis.
Not to be the best.
This is the difference. Some people try to be the best and this usually results in a short period of a ton of success, followed by unhappiness and self-loathing.
Because they’re constantly comparing themselves to whoever they see as “the best” currently.
So I challenge you to adopt the mentality of truly successful people and focus on being better, not to be the best.
And the only person you should be comparing yourself to is…
I do want to caution that doing this too much can form unhealthy mindset related to your own self-confidence.
This is also a great way to stop caring about what other people think because you’re not thinking about them. You’re thinking about you.
How can you be better today than you were yesterday?
What is a goal today to help you reach that?
Where do you want to be in 3 years, 5, 10, and more? And how can you work to be better than you were before in order to get there?
These questions can seem simple, and I know you already know that you should only compare yourself to who you were yesterday, but it’s often harder than we think.
Even as I write this, I’m thinking of all the other sites and people trying to do what I am here, and it makes me feel kind of shitty.
They already have an established audience, website authority, and even products.
But the truth is…none of them is me. None of them have my experience to draw from in order to help or to write. And that’s what I focus on.
How can I use my past in order to help and better my future?
That’s what you should focus on as well, if you want to be successful in life, that is.
So…I don’t have all the answers. I’ll make that plan and simple right now.
But I did go from a traumatic childhood to a happy, healthy, and successful life by my measures.
It wasn’t easy, but I’ve learned a lot in the past 5 years as I’ve grown into who I am and what I want in life.
And I’m sharing those things with you now.
Here’s how to be successful…
I was always the kid who would sit around thinking about the meaning and purpose of life.
These questions used to bother me into depression. I never had the answers and the more I thought about it, the more confusing it all became.
But then I had sort of a…revelation of sorts. While high on marijuana, of course. Because that shit is so useful for open-mindedness and conceptual thinking.
There is no answer unless you create what. Which means life is really up to you and what you want. Your “success” in life is dependent on what you define your life to be.
Which means you have to think of a purpose. What is your reason for being and living this life of yours?
For me, it’s to help people. Which sounds broad, because it is. I enjoy helping people in really any way, and doing so makes me happy and feel successful.
But as I write this, my definition has expanded to helping people who have suffered as a child or have been held back by their childhood.
That to me means everything.
What is it for you?
I know this is a huge question, and you likely won’t have the answer in a split second, but you’ll get there.
Here are some questions to discover what that means for you:
Take the time to write those answers down and you’ll likely discover there’s a pattern to them. This is likely your purpose.
And that purpose can become more clear and “sharper” as you discover and develop it.
I’m used to be probably one of the worst people with this.
It used to be so hard for me to forget yesterday and start today like it’s brand new. But you need to.
But if you want to be successful in life, you have to start letting go of past grievances, embarrassment, an anxieties that follow you around.
Because whatever happened before shouldn’t dictate today.
It’s easier said than done, but what’s helpful for me is just writing the shit down at night. I have a journal that I just write stream-of-conscious style before bed.
It allows me to get out frustrations and anxieties quickly and in a way that shows me how silly they can be sometimes.
This isn’t to say your concerns and worries aren’t valid, but it’s to say that sometimes, our own perspective can be toxic and by writing it down, you can get a new view of a situation.
That can allow you to let it go and start fresh the next day.
As I mentioned above, knowing what you want is so important in order to know if you’re successful in life.
Imagine if someone told you to define their success in life. What would you need to know?
You’d need to know what they want, why, and what their measure for that success is. Without that information, you’re simply judging based off of your definition and that doesn’t work for other people.
So know what you want in life. Just remember that this is evolving, which means it’s a conversation you have to have with yourself often.
Check in with your desires. What is it that you want out of life and is that lining up with your current actions?
And most importantly, why is this what you want? What area does it fulfill and how is this shaping the life you want to live?
These are important questions, but remember they’re not something you need to answer right this second, but rather, you should continuously be defining them.
Goals are crucial for not only a happy and successful life, but for a healthy mindset as well.
I never used to have goals. Really. It’s just something that I wasn’t really taught or held accountable for when I was young. Therefore, I had no idea how to set good ones and how to actually work to achieve them.
Since joining Self-Publishing School as a job, I’ve been groomed to do this and do it well.
I’ll write a blog post on this (and film a video!), but here are the bullet points for how to make a plan and set goals you can and will stick to:
If we don’t act, life passes us by. The thing is, the time will go by whether you’re doing nothing or working toward your goals and aspirations.
But the point is that you can’t just sit here and read this and then do nothing…and continue to complain about the success (or lack thereof) in your life.
You actually have to do something from here.
I’m aware that whenever I say “write this down,” you’re not likely to do it. But even saying that phrase will force you to picture it, and sometimes that can be effective, but not nearly as.
The point is that if you want to make a change, if you really want to get your shit together, you have to do something today. Not tomorrow. Not Monday. Not at the turn of the new year.
Start now, and you’ll already be another step closer.
One of the best things to keep you moving when things get hard is to keep track of the progress you’ve made.
There’s a reason people tell you to snap before and after shots when you’re trying to lose weight or get more fit. It’s so you can refer back to them and compare your progress.
Think about how hard it is to keep doing anything if you can’t see the real results of your efforts. It feels pointless, right? Because you can’t see the impact you’re having.
By keeping track of your goals and their progress, you’ll be re-motivated to keep going whenever you look back at it. And this can do a lot for you over time.
Think about this:
If every time you wanted to stop you picked up your progress tracker and kept going…what would that look like?
How much more would you get done and how much more successful would you be in your endeavors?
Trust me…you’ll be a lot more successful.
I personally do this with my Full Focus Planner and habit tracking sheet I got on Amazon. It’s super simple, is visible daily, and you can visually see the progress stacking up as you go.
I also recommend getting or printing a year-view of your habit tracker so you can see month-by-month progress as well.
Here are a few favorites that can help with this:[planner/goal tracker affiliates]
Rewards for progress are the best.
For me, when I hit my gym days per month goal, I get to order some AlaniNu energy drinks (which are THE BEST).
But that’s just one example.
The point is to make working toward your goals and success fun! It doesn’t have to be this arduous journey filled with nothing but hard work.
So choose milestones and rewards for reaching them. These can be weekly, monthly, quarterly, even for the whole year. Whatever works for you.
I actually like the fact that the planner I use (the Full Focus Planner), has areas for rewards so you can actually figure those out ahead of time. Which means you’ll be more excited to work toward them.
If your why doesn’t keep you going, rewarding yourself just might! Plus, you deserve good shit for working toward a life you really want. That’s impressive and something you should be proud of.
“Success” is such a bad word.
It’s arbitrary, really. There shouldn’t be a singular definition for it because it changes depending on who you are and what you seek in life.
Are you happy in life? Are you happy in your job? Are you happy with your finances?
That word is far more important and impacts your life so much more than “success” does. So next time you find yourself questioning your own success, flip that question and put the word “happy” in its place.
Once you know the answer to that question, you can start to work on the areas of your life that don’t get a “yes.”
Which begs the question, which areas of your life are you happy in and what areas are you not?
Comment them down below and let’s figure out how we can get you there.