Have you ever had moments in your life where you didn’t feel like you were being true to yourself? As if there was a wall that you couldn’t climb?
On one side is who you really should be; your personality, sense of humor, ambition, and self-belief. On the other side is where you stand now, knowing you aren’t living to your fullest potential.
You feel defeated, unworthy, and unfulfilled. You get those moments where you look back at your life and tell yourself: “I wish I would have done this” or “I should have said that”. Yet you keep doing the same things over and over and they keep leading you to where you are right now.
Where does it start?
When I was younger I never exceeded in school. I usually did just enough to make it by with Cs and a couple Bs. I always knew, in my gut, that I was capable of more, but I never put my best foot forward in my academic career, so I struggled with low self-esteem. I had low expectations of who I was and what I was capable of.
At the time, I didn’t recognize the fact that I simply wasn’t working hard enough, that is something I realized later on when I reflected on my youth. But I would tell myself I wasn’t smart enough or this is just the best you can do. Since I knew I was capable of more, my pride made me be a pretender in who I really was. I acted like I did better in school than I really was and most of the times I faked my way through homework assignments and class participation activities.
On the outside everything looked good but inside I knew I was being a fake. It was painful to live this way but I didn’t know what to do.
I didn’t recognize the fact that I simply wasn’t working hard enough. I would tell myself I wasn’t smart enough or that this was the best I could do. I knew I was capable of more, so I started to pretend to be someone I wasn’t. I acted like I had good grades and I would fake my way through homework assignments and class participation activities.
If I could go back in time and have a conversation with myself, I would instead ask myself: “Let’s look at the facts. How much time did you study this week? How much homework did you actually do? How engaged were you in your classes?” I would’ve then realized that I was not even trying. I would’ve come to realize that I was smart enough, I just didn’t put in the effort that was needed to be the best I could be.
We grow up in a society that tells us that putting too much effort into something is bad. If you take too much time in answering a math question, it must mean that you’re just not good at math. If it takes you twice as long to finish your homework it means that you are slow and that you probably won’t excel in school. Even if you don’t think that in the beginning, others will make you feel inferior until you eventually believe it to be true.
But the reality is that most of the students that got A grades were working hard for it. They studied more, they took their time when doing their homework and they asked questions when they didn’t understand something. Seeing these students ace an exam, I was just looking at the tip of the iceberg.
A call to change
In order to achieve something you never have you are going to be required to do something you never have. Change can be difficult for most people. We fear change because of the unknown. We ask ourselves if we are truly capable of doing what is required and then doubt that we can.
If I had the chance to sit across a table from you, I would tell you that you are capable of achieving your goals. I know because it happened to me. Starting my own business at 20 years old was a bold move, but if I wanted the life I always dreamed of then it was necessary that I did this.
I would’ve never achieved the level of success I have today if it wasn’t for my mentors. They took me under their wing and believed in me. They weren’t just saying they believed in me. They genuinely cared and pointed out to me my strengths and areas that I could really work on. Because of this, I started to learn who I really was and stopped pretending to be someone else.
They asked me challenging questions like “Why don’t you think you are capable of living a successful life?” I had never faced this question head on. What I told them sounded just like the lies I told myself when I was younger and in school. None of what I said was a legitimate reason of course. It was all made up of things I just convinced myself to believe. This is where I started to understand who I truly was.
If you go through life lying to yourself and making it seem like you are something you are not then you are only hurting yourself because deep down inside you know something isn’t right. When you say or do something that doesn’t align with who you are at the core you should recognize that immediately.
- You have to take the time to reflect on who you TRULY are. Not the person you made yourself out to be. But behind all the walls you put up, who are you really? What are your values? What do you stand for? What do you believe in?
- Seek a mentor. Find someone who has the life you want to have and ask them to mentor you. Having a mentor is indispensable!
Once you identify who you really are, you become free. Free of the self-imposed limits. Free from the opinions of others. You simply live your life on purpose each day. You start to actually grow as a person and progress towards the person you want to become. You start to attract all the components necessary to achieve your dreams.
This life can be so rewarding. I encourage you to pursue it with passion and discover who you truly are!
Want to dive deeper into this topic? This video helped me out a ton!
“Change Your Beliefs, Change Your Life” by author, keynote speaker, advisor, and former publisher of SUCCESS magazine, Darren Hardy: