When you’re at rock bottom, sometimes hope makes all the difference.
How can we create REAL hope for ourselves in the darkest times?
I’m not talking about blind optimism or faith, though those can be helpful. I’m talking about the hope that comes from feeling like you’re on the right path, and that you have a real shot at better times ahead.
It doesn’t have to be a cosmic “right path”, and for me, it wasn’t.
It was a plan. A very long-term plan. That simple.
But a long-term plan is POWERFUL – uniquely so in dark times.
And it worked. Less than six years later I’m living my ideal life.
I speak to people all the time who shy away from what they want because it is impossible in their current circumstances. In that case, why not change your circumstances?
Because you can’t? I get it. I couldn’t either. Then why not work on changing the things that are preventing you from changing your circumstances?
If you’re tempted to roll your eyes, hear me out.
Small, incremental action can add up. It doesn’t always, but if you’re strategic it can.
In my case, I wanted to be both the provider and caregiver that I had imagined for my son before my life took an unexpected turn. It’s totally normal for a mother, especially a single mom, to have to sacrifice one for the other. I was away from my son 12-13 hours a day and so tired that I wasn’t the emotionally present caregiver I wanted to be in the little time I had with him. Plus, I was meeting our basic needs, but money was tight.
I want to acknowledge and emphasize that this is a totally normal and common situation, and both my son and I would have been fine if we had to live like that forever. But it wasn’t fulfilling for me, and I wanted to try to change things.
So, I created a very long-term plan, taking tiny actions consistently over the past several years. The path ahead wasn’t always clear, but I stayed on it, knowing in which general direction I wanted to move even if not how I would actually get to my destination.
Taking these tiny actions and knowing that there was a real chance that they would eventually get me where I wanted to go GAVE ME PEACE. I felt like I was on the right path.
I had hope.
First, I had to drastically reduce expenses to get myself through financial emergency after emergency.
Then, I was relentless in paying down debt. I considered things like bottled water or ziplock luxuries. I didn’t so much as use a tissue if I could avoid it. Small, incremental actions.
I started building a side business. I could only spend a few minutes a day on it, but I used that time in ways that would compound. For the first couple of years, I wasn’t sure if I was wasting my time.
However, I knew that whether or not I generated a significant amount of income, I would be giving myself valuable experience that I could use to improve my resume. More small, incremental actions.
I used that experience to get higher and higher-paying jobs over the next few years. Each job I got, I worked my ass off.
I implemented all of the strategies I knew to stave off stress and burnout so that I could perform at my best and be a more centered mom. I didn’t always succeed, but it made a huge difference with jobs that were considered high pressure.
I used my experience to improve upon and refine the methods I was using to optimize my body and mind until I could handle the load with minimal stress. I then tested these methods with other moms and used them to improve my side business. Small, incremental changes.
Eventually, I landed a family-friendly, work from home position, working directly with extremely successful people from whom I’m learning a ton. It’s in line with my strengths, partially because I created work experience for myself through my side business that highlighted my strengths.
Now I have a fulfilling job, a fulfilling business, and the emotional presence my son deserves. I am at every school event. His college fund already has enough to send him to a local public university. And we’re traveling the world together!
What is on your “someday” list? What do you wish was different in your life, but seems impossible to achieve? Can you make a 5, 10, or even 25 years plan to achieve it? Can you commit a few minutes a day or even a few minutes per week? Perhaps just a google search to start?
The years will pass whether we take small, incremental steps toward our dreams or stand in the same spot.
If you’ve enjoyed this article and the story of my pathway to success from being rock-bottom to a sky-high person and wish to see the footsteps I have taken to acquire a healthy and happy life inspiring people around the world, feel free to check out my program tried by many single moms around the world with the link down below.