Credit: Unsplash / opak

Many of my clients were not on board when I announced I was leaving the competitive dance industry. Some quietly took their business away, while others caused a ruckus. It didn’t matter. By that point, I was well on my way to inner peace. I knew that it was the right choice for me, my students, and my studio.

If you’ve ever been in a place of misalignment, you know the gut feeling of needing to walk away. Don’t ignore it. We all have the power to shift the narrative when our lives and dreams feel derailed. Here are eight action-affiliated steps that will help you take control of your personal and professional fulfillment.

1. Start a Fire

What could you do all day every day for the rest of your life? For me, the answer is easy. I’ve always loved the performing arts. Give me a show, a song, a big dance number, and I am one happy girl.

That fire will keep you going, even through difficult times. Keep it fueled and active by identifying and eliminating any distractions that contradict your passion and purpose. When something threatens to fizzle your flame, raise the red flag and hit the brakes.

2. Stay Alert

Going with the flow is easy. Think about all the things society wouldn’t have if everyone decided to go with the flow. More specifically, consider what would happen if people decided to go with the flow when it is counterintuitive to their purpose and passion.

When something feels off, pay attention to it. Inventory your feelings with a list of pros and cons and activate a plan. Knowledge is power when we use it. If we are all working toward improving our ecosystems in the best ways we can, impact will universally expand.

3. Make the Moves

With passion as the foundation and a solid pros/cons list as the launch point, hold yourself accountable for making some major moves. Grab an accountability buddy, find sources of inspiration, and get to work. Identify your ideal outcome and strategically prepare for it. Research, plan, and communicate.

Once the change process is activated, you may feel grief and/or gratitude for different elements of the experiences, second-guess the transformation, or have your beliefs questioned or challenged. Embrace and recognize every feeling and emotion because it is critical and necessary for surviving the next phase of your journey.

4. Level Up

If you’ve made it to the point of committing to a major change or rebrand, you have endless opportunities ahead of you. How will you use this opportunity to correct professional or personal weaknesses? Recognize your power and potential for change, and get excited about the prospect of the outcome.

Level up and exceed the expectations you set for yourself. Start small, dream big, and never stop working toward heightening your personal and professional standards. And be creative! Creativity is essential for marketing, problem-solving, program development, and corporate vision. It’s also required for a happy and fulfilled life.

5. Change the Game

Are you a complainer or a game changer? When something could be better, ask: “What am I doing to fix it?”

It is so easy to complain, vent, and feel frustrated without taking steps to improve the condition or circumstance. For the short term, it may feel easier to play the victim, but that’s not a long-term solution for health, success, or happiness. What if every “gripe” that was posted on social media was exchanged for an action-oriented step toward positive betterment? Embrace a “change the game” mentality, and take the actions required. The work will speak for itself.

6. Be Bold

Reinvention is often unchartered territory, which is simultaneously exciting and terrifying. In order to change the game, bold leadership is a necessity. It’s what makes people trust and want to join your movement. Know the traits of bold leaders and rock them.

Boldness is all about taking risks and challenging the status quo. Don’t worry about people judging you because, guess what? They will judge you anyway! As a bold leader, you’re opening and inviting judgment because you’re taking a stand for a cause you wholeheartedly support. Take pride in that, lean in, and be prepared for the challengers.

7. Show Your Strength

Everyone encounters challenges. The way you handle and move past them is what truly speaks to strength and leadership. When handling conflict, use the following mantras as guiding principles:

  • Be Proactive Instead of Reactive: How can you get ahead of situations so you can control the narrative?
  • Respond versus React: You control your intake of information. Make sure you are responding instead of reacting to maintain control over you.
  • Focus Forward: Use the past as a reference point for lessons learned, but do not dwell on what is behind you. Keep your focus forward.

8. Pave the Path

The world is very loud and demanding. You must find a way to position your vision and activate your messaging. Using words and actions to separate yourself from the noise, you can stand out in a society that begs you to fit in.

Take an inventory of how you spend your time and energy. With time being our most precious and valuable resource, you owe it to yourself to make sure you are spending it in the right places and with the right people. It is important for your actions to align with your beliefs and brand. Pave a path that represents you.

This article was adapted from the book Trash the Trophies.