Somewhere along the way I became a perfectionist. This served me well in some areas of my life, mostly professionally where I was promoted 3 times in 3 years, but it started to become a crutch that was holding me back. The fear of failure become so great that I wouldn’t take a chance on myself unless I was confident I’d have a positive result. I missed out on so many opportunities and allowed the OCD and anxiety to take hold. 

Well, this year I realized that if I wanted my life to be different that I had to stop waiting for perfection and start taking action. I finally listened to that nagging voice, my inner monologue, that told me it was time.

The first thing I did was ask for help. I found a coach that helped me identify my purpose and ways in which I can live towards it; who continues to push me out of my comfort zone and hold me accountable. Secondly, and most importantly, I’ve done a lot of self-improvement and self-care work. I’m breaking bad habits, including perfectionism, and have added activities, people and better habits that bring me joy and fulfillment. I’m allowing myself to be vulnerable and open to new opportunities and experiences. I’m learning how to truly rest and rejuvenate so that I can be my best self.

I am so thankful I made this change. This journey has taught be so many lessons, not only about me but about the process. Here is what I’ve learned.

Trust your gut

Listen to that nagging voice in your head and heart. You know when something doesn’t feel right or you are ready for a change. You know when it’s time to move on, or its time to take a risk. At the end of the day, you know what is right for you and what will bring you joy.

Try something new

A great way to break out of your comfort zone is to try a new skill or hobby. Is there a class you have always wanted to take? Want to dabble in podcasting? Just do it! You may hate it and move on, or you may love it! Don’t worry about being great at a new skill. Just give it your all and have fun.

Find a support system

Not everyone needs or wants to hire a coach. Not every situation requires it, so it’s important to find your tribe of people that you can lean on, share experiences and enrich each other’s lives. There is nothing wrong with ending relationships or creating a distance between you and the nay-sayers. Don’t allow negativity to fill your space. Surround yourself with people that support you.

Be okay with NO

Stepping out your comfort zone may come with no’s, and that is okay! It’s actually good. With every failure comes the next opportunity and it allows you to figure out what fits. Believe it or not, you will hear yeses. Go after the job, submit your writing, do the thing that scares you because believe it or not, you will hear yeses.

You don’t have to go big or go home, just don’t give up

Don’t wait for the perfect moment the perfect body or the perfect job to make a change. Small consistent actions go a long way. This can be applied to so many situations – gaining flexibility through yoga, writing, training for a marathon, changing a belief system or combatting negative self-talk. The only rule is to not quit (unless it’s not serving you and then you can quit immediately).

I am not perfect at any of these. I still beat myself up and fall back on old habits, but I am able to course correct and realize that every day is a fresh start. I still have a lot of work to do on myself, but I am one step closer to a life of joy and fulfillment.