A few years ago, I stared at a blank wall and cried about a decision I made that might have been the wrong one.
I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t think. I was petrified with overwhelm, regret, and fear of the future.
All of a sudden, it was like a huge wave of anxiety fell over me that I just couldn’t climb out of.
This panic attack was about my choice to pack my bags and move to Israel, far from my family and everything else that was familiar to me.
The thing is, I had already been living in Israel for about a year when this happened. But due to a series of changes – a major one being my sister moving back to the States from Israel – I suddenly felt alone.
I began thinking about my future. Was I really going to be living here the rest of my life? Could I honestly build a 6-figure business in a country where the average income was $20,000 a year? Was I seriously going to get married and raise children here?
And there I was, 23 years old, sitting on the floor of my bedroom smoking a joint in my pink pajama onsie, stressing about my future children’s college educations and my distant plan to retire in Hawaii.
If you’re thinking “This girl is batshit crazy,” I wish I could say you were wrong. Sorry not sorry.
The thing is that, there was zero reason for me to be stressing about anything that far in the future. I was mentally trapping myself by only giving myself two options: be in Israel forever or leave now. I was setting myself up for failure by setting expectations that I had no way of meeting. And with every self-enforced deadline I missed and every to-do list I didn’t complete, I felt like a bigger and bigger loser.
I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve done this too. Millennials are really good at thinking big and making grandiose plans, but when it comes to execution, it’s like a fish trying to swim upstream. And that’s when we start to feel bad about ourselves.
But here’s the catch: It’s not hard because the task itself is hard. Doing things like losing weight, starting a business or learning a new language isn’t the challenging part. The challenging parts – and the parts where 99% of people go wrong – are the planning and the mindset shifts.
When I finally committed to setting and achieving major goals in my life that would bring me legit satisfaction (as apposed to “meh, that was easy” satisfaction), I had to make major changes.
I’m now going to tell you about the biggest shifts that I made to hit consistent 5-figure months in my business, develop a location-independent lifestyle, and support a huge community of followers without any burn-out or overwhelm.
Don’t look beyond the next six months
I used to have a mentor who told me that every little thing I did had to align with my life goals. And because of it, I naturally started to peer into the next twenty years, carefully weighing every little decision I made to see it it worked toward it or against it.
Guess what happened next? I went fucking crazy. I got mad at myself for buying a coffee with the thought that “I could have used those $3 to put toward a house one day!” and infuriated when I spent six hours writing one blog post. Yeah, I loved every damn minute of writing it, but I could have used that time to do something that better aligned with my life goals! Damnit, Lena!
And then guess what happened? I was never satisfied. Everything I did was for some huge, vague future goal that I couldn’t even imagine. I never actually saw the results or allowed myself to reap the benefits of my hard work – it was all for some trip I’d take in five years or an apartment I might one day be able to afford. And feeling like you’re working toward a light at the end of the tunnel that’s 10 million miles away is really fucking depressing.
Instead, set goals for the next three to six months. Nothing more than that.
When you take this route, a few things happen: First, you can get specific. And specificity gets you excited. When you can actually envision yourself hitting 3,000 email subscribers or imagine your completed e-book on Amazon, you’re going to have the confidence and drive to create a clear plan of action and get there. And then when you actually achieve whatever it is – which is easy to do when you give yourself a short yet clear timeline – you’re going to experience the best feeling in the world: cold, hard fulfillment.
There’s really no need to plan beyond the next six months. Put your goals into shorter time increments and watch your productivity and efficiency explode.
Get on the vision board train
When I was a kid, I was all about making collages. I would find old copies of Glamour Magazine and Cosmo (high-level journalism, I know) and cut out random letters, pictures of makeup and models in high-heels. Then I’d glue them onto a board and proudly show my mom as if I’d finally proven that I was the next Picasso.
So, as an adult, I finally decided to make a vision board (which is just a glorified collage) after reading a ton about the power of visualization as a manifestation tool in our lives. Basically, here’s the idea: what you visualize something and constantly invest mental energy, it will inspire you to take powerful action and manifest it into reality. Some hippy dippy shit, I know.
But hey, what the hell. I’m an open-minded gal, so I decided to make one one day. I printed out a series of photos that illustrated things that I want to have or achieve in my life. Most of them were things that I felt were unrealistic for me to achieve: work with a particular business coach who cost $7K to work with, purchase a very expensive online course that I’d had my eye on for a long time, make Forbes 30Under30 one day, etc. I put about six pictures on there to start, and then hung it up next to my front door so that I could see it everyday before I left the house.
Within a month and a half, two of those things became a reality. These were both goals that I didn’t think would happen for at least another year. And I’m hoping that in the next week, a third one will come to life as well.
No, you cannot just stare at a photo and suddenly see your life change. But visualization inspires you to take subconscious action that works toward those goals, accelerating your progress and focus.
Stop with the lonely pity party
It’s really easy to tell yourself that you’re lost and alone when you refuse to acknowledge that there are other people willing to help you. When I first started my business, I was sure that I could figure out every step myself. I could hoard all of the free content in the world, watch every webinar, and DIY it all.
But it turns out that adults are the same as kids: we need someone to hold us accountable and guide us when we’re developing new habits.
So, I hired a business coach. It cost me $10K, but it was the best investment I could have made in my business. Within four months, I was achieving goals that I thought would take me five years to hit.
So, if you actually want to see results and stop wandering aimlessly, do these things:
Find someone who you can talk to everyday to get support from.
Find someone who can check in with you to make sure you’re on track with your progress.
Find someone who can give you the strategies and systems without spending the next year trying to figure them out yourself.
Find someone who’s going to give you honest feedback and will actually help you progress, not just supportive fluff that will make you feel warm and fuzzy inside.
These could be five different people or one person. The choice is yours. Just make sure you do it.
The key to being a successful solopreneur or achieving any kind of personal goal is to not do it by yourself. So stop hiding and accept the value in having a community of support. It will make your journey a hell of a lot easier.