Emily is a homeschooled college opt-out and Praxis graduate who loves a good challenge, learning new things and enjoying the sunshine and blessings in life.
I keep thinking back on my last year of high school, and how it felt to be on the cusp of a new phase in my life. There was such a cacophony of advice, and no small dose of anxiety about my next step.
“Go to college!”
“Don’t go to college, it’s too expensive and debt is terrible.”
“Hope you got good grades and applied for lots of scholarships!” (I didn’t.)
“Take all the tests you need to go to college… just to keep your options open.” (Didn’t do that either.)
“Go to a trade school.”
“Just start working!”
Everywhere I turned, people asked me what my plans were, and told me what they thought I should do. My head spun like one of those dangerous merry-go-rounds on a playground. So I willfully ignored everybody’s advice, just to keep from drowning in their combined anxiety about my future.
I had enough of my own to deal with, because there was so much that I didn’t know.
I didn’t want to go to college, but I didn’t know if there was a good alternative.
I didn’t know what other job I could get besides retail.
I didn’t know if I could move out and support myself.
I didn’t know what would happen if I blazed my own trail instead of following the worn path.
Out of all the advice I was given, there’s one thing that nobody told me. I learned this over the past year, and I wish someone had told me sooner.
You made it this far, and you are strong. So trust yourself.
Stop betting on the external factors of your existence, and start betting on yourself. Because at the end of the day, YOU are the acting power in your life. YOU get out of bed each morning, YOU earn your own money and YOU follow your passions.
So, take everybody’s advice with a grain of salt.
I know that might not be enough to quiet your anxiety right away. So let’s break it down. Here’s a three-step guide to trusting yourself.
1. Trust your ability to learn anything.
I do mean anything. There is nothing this world throws at you that you can’t figure out. Google it, watch YouTube videos, scour the internet, and GET OBSESSED.
2. Trust your ability to work hard.
Throw yourself into your projects, and embrace the struggle.
3. Trust your ability to bounce back.
Failure is inevitable, but it’s not the end. If you dig yourself into a hole, you can dig yourself right back out.
When I find myself in a sticky situation, I like to remember this cartoon.
So now that you trust yourself, here are three actionable steps to tackling the big climb ahead of you.
1. Break it down.
We all know big things happen one step at a time. Take the first chunk of the climb, and write down all of the little steps that need to happen to complete that chunk.
2. Do one thing every day.
Everyday progress adds up quickly. Spend a minimum of 5 minutes every day to push yourself a little further along.
3. Quantify how far you’ve come.
Keep track of everything you’re doing. (Try recording everything in a journal or blog, or even simple to-do lists!) Then you can and should look back at everything you’ve accomplished. This will help fuel you to keep moving forward!
So trust yourself. Trust in your own skills, your ability to learn new ones, and your drive. As long as you work hard, try new things, fail quickly and learn even faster, anything is possible.
You’re awesome, and you got this. 😉
Are you working on a project that feels too big to handle? Shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let’s talk about it!