Living the dream?Track5: another brick in the wall

I can’t believe it’s nearly August – nearly three full months since life has changed 🙂 and so much to do yet! Things are rolling and I can say I m quite happy with what I have put together so far.

People are generally very cautious when it comes to acknowledge their happiness, like it’s something not to be said loud. Something to be almost ashamed of.
Maybe due to my restless teenage background or maybe for some kind of cultural superstition, I have only recently learned that there is nothing wrong in being shamelessly happy and acknowledge that. Spreading positive vibes is vital to keep good energy going around – for how hippie this might sound, I find it very true.
Life can be overwhelming sometimes, throwing an entire bucket of stone cold lemons in your face – and it’s reassuring to see in others around us that it is not always like that, that things can be better – and they eventually will for you too.
And it’s fair on yourself not to reinforce the habit of spotlighting all the negative and the misery and actually shift the focus on the good, on what is going well and on the fact that what is going well is doing so thanks to your hard work and efforts.

That said, I am not where I want to be yet, but I am learning to trust the journey and keep going, one little step at the time, building my path as I go along as everything seems to be gradually falling into its own place.
I have the feeling (and this is, yes, a very shy feeling indeed) that the initial big rush is slowly calming down and turning into a slightly more balanced scenario, still on the move but at a more friendly pace.
Funny enough, I have just recently set some new goals for my business and I started running my own classes, with all that comes with that in terms of organization, a little marketing, a lot of thinking, pondering and budgeting.
Nonetheless, it feels like I am gradually moving into the next phase, where what has been achieved so far represents a precious, vital base for me to keep improving.
It also allows me sparing some energy to actually plan my own practice and fitness time, that I have put completely aside since I left the office life (you can read a little about my feelings on devoting all your energy and time entirely to The Dream in my last post).
I haven’t really thought about that for a while, it came quite naturally to focus only on setting up the journey for my new life to start, so I can’t say “I missed it”.
It has always been here, somewhere at the back of my head, waiting for the right moment to come.
I have been saving videos, workout, suggestions, routines that I want to try as usual, but I didn’t need any additional stress or duty call voice in my ear (you might remember the nasty voice I introduced you some posts ago – and I am sure everyone has their own!), neither I do now.
Preserving yourself from extra unnecessary stress it’s an art I am learning to master over time and I am getting better at that -a matter of survival, I guess.
At the moment it feels more like a breath of happy fresh energy that finally starts remaining after all the classes, researches, planning, driving, meetings – and that I can use again for other things that make me feel good and alive as much as building up my dream. It’s a little reward and it feels great.

 

Living the dream?Track4: Shut Up & Dance

Sometimes, and just sometimes, all that it’s been left behind when you decided to live your dream will simply pop up along the way and make you doubtful.
For a second, an hour, a week. As simple as that. You bump into a little tiny thing, a smell, a street sign, and old pic maybe, and the little fella will get you question your choices, your journey, even that dream itself that you are supposed to be living. That’s what you have been told, anyway, and by the sound of it it didn’t seem to leave any room for uncertainties. So why does it take so little to sneak a doubt into what should be a solid sound will?
Because it look simple. A lot simpler (even if at the time it was not simple at all) than these unsteady steps taken one after the other, day by day, each and every one of them after a lot of thinking and pondering and with your fingers crossed.
Therefore, it looks a lot smoother. Fancy a day trip? Train ticket booked. Fancy a walk?Let’s do it. Museum?Why not. Exploring an area in town where I have never been before? Ok, what’s the nearest tube?
Living the dream – or better, building the life you dream of- means that you will be doing that, and that only, for a considerable amount of time and this won’t always be as exciting and empowering as it might sounds. It means that you will be thinking, doing, researching about it, with none or very little time and (mostly) energy for anything else. And even if, you have to face a quite substantial financial change so you might need to cut a little bit off the leisure side for now.
This all results in a sort of “high tide”feeling that can be overwhelming and make you look back with a sigh. This has nothing to do with regretting the decision made, it’s just that very moment when your soul is feeling constrained and simply doesn’t like it, no matter that it’s for the better. I suppose this comes with every big decisions in life.
I sometimes miss the freedom of my settled life. I know this might sound as a paradox as a settled life is mostly associated with its burdens, limitations, boredom and regularity, vs the adventure, the unpredictable, the freedom. But it also gives you some real time off when it comes (and a little more money), proper time off where you happily forget about work, colleagues, issues…This is not happening now, and it won’t for a while.
The truth is -and it’s definitely nothing new- that the difference only lies in the purpose and the perspective. Every renouncement, sacrifice, every time I feel constrained and overwhelmed by this journey I put myself into, I repeat myself that:

  • you made your bed…(see previous post about my own self-censurer side)
  • it’s only temporary – at some point things will settle but I need to get there, it’s not happening overnight. Be patient and persevering. Stay focused. There will be time for enjoying life a little bit more and feel free again. But it’s not now.
  • it’s for a better life and a better me. This is the most important of all. This keeps things into perspective and gives it a sense and a meaning. Nothing was used to kill me more than knowing that all my hard work was going to improve neither myself or my life, nor my friends and family nor the society at any level. Being a person who doesn’t value money as much and being my ex salary alright but not particularly exciting, I constantly had the feeling of draining myself for nothing. This is was among the main triggers for changing my life.

So, when living the dream throws its not so glamorous side in your face, all you can do is..shut up and dance. Trust yourself. Trust those so long thought decisions even when it feels like you threw yourself into a rolling mechanism that never stops and barely lets you breathe. Even when it feels like it’s just too much to handle. Because it is worthy and it will pay back, and I am a broad-shouldered idealist 🙂

 

Living the dream? Track3: sailing the roller-coaster

June has been very busy so far (it actually feels more like two months squeezed into one) and things have gone fast:  two house movings in less than 2 weeks and all that goes with it; two intense, inspiring Pilates training courses and obviously, teaching hours to build up and take care of.
Definitely, my comfort zone is something I haven’t seen in a while and for how good and constructive this is, it also leaves you unsettled and with the feeling of having a whole lot to take in in terms of knowledge, experience, self confidence (a lot!!!), inspiration + some big overall life questions that at the moment will have to wait as my brain simply can not deal with them now!
I am very grateful for all these unsettling occasions I put myself into, but saying that it’s always easy to handle would be a lie, specially when this happens on top of everything else. You stretch and push yourself really hard with no or very little external acknowledgment, relying only on your own strength and on your inner trust that everything will eventually pay back over time.
But this is part of living the dream, of the real life behind the successful stories we read about, I suppose.
Well, not that I would expect a round of applause for every step I take, anyway: I am my worst, most cynical censurer, whose usual comment about pretty much every moment of weakness and doubt is: “you have made your bed, now you sleep in it and better shut up”. This prevents a lot of drama and self pity, but it can also be quite of a tough voice to hear all the time. So, if you relate to this, my best advice is to allow yourself some well deserved time to just let it out: cry, be miserable if you need, feel like the weakest heroine of the most epic saga you can think of, eat ice cream or simply dance, read, colour a book, go for a walk…or all of the above. Recognizing that you are going through a lot (without making a big fuss about it) it’s fair and it doesn’t need to come from the outside. If it does, good, but you need to acknowledge and respect it yourself first.
[note to self].

When you are sailing through your living the dream, dealing with “the outside” and the people in it can be even more challenging as people can eventually let you down, sometimes despite the best intentions. This can strongly affect the mood of your journey as you are out there on your own, trying to make things happen and you may have counted on them, for work, for support, for a phone call… The echo is bigger and resounds deeper.
BUT this will NOT impact the journey itself, as things will always end up down the route that they are meant to. People we meet, people we lost, experiences and transitions, can bring you down and give some ache deep down your tummy. Letting go and moving on is harder than it normally is (and I am usually not that good at it anyway…). But eventually that too passes, pieces fall back in place and the journey keeps going on.

 

 

 

 

Living the dream?Track2 pt.2: be what you want to be(come)

A final consideration about this first month “living my dream” as a free-lance, after the previous juicy post.
I kept the following point as last as it’s something that has been rolling in the background throughout the whole month, but I only identify it very recently.

3. Start being what you want to become: actions, thoughts, mindset. This virtually takes you already where you want to be before you even take the first step and eventually everything will conform accordingly over time.
I mean: I want to be a knowledgeable, competent, relaxed and supportive professional, right? Then do what a knowledgeable, competent, relaxed and supportive professional would do. Research, study, practice kindness and supportiveness even when you would just like to scream or you have homicidal instincts instead or simply that support costs you struggles and self discipline. Do more things that brighten your mood and your soul so that you can pass that positive glowing energy around.
I realised that this applies to pretty much every goal one can possibly set herself for. If you want to be an active, fit, healthy person, you cannot just dream about it whilst laying on the sofa eating that last (after yesterday’s last and most likely, tomorrow’s last) pack of crisps. What would an active healthy person do? Then, do it.
Stop being a wannabe.
If you wish you spent more time outdoor, then go for that walk you have been putting off for the last two weeks. It might be a 10 minutes stroll but it will take you closer to your ideal and -trust me- it will be such a confidence boost! You prove yourself that you too can be one of those people you have always looked up to. Maybe you are not 100% there yet, but you definitely have more of it then you had when you were simply  fantasizing about how cool that would feel.
Embody, instill your dream in your daily life and over time it will become part of your nature.
It sounds very easy and banal (and probably it is) but for me it has been a sort of revelation, not only in relation to my professional journey/dream.
I am working on it in little things every day, not always successfully but this mindset has already brought some tiny changes and I keep practicing to reinforce it.
It starts as a one off and it feels quite the right thing to do, endorphins, confidence, accomplishment and all that jazz, so why not again? And maybe more of it? Maybe there are other things that have been pending, you can dust them off too… Maybe there are other sides that would complete you as an individual, make you feel truer and take you closer to a fully developed, richer version of yourself. Maybe not – everyone is different, but perhaps some people might relate to this when thinking of taking their dream out of that drawer. Someone likes just to have a glance and put it back, but some other decide that the drawer is no longer the right place for it and that is time to live the dream.

 

Living the dream?Track2 pt.1: be what you want to be(come)

Happy free-lance anniversary! Celebrating one month today with a few considerations about the beginning of the journey.

  1. The obvious but still worrying self warnings are there to serve you and I found myself repeating them (as you should),  sometimes with true intentions and sometimes more because it’s part of the mindset. More like something you HAVE TO repeat yourself as a freelance.
    Do not sit on your *ss. Wake up early, do your thing, be productive, research.
    Ok until here I am all good: I master the art of keeping myself busy as I am as curious as a chimpanzee. There is always that article, that site, that spot round the corner that caught my attention…And (round of applause, please) I also have to say I don’t even get side tracked as much. I stay focused on whatever I am on, being it my colouring book or a scrumptious vegan cake recipe.
    Now, the downside.
    Go knocking on doors, make phone calls – both of whom I forcefully hate. Can’t we just sort life via email?Well, apparently not. And …you know what?Sometimes -but just sometimes- if you don’t make it bigger than it is and pretend that it’s not the pain that it actually is for me, it’s not even that bad.
    So, apparently one of the key concepts for a happy free-lancing is LIGHT HEART approach. Mental note made, while trying to keep my overthinking, anxious, pedantic side at bay. Yes, it’s tearing as it sounds (the mentioned chimpanzee can also be extremely “heavy”).
  2. People. This is something else I have often (ok, most of the time) struggled with. People can really affect you, no matter how positive you are and determined to preserve that positivity, specially when the majority of the human beings that populate your days are not friends and family. Double faced people, small talks, shallow conversations, gossips, moaners, energy drainers – and sometimes just people being themselves can annoy me beyond imagination.
    (It does sound horrible, I know. But I am brutally true to myself).
    My free lance time has seen the disappearance of the most of the people I was dealing with on a daily basis before. This means two things: more space for positive people (even if yourself only -but then you definitely have to be a cheerful company!) and/or a HUGE empty space to fill.
    I have been very lucky as the most of the inhabitants of the Pilates world (business owners, clients, peers) are really nice people, this even before the Big Change happened. Sometimes clearly there is business stepping in, but still.
    Among all these graceful souls that I have been lucky enough to meet, there are some truly inspiring ones. I mean, not inspiring in every way as we are all humans and the time of blind admiration is long gone, but some traits are really something to look at when you think where you would like to be. It’s that mix of kindness, bright energy, self confidence, acceptance, knowledge, experience, calm, openness and the innate natural talent for being supportive and appreciative without being cheesy or banal.
    In this one month there has been a few already, and this is encouraging. It can hugely lift your mood when you doubt yourself, your choices, your approach towards things and situations. So thank you, first 30 free-lance days!
    On the other side of the coin luckily (again), very few episodes and faces, some of whom yet costed me some sleepless hours, a couple of days in a sulk or some disappointed tears in the worst cases, but nothing that really knocked me down. In all fairness every time negativity has shown up ( in different ways), immediately right after I have received some good news/feedback/answers. I am still very surprised as I had never experienced something like that before. Some might think that it’s a sign that I am on the right path (am I?), but I’d rather prefer to think of a very blessed circumstance (as  don’t believe in coincidence either).
  3. Start being what you want to become – but for this one, you need Track2 pt.2, that is coming soon! Stay tuned!

Living the dream?Track1: intro

I have been thinking of writing about my living the dream experience many times since this all adventure started.
Less than a month ago I finally decided to quit my permanent, secure, 4 years office job to start a freelance full-time career teaching Pilates (and a few other healthy fitness bits).
It took me a year of thinking, doubts, fears, false motivation and pondering to get there.
Ooooh! You will be living your dream!“, this is the comment I have heard quite often from friends and colleagues when I disclosed my plan (unsurprisingly, a whole different range of comments came from the family, but that was part of the plan too).
But, is that true?

We often read successful stories of people who more or less radically, decided to quit their well settled life and jump into the unknown, following their passions – and obviously, happily succeeding after the initial uncertainties and some false steps.
These stories are normally accompanied by motivational quotes and are supposed to be inspiring and empowering. Are they? Sometimes. Some others, you would just slap them in the face with your laptop because, my dear friend, some people cannot afford the luxury of making such shiny decisions, for many different reasons.

But I could, and I did. I am lucky enough to be – in this very moment, not earlier, not later- in the position to close my eyes and throw myself out there, relying only on my gut feeling and the foolish, stubborn certainty that this will work out fine in the end.
I am sure that this is the destination, the sense of this adventure. I know there will be ups and downs. I know that I will be happy and I know that it won’t be easy.
And this is exactly my point: I want to share what lies behind those living the dream stories. The steps, the falls that take to those instagram smiling shots, the part of the story that is normally summarized in ” after a few years (months? weeks?), things started to roll and I am now fulfilled and that is a decision I will never regret”.

I will never ever regret that decision either. That was me going back to my true self.
At least, I can say I have this in common with the successful folks in the articles.
Nevertheless (I ADORE this word – I have a list of words whose sound or flow simply makes me happy), how on earth do you get there?
On the 1st of May I was officially a free-lance. And? What happens next? When does the part where I live the dream and smile and share my story to motivate people finding their real happiness beside what you as a grown up individual are expected to achieve, when does it arrive? Mostly, HOW does it arrive?

So…let’s see how this journey go. Let’s see what it takes to live the dream.

Live Strong. Live Happy.