A few years ago, I stared at a blank wall and cried as I stressed about a decision I had recently made.
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.
Was I really going to be living in this city the rest of my life? Could I honestly build a 6-figure business in a foreign country? 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 in my pink pajamas, stressing about my future children’s college tuitions and retirement plans.
The truth is, 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 positioning myself 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 failure.
I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve done this too. The American Psychological Association reports that 12% of Millennials have a diagnosed anxiety disorder, which is almost twice the percentage of Baby Boomers. Why? From my work in the Gen-Y community, it seems that we’re really good at thinking big and making grandiose plans, but when it comes to execution, we struggle. And that’s when we start to get stuck.
But here’s the secret: it’s not hard because the task itself is hard. Doing things like losing weight, starting a business or immersing in a new culture isn’t the challenging part. The challenging part is our failure to mentally prepare ourselves for what lies ahead.
I’m now going to tell you about the biggest mindset shifts that I made to get “unstuck” in my life, hit consistent 5-figure revenue months in my business, develop a location-independent lifestyle, and support a huge community of followers without any overwhelm, stagnation, or negative self-talk.
1. 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 greater life goals. And because of it, I naturally started to focus on the next twenty years, carefully weighing every little decision I made to see if it worked toward it or against it.
Guess what happened next? I went crazy. I was the person who got mad at myself for buying a coffee because “I could have used those $3 to put toward a house one day”.
In result, I was never satisfied. Everything I did was for some huge, vague future goal that I couldn’t even fathom as reality. I never actually allowed myself to reap the benefits of my daily 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 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 5,000 email subscribers or imagine your completed e-book on Amazon, you’re going to have the confidence and drive to create a clear, tangible plan of action. 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.
2. Get on the Vision Board Train
A few years ago, I decided to make a vision board after reading a ton about the power of visualization as a manifestation tool in our lives. Here’s the general idea: when you visualize something and constantly invest your mental energy into it, it will inspire you to take powerful action and manifest it into reality.
If it seems a little woo-woo, try to be more open minded. It’s as simple as printing out a series of photos that illustrate things you want to achieve in your life. When I created mine, most of the photos were of goals that I felt were unrealistic for me to achieve: working with a particular business coach with a $15K price tag, writing for top-tier publications, getting featured on certain podcasts, and so on. 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. Within four months, almost all of them had manifested. These were all goals that I didn’t think would happen for the next five years, at least.
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.
3. Stop with the Lonely Pity Party
It’s really easy to tell yourself that you’re lost and alone when building a business. 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 20-somethings aren’t much different from kids: we need someone to hold us accountable and guide us when we’re developing new habits.
This realization has inspired me to hire many business coaches over the years, participate in masterminds, and speak at live conferences. And without having the insight, support, accountability, guidance, and friendship of these fellow entrepreneurs, my business would look very different today.
So, if you actually want to see results and stop wandering aimlessly, do these things. Identify people who:
- You can talk to everyday to get support from
- Can help you create strategies and systems without spending the next year trying to figure them out alone
- Is going to give you honest feedback and hold you accountable
- Can open up doors for you and help you broaden your network
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.
If you’re looking to finally reach your professional goals and build a profitable business, remember that it all starts with your own mental self-care. Your mind is the foundation for your work and will set the tone for everything else, so get in the habit of prioritizing it.Opinions expressed here are the opinions of the author. Influencive does not endorse or review brands mentioned; does not and can not investigate relationships with brands, products, and people mentioned and is up to the author to disclose. VIP Contributors and Contributors, amongst other accounts and articles, are professional fee-based.
Lena Elkins is a Millennial Business & Marketing Coach and the host of the Facebook group, Millennial Go-Getters. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, she took the digital nomad route a few years ago and now lives in Tel Aviv. Lena is also an international speaker, a member of the Forbes Coaches Council, and a regular contributor to various publications. She also just got engaged to a fellow online entrepreneur and can’t wait to throw the best wedding of the year.