Happy New Year – In fact, Happy Year whenever you are reading this – be it January, March, October – I know from experience that we can turn our years and our lives around whenever we like.
Seven years ago I was working in a job that made me miserable. I was being paid to do nothing. Well, I was being paid to be an English teacher, but my students hardly ever showed up (they were always too busy with meetings etc), and I got paid anyway. It was soul destroying. I knew I had a huge amount of energy to create something great in the world, but instead I was sitting around all day reading newspapers (facebook didn’t exist then) and feeling half-crazed with frustration.
It took me an age to get out of that job, but once the decision was made, I did everything I could to bring about the change. I started another job, translating, in my afternoons off, making some real money by actually doing something, so that I could transition out of the crap teaching job asap.
Meanwhile I was working hard on the internet, trying to work out how to set up a business doing something fun there. Funnily enough my early efforts to make money on the net failed, until seemingly by chance the other fun stuff I was doing on the internet (making podcasts) turned into a successful business!
I’d tried to make money from putting ads on blogs, and from affiliate book sales on Amazon, while in the background a podcast I was doing for fun with my wife was slowly on its way to becoming the business that would change our life: Notes in Spanish – teaching Spanish through real conversations delivered as podcasts.
Once it got going, I knew we were onto something that could reshape our lives – something that could make us debt-free and financially independent, and I spent a lot of time learning about how to better run an internet business – mostly by reading the right books, seeing what other people were up to, asking for advice, and buying expensive training courses and doing everything they said. Most of it worked, and with a few years of very hard work, the business grew.
So we both got out of our crappy jobs, and we got out of debt, and by learning how to put the right systems into place (and then actually putting them into place!), the business went from being full-time to part-time, and now we have a lot of time to spend with our son. Which is just what I’d hoped for a few years ago.
It all happened because I started DO-ing things. I set up blogs, and made podcasts, and shared things that I found fun, and took courses, and went on huge journeys that gave me some life-energy, and it took an unbelievable force of will because I started off 7 years ago as the most frustrated and stuck person in the world.
I simply could not move for the ‘stuck’ that I was.
So if you feel stuck, frustrated, fed up, and right now seems like a good time to make a change, then just start doing something about it. Work out where you’d like to be in the not-too-distant-future – working for yourself, paying off your mortgage, working as an artist, being happier, getting over fear or depression – then just start moving in that direction, now.
Get moving. Get the information you need. Read the books and the blogs you think might help and do what they say. See if it works! Ask for advice. Do that course. Go on a retreat (starting by stopping!) And stop reading Facebook all day!
Don’t expect (as I often still do!) the solution to your problems to pop up in your inbox unless you’ve put enough intention out into the world first. When you have, when you’ve shown willing and got going, and started to ask the right questions, then the universe will doubtless reciprocate, and the right answers will start popping up all over the place.
There’s something that I usually tell other people that say my wife and I have made Notes in Spanish work so well for us because we are clever, or naturally successful, or have talents they don’t posess etc – what I say again and again is that if I can do it, anyone can. I am not a genius! Not even close!
But I do recognise that I have one important abilitly – the ability to see where I’d be better off in life, and then find out how to get there. By reading the right books and doing what they say, by getting the infromation I need and making time to put it into action.
And all this applies just as much to setting up a business as it does to getting over fear or depression, to living more mindfully, to being a better parent, to finding happiness in my everyday life.
I’ve had to put a LOT of my attention there as well since I worked out, around ten years ago, that things were not quite right in the ‘inner peace’ department. When I heard a program on BBC Radio 4 about anxiety, and an alarm bell rang in my head, shouting, “Oh my god, I think I’ve got that!”
Little did I know that anxiety was but the suddenly visible scratch on the surface. Or that now, ten years down the line, it would be where all my attention goes these days – on developing and sharing lasting inner peace, mindfulness and happiness – it’s what this blog is about, and it’s a never-ending process that often seems a darn sight harder than setting up a business!
Whether it’s changing a job, getting over depression and axiety, changing your life however you need, put simply, it’s a matter of determination. Or tenacity. Or aspiration. And we’ve all got it. It’s as human as laughter or walking or brushing our teeth!
So if you’ve been stuck, or frustrated, or depressed, if there is something you want to change this year to make your life calmer, freer, happier, then summon you inner-determination, connect properly with your vast reservoir of inner-aspiration, and get going. Follow your heart, or your nose! If I’ve been able to do it – the most frustrated and stuck – and at times in the past the most fearful, anxious and depressed – person in the world! … then anyone can.
Best Wishes, and a Happy, Happy, Happy, Creative, Joyful, Aspirational, Peaceful and Inspirational New Year to everyone. No matter what time of year you are reading this.