You have two choices to how you live your life

Growing up, most of us were told one of two things; “Follow your dreams and do whatever makes you happy” or “Get a good stable job and earn your living so you can retire as soon as you can”.   I grew up in a home that told me both.  So naturally, I TRIED both.

Right out of college I was lost.  I had no clue what I wanted to do.  So, I decided I would do what any other self-respecting adult would do and I moved to Florida to work at Disney World.  Now, I don’t mean working for Disney Corporate.  I mean the parks. (This is the dream chaser in me!)  I spent 8 months in a Disney College Program where I worked as a lifeguard.  It was basically an extension of college and I had the time of my life.  But I was poor.  Like, overdrew my bank account on wings and mimosas poor.  While in the program, I had the opportunity to take classes from Disney Executives.  It was incredible to learn from the higher ups in Disney an being surrounded by that made me want to grow up and get a big kid job. So here is where the “Get a good stable job, earn your living so you can retire” part of me came out.  So off I went in search of a good stable job with benefits.

My search led me to a sales job selling copiers.  I entered the corporate world as an innocent and naïve young 20 something.  I remember one of my first appointments to sell a copier, I walked in to the C-level executive’s office with my pink shirt, pencil skirt and heels with my pink Douney & Burke tote.  He humored me and started talking numbers, so naturally I pulled out my pink calculator and he began to chuckle.  I got that sale, probably because I reminded him of his daughter or he felt sorry for the poor little girl about to be eaten alive.

That job lasted about 9 months before I just couldn’t take it anymore.  I figured out very quickly that myself and corporate don’t mix.  Luckily, I got recruited by a current client and their office seemed fun.  Small, family run, and had a start-up feel to it with cats in the office and people walking around in their socks.  THIS is a place I can hang!

This job was still sales but now phone sales instead of face to face.  I liked the idea of no dress code, stable hours, a fun office, but now I had no room to advance.  So, the search starts again.  At this point I again was LOST.  I tried the safe stable job.  I tried the fun office.  Now what?

Teaching of course!  I mean, teaching is stable.  Everyone always talks about how teachers have amazing retirements and I see all the fun things they do in their classrooms.  It’s GOT to be the best job ever!   Here is where I would insert and eye roll emoji.  Yeah.  NOT what I thought.  No income advancements.  No promotions. And a district that can’t pay out the pension.

So, what’s the point of my endless career search?  The hope is that you won’t make the same mistakes as me.  Looking back, I wish I had taken the time to get to know myself.  I wish I knew what I really wanted, who I really was, and what sparked that fire in my belly.  Because until you find that, NO job will be right for you unless you just happen to get lucky.

Take the focus OFF the money.  OFF the benefits. OFF the promotion potential.  If THOSE are the things you focus on.  You will ONLY have a job for the rest of your life.  Turn the focus on YOU.  Who are you, what do you like, what is your passion.  And whatever that might be, do that.  THAT is what will bring you success, happiness, and a life you truly love.  If you chase the money, you’ll get a job and paycheck.  But if you chase your dreams you’ll get a life that YOU CREATED. 

Stay hopeful.  Stay positive.  Stay you.

Alaina is a special education teacher, wife, yoga instructor, health & fitness coach and personal development junkie. She has spent her 31 years, chasing dreams and learning lessons the hard way. She has made it her life’s mission to share the lessons she learned and help others avoid her mistakes so they can find the confidence and feel empowered to live the life they deserve.

Make a Decision to Beat It

Victoria’s secret runway show, models, actresses, photoshop, filters, social media.

All of these things dictate to us what society finds “beautiful”. And for as long as I can remember, I compared myself to these unrealistic, and fake, standards. I Longed for a perfect body, smile, eyes, hair etc. which caused me to never really be confident. I did crash diets, cleanses, diet pills. You name it, I tried it. And nothing worked. But why? Because the problem wasn’t with my body or my weight. The problem was with ME. You see, I had no self-confidence. I sought outside approval to tell me I was good enough, skinny enough or pretty enough. So, no matter what amount of weight I lost, I NEVER would have been satisfied because I still always compared myself to others. But as soon as I learned to take the focus OFF what other thought and turned it inward, amazing things started to happen.

A year ago, I was planning my wedding and was obsessed with getting fit for the dress and the honeymoon. This is when fitness really became a huge part in my life. I started eating clean, working out, and sharing my journey with a community of others doing the same. The positivity I received empowered and inspired me to develop myself even further and really dive into the reasons WHY I was so fixated on my outward appearance. This decision to really dive deep took me to places I hadn’t been in years. And I don’t mean a physical destination, but events that occurred in my life that on some level stuck with me.

In middle school I was teased constantly. I was told I was too skinny, my bones jut out, I was pigeon toed and not pretty. Those are some pretty harsh words for a 12-year-old to hear. Fast forward a few years and the change in lifestyle after college took a toll on my body and I gained about 20lbs. Now I was the “thick” girl. My entire life, I was judged by my body and my looks so of course, I never saw myself as anything other than that. And now, how do I get over it?

It’s not easy. And it’s still something I struggle with from time to time but at the end of the day, your mindset, your thoughts, your attitude, your happiness and your confidence is a decision. I DECIDED that I was going to be a strong, confident, happy, successful woman who OWNS who she is and helps others do the same. I DECIDED that I would be someone who makes fitness a priority, not because I care about the physical, but because I love the change that happens to me internally when I am living a healthy lifestyle. I learned to battle negative thoughts with positivity and kindness. I learned to do more of what makes me happy and to not only be kind to others, but to be kind to myself. I learned to surround myself with positive people and positive things and ditch all the negativity which meant cutting ties with some people who used to be “friends” but were really just negative energy bringing me down.

Making that decision was the best thing I could have ever done. It has brought me more confidence than I ever thought possible. I am finally comfortable in my own skin, I feel as though I found my voice and am no longer afraid to share who I am. It set me FREE.

YOU are in control too. Whatever it is that you are struggling with, make a decision to beat it. You are strong. You are worthy. You are enough.

-Alaina

Alaina is a special education teacher, wife, yoga instructor, health & fitness coach and personal development junkie. She has spent her 31 years, chasing dreams and learning lessons the hard way. She has made it her life’s mission to share the lessons she learned and help others avoid her mistakes so they can find the confidence and feel empowered to live the life they deserve.