I could stare at this photo for a long time. What do you see when you look at it? Let me tell you what I see. Visualize with me if you will. I see a woman, with her back facing me, standing in a business suit at the end of what was once a main road she walked down. This road has now divided into a road to the left and a road to the right. Both roads have no end in sight. She is standing looking forward at the scenery of mountains and skyline with grass all around and in front of her. She is at the crossroads of making a choice of which way to go. What it represents is what so many of us have had to do and continue to do on a daily basis and multiple times in our lives…. Make that choice. Some of the choices you will have to make will be in regard to a Job, finances, house, relationship, children, friendships, our past, food, addictions, animals, vehicles, insurance, healthcare, family, moving, college, degrees, deaths, and other decisions we need to make that come up on a moments notice. Some of these choices are easier than others. Some decisions we need to make are challenging and come with careful consideration before a decision is reached. Every time we choose something and complete it to the end we level up in life. No matter what. We enrich our lives with knowledge and the process of achieving such a feat. These advancements help us grow (hence level up) on many levels which I will discuss later.
So, which road do we take and where does each one lead? Is one easier than the other and at what cost? Is the harder road less paved with more bumps along the way? Is the easier one faster to get down, but the destination is less than we hoped? How do we make the decision and what goes into that decision making? How will these decisions enable us to level up in our lives to continue reaching our ultimate goals? These are some of the questions that I am going to answer in this blog/podcast.
Leveling Up ~ Defined
Rather than use a dictionary definition of this, I chose to use something that Esther T wrote from @diaryofagoddess and it says, “When you level up, everything changes. You walk differently, you talk differently, you glow differently. Your heart feels lighter. Your thoughts aren’t scattered. Negative people and situations don’t affect you like they once did. Mistakes of the past turn into lessons for the future. It’s as if the Universe recharges you from the inside out, releasing the old weight that once brought you down and lifting you up to your highest potential.” This couldn’t be any more true of what leveling up encompasses.
I believe that there is power in positive thinking. That the more positive you put out in the universe the more positive you will get back. Making decisions that will change the trajectory of your life for the better is leveling up. When you level up you are taking a step away from complacency to something bigger and better. Doing this can be scary. It requires change and let’s face it, there are a lot of people out there that DO NOT like change. The only way out of being complacent is to practice change. With change comes choice. With choice comes decision making and those decisions are what determines where you will end up and let’s not forget the challenges that may come with that decision. How you look at those challenges will determine success or failure (which is where power of positive thinking comes in).
Let’s get an example happening here. Let’s start small and look at Losing Weight as the subject. You love food, but you want to lose weight. You have been complacent sitting at home every night after work eating a pint of ice cream while watching your show on tv. This has been going on for about 6 months now and you have noticed some adequate weight gain. You get on the scale and notice you have gained 8 pounds in the last 6 months. You want to change that number on the scale so …. In order to make that change happen, you have to make a choice right? The choice to eat the ice cream every night and continue to gain weight or the choice to not eat the ice cream and see if you lose the weight. Ok, now comes the decision making piece. Which choice will you make? What challenges will arise from that choice? Yes this one is simple, I said that. If you choose to not eat the ice cream, you will struggle from the need to have it and the want as well, but if you are successful in abstaining, and practice positivity, you will more than likely lose weight. You have just leveled up. Now let’s take a look at some bigger choices in life.
Change and Choice
We are going to take a look at some changes one may want to make and the choices that come with it. Let’s face it.. That picture I showed you in the beginning…. the one with the two choices, road to the left or the one to the right. One leads to new adventures and one repeats where you are. So in order to level up, you have to choose the one to new adventures which will require change. You choose the bumpier road, with the greater reward at the end rather than the paved road that keeps you at the same destination repeating the same scenarios you have been doing over and over again.
Let’s look at Jobs. You are in a job that you have been in for 25 years, you hate it. You are miserable every day you go into work and you actually are getting sick from your job. You can’t just quit, you have a family, a home, a life that you need to support. You now are faced with a choice. Stay where you are because it pays the bills even though you are miserable, (remember, you only get one of these things called “Life”) and spend the rest of your days like that or research ways to make a change. This is where the tough part comes in, especially if you are one that tends to stay in “complacent land” a term I use when you would rather stay miserable where you are than make more for yourself and your life. Let’s say you decide to step outside your comfort zone and you start to look for a different job. Now, this job can be one of 3 things: 1). A job that you are capable of doing that you enjoy and that you can make the same wage. 2). A job that pays less, but has a much more relaxed atmosphere, is better for your health, maybe closer to home, that you will be happier doing, and it still pays the bills, or 3). A job that pays more money AND you are happier going to work. Whichever decision you make, you my friend have just leveled up. You stepped out of your comfort zone, took a chance, and stopped settling to make more of a life for yourself.
The same holds true in relationships. Yes we are going to talk about relationships again. Let’s look at this leveling up scenario. You are in a relationship with someone you love very much. They however, don’t feel the same. They love being with you, love what you do for them, love what you buy them, and love the time you give to them, but they don’t want the commitment. In fact, when you are with them, it is more about them than it is ever about you. You are confused by all this, you know you are a good catch because you have heard it more than a handful of times and you are fully capable of taking care of yourself. You have raised your child successfully, you have a decent job, a cute rental house, good friends, you’re outdoorsy and fun, and you are also super cute. So what’s the problem? Well, they are the problem. You finally realize that you deserve more and you decide to leave. You have given it your best shot for a year now with no glimpse of the situation improving to your benefit, so you might as well take this time to improve you. As soon as you leave you decide to focus all that attention you were giving to this person back on yourself. You join a recreational sports team, you reconnect with friends, you continue your diet and exercise plan, and are anxiously planning your vacation to Maui where you undoubtedly look and feel better than you ever have, in your bikini’s. You did it, and all for you! You my friend have just leveled up! You are no longer dumbing it down for anyone, because you know your worth and refuse to settle for less than that. The person you meet next will have to meet you at your level or be above the level your currently hold. Leveling up requires others that choose to be your partner to level up as well. That’s how it works.
Just like I said in the definition. When you level up, life becomes lighter, your worth grows, your confidence grows, you walk differently, talk differently, and glow differently. You create a better world for yourself. All your accomplishments ignite an energy that you and everyone else can feel. You can actually shed light on others that are stagnant and they too can grow. It spreads like positivity. Negativity extinguishes when there is nothing but positivity surrounding it. This creates a world leveled up. We should all aspire to have this. It is indeed contagious.
Leveling up works in most areas of your life. It is all about taking what you have and making it better. You don’t need degrees or special training to level up and it isn’t about status, it is about achieving goals and living your best life. Every time you set a goal and achieve it, you level up. Why on earth should anyone settle for mediocre when you yourself have the power to be better if you put in a little effort. What could you do to level up in your life? Think about that question as we move into Goal Setting ~ The Process.
Goal Setting ~ The process
Choose some goals for yourself. What can you do to improve your way of life? When looking at this I want you to image what your best life looks like. Would you like to travel more? Lose weight? Buy an RV or a boat? Save money for a better retirement? Buy a vacation house? Have money in savings for emergencies or spur of the moment getaways? Would you like to be debt free? Do you want to go back to college and work on a degree? Want a better job? Do you want to start your own business? You name it, no goal is too big. If you want something take the steps to attain it. Here are some basics you can do per goal.
- Travel More/Save money for retirement/RV or Boat/Emergency account: Start saving money. Start a separate savings account and title it: TRIPS/RV/Boat/Retirement/Emergency whatever the case may be. Every paycheck transfer what you can afford into that account. Then get a calendar and plan some trips/set a goal date for purchase/or goal for retirement account. The visual of a savings account and seeing the goals on your calendar will help you better achieve this goal. Once you do, you level up.
- Lose Weight: Start researching weight-loss tips for your lifestyle. Try not to do fad diets, they never last long (in my opinion). Find something sustainable for your lifestyle and just do it. Set a date, set a goal weight, shop, meal prep, and start your journey. Once you achieve your goal, you level up.
- Debt Free: Write down all your debt, ALL OF IT. Then decide how much money you can put toward that debt each month and how long it will take you to pay off at that rate. My idea is to pay all the minimum payments due on each debt owed to get caught up. THEN, take the smaller accounts and pay them off first. This lessens the number of debts you have. THEN, start paying a larger dollar amount on the larger debts to get them paid off and before you know it, you will be debt free. Cars, homes, student debt are different debts… Those will take longer. I am talking about credit card and small loans which you can pay off faster. Once you do, you level up.
- Back to School: If going back to school is your goal, do it! You are never too old to get a degree, especially if that degree can lead to you making more money in a job. Do it! Apply for financial aid and any grants you can get first. Then go for a student loan if you don’t have the funds available to pay for it now. Just remember it is a good chunk of money you will have to repay so make sure the benefits are worth it. Then head back to school. Once you obtain that degree, you level up.
- Better Job/Business: We just talked about this briefly in the relationship section, but getting a better paying job that pays you what you are worth and also one that you enjoy is literally living your best life. Only apply for jobs you are qualified for (degree wise) and that pay better than what you are making as well as that fit with your core values. Then wait for the interviews to come and the offers. Then congratulations, you have just leveled up.
Proof It Works
You want proof it works? I am proof. As with all my blogs/podcasts, I include something I have experienced in them so its more personal and not just something I studied, it is something I have lived. A couple weeks ago I left a relationship I was in that wasn’t serving a positive purpose in my life anymore. Yes, I loved her, but it wasn’t reciprocated so I made the choice to leave. Since then, I started taking better care of me. Physically and mentally with continued nutrition, workouts, prayer, and positivity. I applied for my license in WA state as a Mental Health Therapist, joined my old softball team, started applying for licensed therapist jobs, reconnected with old high school friends and even met them out for drinks and conversation, started this blog/podcast, started looking for a new place to live in a new city, presented for a position with the Snohomish County Suicide Prevention Task Force, met up with a colleague at her house for dinner with her and her husband, and started really enjoying time alone reading and catching up on shows. Here is where I leveled up: I continue to gain strength and weight-loss with my diet and exercise, I played 2nd base for two games (I have never played 2nd base in all my years of softball, I only pitched) and I actually loved it and went 3 for 4 in hitting, I received my WA State License as a Mental Health Therapist, I landed an offer for a job and am awaiting a 2nd offer within the next couple days (both will put me over a 6 figure income), my blog/podcast is now being read/heard in 13 countries, my conversations with old friends have been both heartwarming and therapeutic, I was selected as a member of the Suicide Prevention Task Force, I got a new friend, my colleagues husband, who is absolutely amazing, I have met numerous friends online through social media that I have regular contact with now, I have finished two series and am halfway through another book, and I am looking at houses in the area of the job I hope to take. I have done all of this in two weeks. I have rediscovered me and my worth. I have a closer to connection to God. I am happier than I have ever been and all because I made a choice to not stay complacent and not settle for less that I deserve. Yes, it is scary to put yourself out there, but to me it is scarier to stay in a place of mediocre when you were born to level up to a place of worth. Earlier when I discussed accomplishing feats and growing on different levels….I have leveled up financially, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and energetically. These are those levels. What could be better than that? I honestly can’t think of anything, but if I do, I will level up to that as well. Nothing can stop me now.
Remember, the only thing standing between you and your goals, are you. You want a better life, go get it. Take the road that is bumpy and enjoy every bump along the way, it will all be worth it. Leveling up takes work. It takes time, commitment, patience, and perseverance, but it is all worth it in the end. Not only does it challenge you, but it also rewards you in more ways than ever: financially, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and energetically. What are you waiting for? This life is yours… Go actually live it! .. and….