Finals. Job interviews. Deadlines. Promotions. What seems like an unending cycle of stress, it feels like the whole world is bearing down on you.
You feel like you aren’t doing enough. Do you feel lost?
I for one feel that way at times. Being in law school, the world seems to be going at 200 miles per hour and I always find myself focusing on the finish line and not the present. Being around so many successful and smart people pushes me to succeed at all cost. My first year at law school I didn’t get much sleep, my body always ached, and I barely ate. This mismanagement of my body led to bouts of anxiety and migraines. I didn’t listen to my body. I didn’t set myself up for success.
But I learned a lot through that experience, and I had the privilege to talk to Bill Lennan of HAERT about this very topic. He has a unique experience navigating from career to career. Bill, who works in the tech industry, didn’t have a background in tech when he got his first tech job. He started off his career editing videos and fixing car engines. Entering the tech world was a daunting and scary feat. He dealt with working in the uncomfortable. This means taking on jobs and positions he felt unprepared and unqualified for. He felt his past roles were so much smaller and didn’ts prepare him for what he had to face. Through these experiences, Bill helped pioneer the HAERT program.
HAERT is a program that teaches happiness, self-awareness, and emotional resilience training. This program’s main goal is to teach people the skills and strategies needed to manage stress and anxiety, and most of all, “thrive in the chaos of life.”
So how can you be the healthiest and best version of yourself? Ready to find out what you can do? We share 4 crucial tips that you should keep in your back pocket.
Being honest with yourself is one of the first and most crucial steps in building healthy habits. What does that mean? It’s taking a break when you feel your head starting to hurt. It’s getting an extra hour of sleep when you worked 12 hours the previous day. It’s asking for help when you need it. Listening to your body in turn, allows you to be a better version of yourself.
Talking with Bill, he mentioned that it’s so crucial to build a library of coping mechanisms that help you deal with the stressors of life. Such things as going for a walk, exercising, breathing exercises, or even a stream of conscience could help your mind relax. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed for example, creating a resume, or preparing for an interview. You feel like you are over your head or lost and the anxious feelings start creeping up. Sometimes you just need to take a step back, breathe, and then go back at it. Having a plan set when you start feeling overwhelmed can help you get in the right mindset.
When I start feeling anxious and my skin gets hot, I take a quick break, write down how I am feeling in my notes section of my phone and breathe. This helps me get out everything going through my head and allows me to visually read how I am feeling. 9 times out of 10, I read it and think to myself, “you are good Nick.”
We all have a tendancy of being hard on ourselves. We are our own biggest critic. We believe we aren’t doing enough. We believe we can do more. As mentioned in Bills 3 legged stool model, “Beliefs can be Empowering or Limiting.”
Speaking with Bill, we both agreed that we are the type of people who never feel satisfied. We accomplish one thing and feel like there is more work to be done. Instead of celebrating each accomplishment along the way, our mind is set only at the finish line. Every step of the way, either it be going to school, drafting a resume, prepping for an interview, or preparing for a meeting, that is an accomplishment. You are proactively bettering yourself, investing in yourself, and doing the work. Even if this feels like such a small accomplishment, acknowledge it.
This is exactly what I am working on. I have a tendency to never feel satisfied and not celebrate my achievements. I always look to what is next. This builds unnecessary stress and anxiety. So, to help me with this, Bill suggested I write down three things every morning that I wanted to accomplish for the day. It could be something as small as “wash my clothes.” At the end of the day, if I did it, cross it off the list. If I couldn’t get to it, think about what held me back.
However, by just crossing out “wash my clothes,” I realized that it was the first time I really took the time to congratulate myself. Find what works for you. Ease up on yourself. You are doing great. Just remember to tell yourself that.
You may feel like you are standing in a room surrounded by people way above you. You feel little amongst “giants”. Out of place.
I felt that way my first year in law school. Bill felt that way working in tech after several career changes. So what do you do? First ask yourself, what do I want to achieve? After you answer that question, you then ask yourself, what do I need to achieve it? This is where curiosity comes into play. “You can leverage curiosity to find and learn new skills.”
Curiosity means asking questions, sending LinkedIn requests, public speaking, and using feedback from others. The beauty of this process is that it could lead you somewhere you didn’t even in a million years imagine.
Many of our anxious and depressed feelings come from the notion that we want to do something and just don’t know how to do it. The reality is, many of the things we want to accomplish in life is defined by a skill. A skill that we can learn.
Bill wanted to improve his public speaking skills. What did he do? He booked events where he would speak to groups of people. This is just like having an interest in a specific field, finding a person on LinkedIn, and sending them a message. You are putting yourself out to the world, getting your name recognized, and most importantly, just being curious. .
Change is something everyone fears. We get used to routine and comfort. However, life is not linear. Some people are fortunate to find their career at the start, but that is not everyone. I thought I wanted to be a physical therapist and ended up in law school. Bill went from editing videos, to rebuilding car engines, to coding. Everyone works on their own timeline.
It is so easy to look at people around you and feel like you are behind. Remember, you are not. You are on your own path. While you are on your own path, there are several things you can do.
First off, future proof yourself. This idea ties in with being curious. You want to build skills that not only give you career freedom but make you the ultimate investment. You can always learn more. Find out how other people work so you can optimize it. Look into a multitude of opportunities, nibble on it, ask questions, network, and invest in relationships. This ensures you are a multifaceted, do-it-all type of person. You may feel like you aren’t qualified or not good enough, but the skills could be learned on the job.
Secondly, as already mentioned, invest in relationships. It is so important to have an advisor, a mentor, or someone in your field of work you can reach out to. Having these connections can help take the heavy burden off your shoulders, give you guidance, and ultimately peace of mind that you are just fine.
And that is it. Just remember that you are awesome. You got this. Take care of yourself.
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