Life in your twenties and thirties can be confusing. One minute you’re on top of the world, and the next it can feel like pretty much everything is crashing down. I always thought a quarter life crisis was something you had once, like when a middle aged single dad goes through a mid-life crisis and buys a yellow Porsche and takes up tennis and maybe also joins Tinder. Turns out though, the quarter life crisis can strike any time, and tends to show up more often than you’d think.
Even when everything seems perfect – the job, dating, finances – life has a funny way of keeping you on your toes by throwing curveballs at you every once and a while. Lately, for me, I went through a phase of feeling insanely confident, cool, and collected (I almost felt like a real adult!) until all of the sudden one thing after another blew up in my face. The amazing, six figure job opportunity I had been openly celebrating was indefinitely postponed, my super padded bank account quickly drained to not so padded with three weeks of lots of expenses and no income, I got into a car accident with my brand new dream car, and my own business felt stagnant and draining for the first time since I started it. Not the best of times, my friend. For a few days I did what can best be described as the “spiral of shame and sadness” where I sat around in sweatpants drinking discount wine contemplating how utterly f**ked I was. So helpful, am I right?
After a few days of anxiety ridden drama town and panicking about the future, I had a sudden realization that I was most definitely NOT practicing what I preach, and was busy creating more stress for myself instead of finding the opportunity and building an even better life. I kept 5 things in mind, and flipped the script. I’m not even messing with you – everything changed drastically, and it changed fast.
Five things to remember when you feel like everything sucks and you feel like giving up:
1. It’s never as bad as you think
When things go wrong, it always feels really bad. It’s hard to get perspective on exactly how bad things really are. And yes, sometimes things are really really really bad! But, they are really as rough as you think. Try to picture your problems as if it was your best friend or a coworker telling you about something that was going wrong in their own life. What do you sit there with that person and tell them oh my gosh, your life sucks. Everything is terrible and you’re going to fail., Probably not! So look at your problems through the lens of a helpful bystander: gain some perspective and realize that even though it feels like it, it’s probably not the end of the world.
2. Curveballs are almost always a hidden opportunity
You know the old “wherever a door closes a window opens, right? It might sound ridiculous, but it really is true. The universe has a way of sending us sometimes very hidden opportunities, usually in the form of failures, problems, and disaster. If you look back on everything that has gone wrong in your life I guarantee you you will find a lot of instances in which if that thing hadn’t happened, you wouldn’t have achieved something wonderful. Start poking around with in your problem to try to find that had an opportunity… It’s in there somewhere, whether big or small.
3. Your mindset right now is what will dictate what your future looks like
I’m not saying you shouldn’t follow a little bit. It’s not fair to pretend you don’t feel shitty when you do. So feel those feelings and then snap the hell out of it. Remember that the way that you feel, think, and act right now is what is going to shape the next stage of your life. It really is true that stress, anxiety, and sadness doesn’t help you build a better life at all and really just makes you feel worse. Once you’ve processed your feelings about your setback, figure out something that you can do to get your head back on straight. Whether it’s taking a little bit OK, spending time with friends, or just doing anything that makes you feel good…do that.
4. Nobody can control your life but you. You da boss.
Most of the time the traffic goes wrong in our lives feels like it’s someone else’s fault. The hiring manager screwed you over for the position, your credit cards took a massive chunk of your money, your teacher has something against you… Basically, a lot of people really aren’t that great and don’t have a positive impact on your life, but the truth is that nobody really controls your life but you. That doesn’t mean that you should feel guilty about things kind of sucking right now! It means that you have an amazing opportunity to now craft exactly the kind of life that you want. Use what we talked about earlier and find the opportunity in your setback and use that as a catalyst to build your dream life right now.
5. It gets better. And better. And better.
It will get better. Remember that. And the great thing is, once it does, it will get better and better and better and better! I believe that we have to go through the low points to gain perspective and to get our engines revving to gain momentum to get up to the top. If you’re always floating around in Happyland, you’re probably going to lose some of that motivation and drive to succeed. Use this chance to do the opposite of giving up – go at your goals full force, with everything you have. If you give it enough passion, purpose, and intent you are guaranteed to succeed. Just keep in mind that success a lot of times comes in a different form than we are expecting.
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