Sometimes we all need to take some time out to reassess life, evaluate our goals and just breathe. Our guest blogger Jesse Akister gives us some insight into her last six months of getting out of her comfort zone, being vulnerable, building meaningful relationships and giving herself the space to dream.
In Jan 2018 I sold everything I owned and moved from Dubai, my home of 11 years, back to Australia. I had no plan other than to give myself space to dream.
I spent January through April travelling, training and spending quality time with my family. I wanted to to focus on rebuilding my relationship with my parents and addressing wounds from my childhood (we all have them).
Unexpectedly in late April, while on holiday, I was offered a position running a CrossFit program for a group of gyms in Dubai that I couldn’t refuse. Two weeks later I packed a suitcase and moved back.
I didn’t know I would be back in Dubai when I left in January. I did know that I needed space and time at home. It was terrifying. Leaving everything I had built over a decade to go to the unknown.
The time in Australia healed old wounds that I had been ignoring my whole adult life. Outside of my comfort zone, I was reminded that I actually am good at what I do. I met people aligned with my passion who are now close friends. I had time to dream and train, and play in a way I had never made space for before.
Things that were reinforced during this self-imposed timeout from life:
Spend time in self-reflection, really assessing what matters. What do you value most? What gives your life purpose? What makes your soul sing? When you understand these things about yourself you can make good choices on how you spend your time. I was reading the book Grit, by Angela Duckworth, a while ago and she talks about people with Grit being solely focused on their purpose. They don’t stick to one thing forever even if it failed, but they knew their purpose and if something they started no longer served their purpose they could let it go without any attachment. If you aren’t aware of your purpose you can’t make these judgement calls, everything will feel important. To know that requires self-awareness.
Learn to say ‘No.’ This can be saying no to opportunities or to relationships. I’ve noticed in the past few years that saying no to opportunities that don’t align with my purpose isn’t the hard bit. The challenge for most people is saying no to relationships that don’t elevate me.
That old gem ‘You are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with.’ Really think about that. Who are you giving your time to? Do they elevate you and empower you to be your best self? One of my best friends sat me down when I was looking at my options for work, and he said ‘If you take this opportunity but stop working towards your goal I will personally harass you every day.’ He was calling me forth, reminding me he wouldn’t allow me to settle. Do your people do that for you?
Get comfortable with vulnerability. Tell your parents how you feel about them, tell your friends you love them, talk about your fears, dreams and failures. This is the foundation for long meaningful relationships. Let people in, love hard, accept that you are imperfect. Realise that sometimes you are going to fail, and that’s ok. Take that first step anyway if your gut says it's right. Because you are greater than your fears.
Jesse Akister is an experienced CrossFit athlete turned elite Powerlifter. She is also a coach and ambassador for women in strength sports. Lover of chocolate, coffee and authentic people, Jesse loves to inspire women to be strong. Follow Jesse @jesseakister.
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