5 Limiting Beliefs You Must Let Go to Succeed

9814313166_dbff618633_b

There’s so much to look forward to. A new year. A fresh start. You’ve set goals for the new year and the future looks bright.

However, the beliefs you have may be the roadblocks that will prevent you from achieving your goals.

These beliefs are so common, it’s easy to accept them and write them off as normal thoughts to have. They can be so overpowering that they can lead people to live unhappy and unfulfilled lives.

Turn your back on the following beliefs so you can work toward success with even more focus.

1. Your goals are impossible.

The reality is your goals are possible. The path to making them happen may not be crystal clear, but that doesn’t mean you can’t pave your own way. It won’t be easy. You’ll have to work hard and take risks to make your unparalleled vision come to life. But if it’s your dream, none of that should matter. Right? Anything worth having is worth working for. You can find a way to make it happen. It’ll be worth it.

2. You need to be comfortable.

Staying within your comfort zone will minimize your growth. Chances are, your end goal is something you’ve never done before, something completely outside of your comfort zone. Take risks and put yourself out in the world to create your own path to success. It’ll be scary and you may sometimes not know what to expect, but you won’t get any closer to achieving your goals by being comfortable. Take a step or two out of your box and begin stepping toward success.

3. You have to make everyone happy.

Not everyone will agree with what you do and not everyone will be happy with your decisions. People will feel the need to tell you what to do. They will have expectations of what they think you should do, and they won’t hesitate to let you know if you aren’t meeting those expectations. No matter what, people will find reasons to be disappointed with you.

You must remember to make decisions that meet your own expectations, that make you happy and fulfilled, that you believe will help you achieve your own vision of success.

4. You should never be selfish.

The decision to pursue your own interests and personal development may come off as selfish. Friends and family may give you a hard time for this. Some may even feel neglected that you chose to focus on yourself instead of giving them all of your time. “Stop thinking only about yourself,” they’ll say. But how else do you expect to make any progress toward achieving your goals? You must take time to yourself and be selfish every now and then to succeed.

This doesn’t mean you should always work with only your interests in mind. You should definitely think about others as you continue to work toward success. There will be people supporting you and helping you as you achieve your goals. Remember to show your appreciation for them. You may be pursuing success, but don’t forget them.

5. You don’t matter.

There’s a lot of noise in the world. With pictures and updates on Instagram and Twitter and Facebook, everyone appears to be doing, or is attempting to do, remarkable things. Don’t get lost in that noise.

Focus on what you’re doing. Your personal journey toward success is not insignificant because, as you work towards success, you will influence and inspire the people around you. Whether the effect be large or small, inspiration causes ripples. The work you do to become successful may not change the world, but it may change someone’s life.

Don’t sell yourself or your capabilities short. Your journey toward succeed is more significant than you think.

It’s your turn.

Are we missing something? What beliefs do you feel are holding you back? What limiting belief are you working to let go of?

Share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment below.

logo50

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive weekly inspiration to your inbox!

Photo source: Karl Orotea

Your College Degree Does Not Define You: A First-Hand Experience

This article takes from my personal experience as a graduate with a chemistry degree who plans on pursuing entrepreneurship and writing. I hope that through this article I can provide insight as to life after the decision and encourage you to do work you enjoy. Your degree doesn’t define you. Do not let it define your choices. Find more of my posts at davidlykhim.com.

I graduated with a degree I don’t plan on using. I’ll admit I considered not finishing the degree and switching to a different major, but I didn’t. Now, I have a pretty piece of paper that my parents paid $100,000 for me to obtain, with no plans of putting the credential to use.

Many students don’t quite understand why they’re learning about things they don’t care for. It’s a common problem that college students and graduates face.

A public health student has plans of going to medical school but longs to pursue a singing career. A biology student who stresses about class all the time wishes to become a photographer. A business major who expects to become an accountant actually wants to study psychology and criminology and do social work to help the community.

Are you doing what you want to do?

While some will stick to a plan they don’t like, others will decide to make a change, to change their field of study or pursue what they enjoy. I consider myself a member of the latter group. I finished my chemistry degree, but I am instead pursuing a life of entrepreneurship.

Since graduation, I’ve had numerous encounters that went along these lines:

Person: “What did you major in?”
Me: “Chemistry.”
Person: “Are you looking for a job in chemistry?”
Me: “Not really.”
Person: “Do you plan on going to grad school?”
Me: “That isn’t the plan, no.”
Person: “Do you want to work in a lab?”
Me: “I’ve worked in one, but I learned that it isn’t for me.”

I admit that I had considered dropping out of school on multiple occasions. There came a point when I felt that being in school limited my growth instead of nurturing it. It was frustrating. Before that, I realized I no longer wanted to pursue a career with my major, chemistry. I wanted to dance, to write, to start a business, to do something that made me feel alive–something that gave me a sense of purpose.

There came a point when I felt that being in school limited my growth instead of nurturing it.

Some of our readers who have graduated may understand, and those still in school are facing the same dilemma.

It’s the social norm to believe that you’re supposed to get a job related to your degree. Business and economics majors believe they’re supposed to get accounting jobs. Biology majors believe they’re supposed to take the medical or research route. Humanities majors are often told that teaching is probably their only option. The truth is, they don’t have to take any route specified by anyone but themselves.

It’s frightening to think that you may spend four or five years in college to obtain a degree that you won’t end up using, but it happens. When it does, you can force yourself to continue work in a field you don’t enjoy, or you can do something different.

This is what life has been like with my decisions, and how I approach my own situation.

Most People Don’t Understand or Approve

After graduating, I moved back in with my parents to save money and was faced with these two questions from them on a daily basis:

(1) When are you going to graduate school?
(2) When are you getting a job with your degree?

They don’t quite understand my position and reasoning for my post-grad decisions. My choices don’t make sense and even appear childish to them. Why get a chemistry degree, but not use it?

After some frustration, I’ve realized that they probably won’t ever completely grasp my mindset because they’re from a very different background and generation.

My parents immigrated to the United States with essentially nothing, and their well-being depended on money. Having money meant having food and shelter and being able to provide for their children. To my parents, having money epitomized success and happiness.

For my parents and many others like them, the end goal was the same as ours: success and happiness. The difference is that the definitions of both terms have drastically evolved over a few decades.

To my parents’ generation, life was not about achieving the fulfillment that my generation hopes for. Their idea of fulfillment and happiness meant having a job, being able to pay the bills, feeding their families, and surviving. Financial stability was seen as the magic bullet that would end all their problems.

In modern times, a career in science can almost be directly equated to financial stability. For this reason, my decision to not pursue a career in a scientific field has been met with my all-time favorite one-liner:

Stop wasting your time.

I understand this generational gap (for the most part) and I’ve accepted that my parents won’t really understand how I will lead my life. I’ve accepted that I may continue to disappoint and frustrate them by not putting my degree to use. I know that although it’s difficult now, in the end, as long as I’m happy, my parents will be happy.

Outside the realm of family, society has its own less-accepting view of the concept. It’s not a common idea to spend a small fortune to obtain a degree and not use it. Society may even look down on it because it isn’t normal. It doesn’t make sense. It’s not what you’re supposed to do.

I know that although it’s difficult now, in the end, as long as I’m happy, my parents will be happy.

david with tassel photo

If you decide that your degree isn’t for you, keep your friends close. They will be your pillars of support when you need it most. My closest friends have seen me at my lowest of lows and have played a large factor in keeping me motivated to keep pursuing my own idea of fulfillment.

You may feel like you wasted time your time and others will reinforce this feeling. It’s understandable. You might not realize it, but you have gained many valuable skills through the process of obtaining your degree.

Through college, I didn’t just get a degree. I learned how to critically analyze problems to find a solution, how to focus my attention on a goal, how to talk to people in large groups, and how to conduct research in addition to picking up a bunch of random skills along the way. Likewise, even if you don’t plan on using your degree, your college education was definitely not a waste of time.

You may feel like you wasted time your time and others will reinforce this feeling.

Much of what I’ve encountered is a lack of understanding from others. Most people will not get why you do the things you do. They won’t understand that what you do makes you feel fulfilled and alive.

Most people won’t understand how it makes you feel because they haven’t yet experienced it themselves.

My Mindset to Become Fulfilled

I’m constantly filled with fear. I rarely ever know how my decisions will play out and it frightens me. It’s sometimes paralyzing to realize that my future isn’t set in stone and that each decision I’m faced with will play a factor in my future success or failure. I don’t allow this fear to keep me from taking action, though. I continue to make moves and make decisions knowing that I can always adjust my route if things go horribly wrong. I’m not trying to avoid failure.

The only person responsible for my future success and failures is myself, and I’m okay with that–I actually prefer it. I don’t want to take someone else’s advice only to find that it didn’t work for me and end up bitter. I would rather fail as a result of my own choices and decisions.

Although I don’t know exactly what I will do with my life, I know how I am going to live it:

I’m going to pursue what I’m interested in, what makes me feel fulfilled, and what allows me to help people. I’m working to become the person that I want to be, not the person others expect or tell me to be. I’m trying to become someone that I would personally look up to.

Through this mindset, I rest assured because I know that, in the end, I will be fulfilled in whatever I do. This empowers me. It keeps me driven to continue working hard each day.

Likewise, don’t be scared to work toward a life of fulfillment and happiness that you define by yourself. It’s going to be difficult, but don’t let that stop you.

Don’t be afraid to change your major to something you would actually enjoy studying. If you decide to finish up your degree, don’t hesitate to do work that you enjoy, even if it doesn’t pertain to your degree. You will have less regret attempting something you enjoy and failing than had you not attempted it at all.

On the other hand, you will greatly regret pursuing something that you don’t enjoy, that you forced yourself to do, that doesn’t make you happy.

Neither your degree nor your major define who you are or what you are capable of doing. Don’t let yourself be restricted by your degree. If you find work that makes you feel fulfilled, pursue it. Find a way to make it your life.

You deserve to do work that you enjoy.

Get exclusive updates about future blog posts just like this one. Subscribe to our newsletter!

logo50

Did you like that article? Subscribe to our newsletter to receive weekly inspiration to your inbox!
Photo source: Fotofillic

8 Steps to Succeed After Failure

happysunset

This is the second-half of a two-part series about turning failures into stepping stones for success.

Last week we discussed the mentality you need to succeed after failure and we went over the tools you’ll need to help you succeed.

Now that you have the tools and know what not to do,  I can tell you how to succeed after failure.

So you’ve just failed. You want to ball up and cry and mourn about the time and effort you wasted. Do what you need to do, but you can’t keep that up for long if you want to succeed. Keep it together.

key to suucess

The 8 Steps:

1. Give yourself a set amount of time to recuperate. Set a specified period of “mourning” time during which you can wallow in your sorrow. Cry it out, gorge on your favorite ice cream, spend time with your friends, and vent if you need to. Just know that you’re going to be okay and that you’re going to bounce back up.

When that time ends, recalibrate your mindset to move on. Your time can range from five minutes, to a few days, or a week. Just decide on a time frame and stick with it.

2. Remain positive. Remember that you learn something new with each failure. You may gain new skills along the way and learn what not to do. Now you can detour and begin a new plan, meaning you’re still making progress toward your goal. You’re one step closer to succeeding–not one step behind.

You’re one step closer to succeeding–not one step behind.

3. Reflect. You may be angry and sad and disappointed, but try not to let yourself stay in that mindset. Accept what happened and keep moving forward. Ask yourself these two questions:

  • What could I have done differently?

  • Was it out of my control?

Ask for feedback from the people you can trust, they can provide you with additional (and more objective) perspectives that can help you look at the situation from another angle.

Think of reflection like driving. You make small, minor adjustments while you drive on the highway to stay in your lane and continue driving straight. You don’t wait until you’re out of your lane and swerve back in–you might cause an accident.

As with “mourning” time, set a time limit for reflection. You don’t want to get stuck in reflection–it may  lead to sulking.

4. Don’t blame anyone. It’s important to reflect without shame and without blame. Don’t be ashamed of the failure and don’t blame yourself or anyone else. It’s instinctive to want to direct the blame at a person, but that isn’t constructive. Feeling shame and finding someone to blame won’t help you get closer to your goal.

If you want to blame yourself, remember that it is not your failures that define you, it’s how you react to failure.

Failure is an event, never a person; an attitude, not an outcome. – Zig Ziglar

5. Be open to making changes. You may have to change your mindset, your approach, or even your goal. Every time you fail, you will reflect and learn, and you will have to apply your new knowledge to your situation. This may mean redrafting your plan and refocusing your goals.

6. Take action. This is likely the most difficult step. It’s easy–and normal–to feel paralyzed after failing. It’s easy to sit around and sulk or get stuck in reflection when there’s nothing left to reflect on. The fear of failure may often frighten you enough to not take action.

When this happens, you worry more about preparation in an effort to avoid failing again. You may want to prepare so that you start back off on the right foot. Don’t worry about starting back off on the right foot. Just focus on starting again. You’ll learn as you go.

“The fastest way to succeed is to double your rate of failure.” –  Thomas Watson

7. Try something new. This is open to your interpretation. You may have to try a new approach, experiment with new methods, and/or create a new plan from scratch.  Perhaps you can reach your goal through a different medium, in a different setting, or in another field.

This may seem counter-intuitive. However, if you try new things, you’ll put yourself in a new environment and you’ll learn about other perspectives. You’ll learn new methods of thinking. Then, when you return to your main goal, you’ll be refreshed with new tactics and new ideas.

You may even find that you’re very interested in that new thing you tried.

The last step is the most important.

8. Don’t give up. If you’re truly working hard and you’re truly taking the time to reflect, and learn, and adapt after the each, then good. Don’t give up. Most of the time, success isn’t about being the best, or networking the most, or working the hardest–it’s not even about being the most passionate. Most of the time, it’s just about not giving up.

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” – Confucius.

success-1

Success is not an end goal. It’s a journey.

When you do succeed, remember to continue embracing risk. Stay hungry for more improvement, and stay humble. Do not get comfortable with where you’re at. Redefine your goals and continue to fail and learn.

logo50

Image sources:

Deviant Art

Wisdom Petals

Meg Murph – What Successful Community Managers Do Every Morning of Their Workday

Develop this Mentality to Succeed After Failing

successahead

This is the first of two posts concerning the idea of turning a failure into a stepping stone toward success.

“You need to fail before you succeed.” This statement is echoed in a number of  motivational speeches, articles about celebrities, and there are plenty of blog posts covering the idea of learning from your experiences.

For many of us, the idea that “failure is a precursor to success” has been repeated over and over like a song that you can’t get out of your head–it can get a bit annoying.

It can get annoying because maybe you’ve already learned what failure is and maybe you’re still trying to understand how to turn a failure into a stepping stone toward success.

Personally, when I fail I want to roll up into a ball, spoon with a tub of mint and chip ice cream, and watch Breaking Bad on Netflix all day. I don’t, though (I swear). That’s the wrong way to fail.

To save you the time and trouble, I’m going to tell you the right way to fail.

Walt Disney was a Failure

To start with an example of failure, Walt Disney comes to mind. Surprise! The one and only Walt Disney was someone who was seen as a failure before he became successful. Disney’s very first effort at animation went bankrupt and he lost the rights to his first commercially successful character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. After such a loss, he could have easily thrown his hands in the air, said “to hell with it,” and given up on animation altogether–but he didn’t. He had faith, and eagerly continued working in animation.

waltdisney

What’s truly remarkable is that Disney didn’t just persevere after failure; he continued to embrace risk even after achieving success.

Many of us would relish in our success and become content. We would avoid the risk of losing everything we had worked to gain. Disney, on the other hand, borrowed against his own life insurance policy to fund the construction of Disneyland. That’s how much risk he was willing to embrace. He didn’t allow himself to settle down with success and he wouldn’t have minded if he failed again.

We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths. – Walt Disney

Walt Disney, as we can now see, had the right mindset to succeed and did so. Let’s delve a little more into the idea of failure.

What is your definition of failure?

How do you know when you’ve failed? What do you believe are the characteristics of failure? Is it when you don’t live up to your expectations? Is it when you don’t believe you’ve performed to the best of your abilities? Or is it when you don’t live up to someone else’s expectations?

There isn’t a wrong answer to this. You have your own unique definition of failure and it’s important to know what you consider a failure so you can gauge your successes against your failures.

What did you do the last time you failed?

Honestly, I’m guilty of avoiding human interaction. I would habitually shut the world out. I don’t do those things anymore, though. Other times, I would hit the gym, go for a run, or make a cup of tea and read a book.

What do you find yourself doing after a failure?

You have to be brutally honest with yourself here. If you realize that you have a habit of doing something that’s physically, mentally, and/or emotionally unhealthy, you’ve got to admit it to yourself and prevent yourself from doing it next time.

What You Should NOT Do After a Failure

There’s a right way and a wrong way to fail. According to this article, the wrong ways to fail are:

  • To deny that you failed at all

  • To try to make up for your losses

  • To convince yourself that the mistake doesn’t matter or reinterpret the failure as a success

It’s human instinct to try to avoid failure after experiencing it. Failure is frustrating and it hits us where it hurts most, our ego. However, when you avoid failure, it means you avoid risk. When you avoid risk, you avoid doing new things that could end up amazing. You avoid success, and in doing so, you limit yourself.

For many of us, when the going gets tough the easiest thing to do is give up. In the hopes of lessening the blow that failure delivers to our ego, we may even tell ourselves “Who cares? It’s not that important anyway.” While you may be able to convince yourself of that in the short term, if it’s something that’s truly important to you, you’re the one that’s going to care.

It’s better to lead a life in which you attempt to achieve something you truly believe in and fail, than live a lifetime filled with the regret of never trying.

If you give up, one day you’re going to be up late one night reflecting on your life, and you’ll realize that you gave up on something you believed in. You’re going to regret giving up. You’re going to regret it because you know that it was something you could have achieved, yet you let your fear of failing get the best of you.

It’s Not Just About Getting UP After You Fall.

If you want to succeed, then you must be persistent. Much like Walt Disney, you have to keep moving forward. You have to tell yourself, “Okay, I failed, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to give up. Giving up isn’t an option.”

Failure doesn’t mean that you’re a failure… it just means that you haven’t succeeded yet. – Robert Schuler

When you let yourself down–when you fail–you have to pick yourself back up and reflect. Why did you fall? What could you have been done differently? Then you apply what you learned and you continue on again. Knowing that it won’t be the last time you fall, but with each fall you’ll learn something new. Trial and error until you succeed.

Success

However, keep in mind that getting up is more than just getting up. Some people fall, but don’t learn from their mistakes. Each step they take afterward is accompanied with the fear of falling again. But you can’t be scared. You have to be willing to fall over and over again. And when you fall, don’t crawl back up to your feet–bounce back up and be ready to take on whatever life throws at you next.

Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm. – Sir Winston Churchill

You have to accept that you’re going to fail and you have to be open to learning and changing your approach and your mentality.

It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it in the end.

Build a Safe Space That Isn’t Fail-Safe

To bounce up, you’ll need some tools to build your safe space. A safe space isn’t a fail-safe space. If it is, then that means you aren’t challenging yourself.

You need a safe space where you can fail without the fear of anything watching or judging–therefore you won’t hold yourself back from any risk.

(Hint: your safe space isn’t a physical location; it’s in your mindset.)

The tools you need to build this safe space:

Make sure these tools are solid! The more solid your tools, the stronger your safe space is.

Remember that success is about accepting that you’re going to fail, but being willing to change your approach and go at it again. It’s about hard work and adapting and persistence.

In part 2, we’ll discuss the specific steps to take to succeed after a failure. Please stay tuned!

logo50

Image sources:

Fulfilling Happiness – Top 10 Success Quotes Interpreted
The Walt Disney Company – About Disney
Cory Nikkel – Succeeding Isn’t Always Success

From Pre-Med to Fashion: A Story of Sacrifice and Fulfillment

productdevelopment

One day you’re applying for college. The next day, you’re in your first undergraduate class.

It’s crazy.

You’ve chosen your major. You think life is set once you finish undergrad and get into graduate school. You intern, you network, you try hard—really hard—because mentors tell you that that’s the way to success. You’re doing what you’re “supposed” to do, and your friends are doing it too–interning, taking the MCAT, the GRE, conducting undergraduate research, etc.

Like a robot, you get through your days like this. You think the road to making it big is a straight line, and you’re confident that, as long as you follow this line, you’ll also make big bucks somewhere later down the road.

582277_1756919276876_1535265973_nYou’re young, energetic, hopeful, and ambitious to succeed. You’ve heard of other people’s successes, seen your parents get ahead, and have shadowed professionals for years. Now it’s your turn, but why is it so hard when you’re the one trying to figure yourself out? It’s easy to listen to someone else’s story of how they achieved success, but the journey is tormenting when you’re the one seeking it.

In college, I was shortsighted and saw my life in quarters of a year—three months at a time. I wasn’t able to see past graduation—even if I did think about graduation, I didn’t think about the tough life after it; I wasn’t thinking about the months of unemployment I would face. I didn’t realize that graduation was actually just the beginning of my education. Everything prior to that was just a safe haven.

Let me tell you something about college that took me years to figure out. There are two types of college students – the “lucky ones” and the “unlucky ones.” Many of us don’t find out which category we fit under until after college is over and the world finally puts us up to the test of being a real adult.

The “lucky” ones are the people who go to college and know exactly what they want. They either thought out their lives early on and found what they’re truly passionate about or the path was laid out for them and they decided that that was the path they wanted to travel. Not only do they understand the value of the time they spend in learning about their future career, but they work with a purpose towards a clear goal that will fulfill their definition of success. Everything they have to do to arrive at their endpoint of success is meaningful and worth it.

Then there are the “unlucky” ones—like myself two years ago. We don’t really know what we want to be. We choose a major that sounds good, we go to class just to feel the accomplishment of actually being present in class, and we master the art of procrastination. We intern because it is the right thing to do, but…

…we quickly understand that we have other interests and passions that we would rather spend our time on.

When I first started my undergrad, I thought that I wanted to be a doctor. I chose my major because it sounded cool and the media made health care seem like an exciting world to be in. Slowly, through my first three years of studying math and science, I began to lose sight of medical school. I eventually discovered an open door, and I clearly remember the day when I made the decision to switch from biology to fashion.

I had just arrived home from updating the new intern schedule for the Emergency Room Clinical Care Extender program at St. Mary Medical Center. Tired, and not looking forward to writing my neurobiology lab report, I logged onto Tumblr, with a hot cup of my favorite green tea in hand, hoping to escape to something more exciting for just ten minutes. The cute dress, the YOLO quotes, and the New York Fashion Week photos beckoned me to finally make a Google search for fashion school.

Long story short – I requested more information about FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising) in Downtown Los Angeles, applied, completed my admissions project, and got accepted as a one-year Professional Designation student in Merchandise Product Development.

I was thrilled.

A year later, I am a graduate of both UCI and FIDM with a B.S. in Biological Sciences and an A.A. under my belt. It has been a little over two months since I graduated from FIDM and more than a month that I’ve been an Assistant Product Developer at Forever 21’s headquarters in Los Angeles.

1382415_2200057915065_1566905412_n

I’ll be honest – the journey was tough. At one point, I wanted to give up studying at FIDM. I questioned myself and wondered if the change was what I wanted.

None of my friends were going down the same road that I chose.

Despite the tinge of loneliness that I often felt, I remembered that, one year ago, I was courageous and took the risk of stepping off the usual path. It didn’t occur to me then that the hard work that I thought I had put in for my B.S. was actually nothing compared to the blood and sweat I put in for my A.A. degree.

Since my homework at FIDM was all time-based work–meaning that my work could be completed if I just spent the time on it–I had to stay home all the time.

I said “no” to outings with friends and, on Fridays, I got excited for the weekend only because I had 48 hours to complete my work in peace. My homework required that I sit down at my desk for 10 hours or more on my MacBook. It became a true test of racing time, and I slowly lost myself to the weeks that flew by. I was suffocating because I wasn’t used to the new changes in my life: a different crowd, the chaotic city, and homework that actually mattered.

late-night-highway-through-los-angeles-hdr-292492

Right off the bat, I noticed that I was different than the other students who graduated high school and went straight to FIDM; I had a clear, serious goal and I understood that I only had a year to learn everything that I could about the fashion industry. I became a more proactive student, learning as much as I could in the little time that I had.

My mind was fried every night, but that was nothing compared to how burned my eyes were from staring at the computer screen for long hours. Because I was getting very little sleep each night, I worked on minimal energy and lost my appetite. Sometimes, I even forgot that I had skipped breakfast, lunch, and dinner. After I graduated, I had to re-learn how to eat and act upon my hunger. Slowly, I learned to be hungry again.

Emotionally, I was sad every Friday and Saturday night when I could hear the downtown traffic outside my apartment window. At two in the morning, I could hear people leaving the clubs after seeing a top 100 DJ at Exchange LA. I often wished that I could have the time to be where they were – outside. My usual social life was nonexistent because I would spend any free time I had recovering from the week, but even free time to recover was rare. Because I wasn’t sleeping or giving time to myself, I eventually became a mess.

1381704_2200070395377_2092800689_no

But I don’t regret it. There was no other way around it if I wanted to graduate with honors and show future employers that I was serious about my career change. I wanted to be in the fashion industry.  I was willing to make temporary sacrifices in order to make my life my own.

When I reflect on my accomplishments since I graduated from UCI in June 2012, I am proud of myself for following my gut and doing something that makes me happy to be who I am.

Nope – I am not an engineer, a doctor, a lawyer, or a pharmacist. I am a product developer and fashion designer who took a chance in designing her life and walked away from something she knew would not make her feel alive. Even if it was difficult and lonely, I am very happy that I was able to finally fight for a career and lifestyle that I really wanted. In fact, I am fortunate.

And now—finally—I am able to live it.

logo50

Photo sources: Victoria Karen Lin, Raphael Patricio A, Desktop Nexus

Note: The UP Lab is not affiliated with FIDM.