Long before I ever considered working for myself, I stumbled upon an image on Pinterest. It says, quite simply:
“Your dream job does not exist. You must create it.”
It did not become my instant mantra. I didn’t walk into my job and quit the next day. It didn’t jolt me into creating any real changes in my life. But I did do one thing. I made the image my computer’s wallpaper.
A small move, but one that made the idea stick tight—that there was life beyond the traditional 9-5, that I had the power to control my future, that maybe I could find the career happiness that always seemed just out of my reach.
Seven years later, that image is still my wallpaper, and I have created my dream job.
While that’s a combination of life-changing events, hard work, luck and the support of amazing people, I can’t help but think that by seeing this message every time I opened my laptop for years, by reading it and feeling it and believing it, I unintentionally created an affirmation that helped guide me here.
Instead of being frustrated that I couldn’t find what made me happy—which I felt was surely a failure on my part, despite my earnest efforts—I started to believe that what I was meant to do just didn’t exist yet, but that I had the power to make it happen.
That mindset is so empowering, so motivational, so limitless. I wish everyone could feel it.
And it turns out, they can.
What affirmations are + how they can help
There really is something to the concept of affirmations, even it seems completely woo-woo. (I happen to love woo-woo stuff, but you don't have to in order to get something out of this.)
My favorite explanation on the power of affirmations comes from Louise Hay:
"An affirmation is really anything you say or think. A lot of what we normally say and think is quite negative and doesn't create good experiences for us. We have to retrain our thinking and speaking into positive patterns if we want to change our lives. An affirmation opens the door. It's a beginning point on the path to change. In essence, you're saying to your subconscious mind: 'I am taking responsibility. I am aware that there is something I can do to change.' When I talk about doing affirmations, I mean consciously choosing words that will either help eliminate something from your life or help create something new in your life."
When you start monitoring the way you think, you might start to realize that you have more negative, doubtful and even scared thoughts than you ever imagined-- especially when it comes to big new things like starting or growing a business.
It is tough stuff.
But creating a positive mindset and becoming intentional with your thoughts can make an amazing difference. It's not just about saying the words, it's about feeling the words, about shifting your thoughts so you create what you want, not what you don't want.
If the word "affirmations" still feels uncomfortable, don't think of them that way. Make up your own word. Either way, practice them daily. Find affirmations that work for you. You can browse some great affirmations to get you started here, here, and here.
Feeling less than confident? You're not alone.
Not everyone is meant for the self-employed lifestyle. The challenges and uncertainties can be maddening. Managing people can be difficult, working alone can be isolating, balancing a a business and kids is one of the many reasons why wine exists.
Maybe you’ve always considered yourself an entrepreneur. Or maybe you struck out on your own because you couldn’t find your happiness elsewhere.
No matter why you want this lifestyle, it’s all worth it. If you want it, it’s not something for other people. It’s for you. Yes, you.
I’ve been talking with and listening to a lot of mompreneurs lately. They have big goals and big dreams and the one thing most of them have in common is that they didn’t think they could do this.
Because owning your own business is only for business school graduates. Because it requires a big investment. Because it means you have to own a physical business. Because it's only for the super smart and you aren't smart enough. Because it means you will never sleep, because you need to spend months developing a business plan first, because because because.
(See how false our negative self-talk is?)
They had a lot of negative thoughts going on, thoughts that made affirmations, affirmations that weren't true, not even a little bit. The women I’ve been talking to have figured that they can overcome that negativity, even if it's a hour-by-hour struggle, and it has opened them up to an entirely new way of thinking and a fresh perspective on life, work and motherhood.
So, if you’re wondering whether or not you should take the leap I say: Go. Create it.*
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*Make that your affirmation, and play it in your head all day long.