Do you ever feel extremely unfulfilled? Nothing is going right, no good news seems to be coming your way, you can’t secure your dream job, you’re not sleeping right or eating right? Well that’s how I felt for almost the entire first quarter of 2018. Having resigned from my previous job at the end of last year, I decided to take a sabbatical to pick myself up again and venture in to the world with a renewed mind. I found myself brainstorming and considering what Laila would like to do. I spent several nights awake, writing on my laptop and developing my brand, yet I still felt no sense of direction.
I realised that in order for me to get a clear sense of direction, I’d need to say bye-bye to a few things. The first one was definitely a negative mindset. I kept on feeding myself negative thoughts of an unsuccessful career and I was genuinely just bringing myself down. I would often start writing a blog post and stop halfway, telling myself it was nonsensical. I would often receive good news about a job opportunity and immediately tell myself that I wasn’t going to get the job. That’s exactly how I sent my CV in to my current workplace and I dismissed it from my mind, as I had already told myself that it was pointless – I was not good enough. A week later, I received three phone calls from a number I didn’t recognise. Now if you know me well enough, you’d know that I NEVER pick up calls from numbers that I don’t know! It would only be later, that I’d come to realise the extent of my anxiety and the opportunities that it can lead past me.
A day later, I got another call from the same number so I told myself not to be anxious and ensured that I picked up the call.
“Hi, am I through to Laila?”, I heard on the other end of the phone. I responded in a rather suspicious manner saying yes, but dragging my ‘yes’, which sounded more like ‘yeeeeesss…’ – lol. The caller informed me that they were from the AIM Group and they were calling me on behalf of Cool FM, Wazobia FM and Nigeria Info FM. They stated that they’d received my CV and would like me to come in for further discussions. Immediately, I had an automatic smile on my face and I gave thanks to God. What I didn’t do however, was immediately assess the effects of my anxiety and make a mental decision to let go of unnecessary worry. Cut a long story short, I went for my interview, got the job and felt the greatest sense of fulfillment that I had felt in a very long time. I was finally back in media, back on air and this time fulfilling my dream of being on radio, while also being given the opportunity to have my own radio show! It all seemed to good to be true – why me? I still wonder why, but I have comforted my questions in God’s will.
What led to my sense of fulfillment was not necessarily getting back into employment, but also working in an environment that challenges me. A lot of my unhappiness in my previous workplace stemmed from very little challenge, hence I decided to resign and do what would be better for me in the long run. So what exactly am I saying here? The honest truth is I may not be in the best position to speak on fulfillment, as it’s something I struggle with myself, but I am more knowledgable now on ways to reach a state of fulfillment, than I was before. The first step is to calm your mind and head back to the drawing board; ask yourself who you are now and who you would like to become. Create a timeline between your present self and your end goal and map out that timeline to add direction and order to your life. A state of disorder is often a great trigger to my anxiety and I find that when I’ve organised myself, I am definitely much calmer. Having a sense of direction also gives you a challenge that occupies your mind and provides a foundation on which you can stem from.
The second step is self-motivation.
This is definitely what I struggle with the most, especially when my spirits are low and I’m feeling quite dark. However, once you take that first step and push yourself, it definitely does get easier and the motivation has its ripple effects. Because I struggle so hard to take that first step, I often head to what I like to refer to as ‘point zero’, which is where I consider what I need to motivate myself. It’s often a strong coffee (which I’m trying to stop and replace with a strong green tea), being outdoors, watching Oprah, Ellen or David Letterman interviews or listening to podcasts.
These are things that give my spirit a nudge and allow me to lift myself up and motivate myself to fulfill the goals I have set out for myself.
The third step is to lean. I often say that I don’t necessarily believe that human beings can be wholly independent, as we are co-dependent. You have to be able to lean on your friends and your family to help you to achieve your goals. Starting up my own natural skin care company this year hasn’t been easy, but it definitely got easier once I stopped thinking I could do it all alone and I started reaching out to those closest to me for their help and inspiration. This doesn’t take away from you but it definitely adds to your character in a positive way.
The final step is self-validation. You do NOT need anyone to validate you!!! In a friends Twitter bio, she stated: “Realised my worth; then added 20% VAT.” – MOOD!!
You do not need validation from anyone, you only need validation from yourself. Life is full of knocks and obstacles, but once you carry a sense of self-validation with you, you’ll be able to overcome your hurdles and meet your end goal, which in essence, is your ultimate sense of fulfillment.
Now how do you stay fulfilled? I’m still asking myself this! I have finally reached my ultimate sense of fulfillment, but how am I going to make it last? The first is developing a healthy lifestyle.
Fulfillment brings a sense of order that you have to be willing to maintain, in order to sustain your high spirits. Getting to bed on time, waking up at a good hour, filtering irrelevance out of your life and eating healthily are four things that I am extremely focused on at the moment. I am also focused on taking on all challenges that come my way in the workplace, because when I don’t feel challenged, I drift into demotivation. I’m doing this through more extensive research of my work, content creation and most importantly listening. As I have no experience in broadcasting, it is extremely important for me to listen. You’ve got to learn in order to earn!
Finally, I’m spending more time with those who put a smile on my face. I realised that I stopped going out and seeing my friends this year, hence I promised myself to change that and socialise again. Socialising is extremely healthy for the mind and it’s a great way to free your mind of worry, unless you’re like me and you get social anxiety (bummer), but you’ve got to face your social anxiety head on and sooner rather than later you’ll find yourself crawling out of your bubble! It’s also good to know that you’re not alone – 28% of the global population suffer from some form of anxiety, so technically over one in four people who you’re socialising with, are probably feeling the same way. Self-validation is also a good relief of social anxiety, so focusing on developing a sense of self-validation should ease your anxiety out of the picture.