So here I am, literally sitting in a park under a tree on a perfect Fall (Autumn) day in Brooklyn, New York. I’m overlooking the East River and admiring the Manhattan Skyline. It couldn't be more picture perfect and yet so surreal all at the same time. This very moment has been a dream of mine for five years now. Somewhere between binge-watching Gossip Girl and obsessing over Instagram accounts, I fell hard for New York City, New York.
Whilst my Instagram pictures paint the picture perfect holiday vibes, achieving this long-awaited dream hasn't come without its struggles, heartaches, and hurdles.
My original plan was to be in NYC with a lover, someone I cared about and was excited to share the momentous experience with. Just four weeks before our scheduled departure, I was faced with a deep betrayal and heartache that left me single, homeless and emotionally rattled.
My instant reaction was to surround myself with comfort, safety and a solid support team (thank fuck for the unconditional friendships in my life). After two weeks of facing my grief, immersing myself in nature, meditation and numerous beauty appointments I found myself ready to face my future again.
I realised that I was in a position to live and be anywhere in the world and still maintain my business and so I decided to book the next flight out of town.
I landed in NYC and was soon jetted off to the Cayman Islands with friends who insisted I joined them on their Caribbean getaway. Ten days of island bliss, reconnecting with the beauty of nature, lying under the warm and powerful sun and taking life slowly I was finally refueled and ready to take on the city of my dreams.
At first, I didn't understand the hype of this big city. Late last year I moved from a sleepy town in Northern New South Wales to Sydney, Australia and at first glance, it seemed to me that a city is a city, tall buildings, busy and abundant wealth. Yeah, it was beautiful but I didn't see a way to its power, wealth, and opportunity.
My dreams to crack into one of the most glamours cities in the world began to seem impossible. I started waking up with deep pain in my chest, feeling overwhelmed and anxious about what the future held for me and scared that I wouldn't have what it would take to make it in this city.
Was I stupid for dreaming this big and perhaps it’s best if I just head home?
I’ve battled this very question the past two weeks, since landing here in New York. I have been forced to face some of the darkest and most overwhelming emotions I have ever experienced in this human body. My mind has been overpowered with self-doubt, fear, anxiety, heartache and a deep craving for safety, home, and familiarity, all which seemed so far away.
I am aware that my Instagram account is full of beautiful pictures and inspirational quotes. All of which are easy to post and share from the comfort of my ‘home’ surrounded by all things familiar and people I know & love. What is not easy is facing your fears, the unknown and being outside your comfort zone, something I haven't had to really do since launching StartUp Creative three years ago and yet something I regularly promote.
So from the front line of my own fear and unknown, here are my top 7 tips on how I have handled the emotions, fears, and blockages that have arisen for me since chasing my New York dream.
- Maintain your support crew. I am so grateful for the generous, powerful and unconditional friends and family I have in my life. Even when I don't believe in my dreams they do. They have literally picked me up when I’ve been broken on the floor and lost sight of all things good. Without a solid support team around you, you won’t come close to making your dreams come true. Make sure you let your crew know how much you love and appreciate them and be sure to show up for them in times of need.
- Feel everything. When you go after your dreams and aspire to transform, it is guaranteed that your mind will attempt to hold you back. When this happens, remember that the mind knows nothing. It is forever changing and is just a reflection of what you feed it. When you find yourself feeling fear, self-doubt, lonely, heartache and worry, remind yourself that it is fair enough. Life is scary, painful, lonely and hard at times. Allow your body to feel it. Don’t resist or distract your pain. Allow it to be there, feel it and move through it. It is all just energy that needs to be moved and when you find time to cry, scream and express your fears you will find that they can no longer hurt you. It is the residence and making your pain wrong that causes the pain. Feel it and let it go. Every day will get easier, I promise.
- Stay focused on the end goal. Whilst you might not know exactly how life is going to play out, stay focused on what it is that you desire for your future. You don't need to have all the answers, you just need to have a vision. Focus on your dreams and your goals and keep them close by. I have found myself writing out my list of goals every day to help keep me inspired and moving towards my desired future.
- Read. Books have been my saviour. They provide me with a magical way to reflect on my own life experiences, provide unexpected insights, give me a safe and temporary relief from reality and inspire me to grow and learn.
- Have gratitude. Gratitude has been proven to activate happy hormones in your brain and body. When nothing else works, make a list of what you are grateful for. It could be as simple as clean and fresh air, a hot cup of coffee or a mindless shopping spree. If you can find a way to be grateful every day, you will always find a way through any obstacle that arises.
- Have fun. No matter how much stress, worry or overwhelming emotions you might be experiencing, see if you can find a way to laugh, play and let go. Dancing, watching a good comedy or surrounding yourself with joyful and fun people is always a good idea.
- Reach out. Make sure you let people know how you’re really going. It can be easy to keep it all inside and not authentically share what’s going on for you. Being vulnerable about your struggles is scary AF but if you can do it, you will find yourself surrounded with abundant love and support. People are good and want to help. I have personally found myself on the phone to my mum every day, nothing quite beats a good old vulnerable, messy cry to your mum.
So as the dust begins to settle (for now at least) and I begin to find my feet in this wild city, I feel a deep sense of gratitude as I sit in the earth and reconnect with my purpose. I choose to get up everyday, feel and face my fears and worries, to conquer my mind and to chase my dreams ruthlessly. Stay tuned for the journey ahead and what unfold next.
Best wishing on your journey and don't forget, you really can do this.