There is a saying which goes, "That which is in front of you is your teacher."
You can learn a lesson from anything and everything life throws your way. And if you view life this way, you've always won. You're always receiving gifts.
That's how I see my years spent pursuing a career path that didn't sit right with my heart.
Here are 18 valuable lessons that I was fortunate enough to learn:
1. Your livelihood takes up too many hours in your life to do something that makes you miserable.
If you are weighed down by negative energy and disatisfaction in your work, that energy will inevitably seep into other areas of your life.
2. Go with the flow.
If you are not yet living your dream life, make peace with this fact while you work towards your goals. If you struggle against each day, resenting each task you need to complete, it will drain all of you energy. Do things with a happy heart and a light-touch, and you will feel freer.
3. Listen to your intuition.
Your heart knows what you really want. Your head will play tricks on you, trying to convince you to stay put, blanketed by the security of the status quo.
4. There is life outside of work.
There are so many other areas in life to find beauty, joy and fulfilment. You may find your flow in nature, cooking, travel, creativity and friendships.
5. Have the courage to live a life true to yourself, not a life others expect of you.
Not doing so is the top regret of the dying. If you have a burning ambition to experience the role of your dreams, take steps to make it happen. If work is not high on your list of things that bring you meaning and purpose, don't feel pressured to say or act otherwise.
6. Open up about your desires.
You never know what doors may open once people hear about your goals.
7. You don't need to know precisely what you want to do or have a detailed 10-step plan.
You just need to take baby steps in the general direction of your desires. You don't need to see the whole path - just 10 feet ahead.
8. There are more possibilities and opportunities in this world than you will ever know.
Steve Jobs once advised us to look around and realise that everything in our surrounds has been created by people no smarter than us. Question the way the world works, and know that you can change it.
9. You will adapt to new situations much easier than you think.
Don't wait until you are ready. Chances are you will never feel ready. There is an old Zen proverb which goes, leap and the net will appear. You will figure it out as you go - you always do.
10. The only person who has never failed is the person who has never tried anything.
Don't be so terrified of it.
11. You are not your job title, your profession or your resume.
Your worth is not dependent on the "success" of your career. You are inherently worthwhile. You achieve your purpose on this earth by simply being you.
12. Be gentle with yourself.
Set goals and take steps, but don't beat yourself up in the process. You will accomplish so much more through self-love than through whipping yourself into line.
13. You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
So if you want to apply for a role, enter a competition, pitch an article or float an idea, go for it. Because you have automatically lost if you don't even try.
14. Making big changes in your life takes courage, discipline and persistence.
There will be soul searching, late nights, hard yards, doubts and fluctuating emotions. Buckle up, because it will be worth it.
15. There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way.
Make a decision to feel happy, successful and abundant NOW, and the world will respond in kind. Don't make the mistake of waiting for external events before you claim your happiness.
16. You are a one-of-a-kind blend of magic.
There has never been nor will there ever be anyone like you in the history of humankind with your unique set of skills and passions. Contribute your gifts to the world.
17. Emotions are temporary.
That gripping fear, those crushing doubts, may seem so intense and real. But they will slowly fade and vanish. So don't get give them too much attention. Try and let them be.
18. There is a huge sense of satisfaction which comes from following your dreams, even if you haven't reached them yet.
It feels so much better to be at the bottom of the right ladder than it does to be at the very top of the wrong ladder for you.