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  • Writer's pictureSheila Kamuda

This Must Be What Hell Feels Like

Updated: Dec 24, 2022

I remember my first job. I was a secretary at McGraw Hill in a beautiful skyscraper, I think on 54th & 6th Avenue (a.k.a. Avenue of the Americas).

Anyway, one of my tasks, which now seems laughably simple, was typing addresses on labels.

OMG! I could not type! I learned how to type in High School on a MANUAL typewriter. But I didn't know how to type. I'm sure I was using an electric typewriter of some kind (computers hadn't been discovered yet), but that didn't help much.

My back was against the wall. I better figure this out or out I'd go and goodbye to McGraw Hill and the nice people paying me.

So every day I went in to that misery and tried to do better than the day before. Thinking back, I'm sure this must be what hell feels like. Never being sure I'd catch on. Feeling sick to my stomach on the way to work. Wondering if they'll simply throw me out on my ear.

About six months later, I realized I wasn't complaining about not being able to type anymore. Apparently, I had picked up the skill.

I'm sharing this story to show how these three points are critical to realizing your dreams:

1) Keep at it.

I did because my back was against the wall. I kept at it every day because i needed the gig, and believe me, it was no picnic.

2) Practice is more important than any of us realize.

We're told to practice piano, or Times Tables, or Latin conjugations, blah blah blah. So the word "practice" conjures up something dismal and boring. What a drudgery - practice. The word alone feels like prison sentence that goes on and on and on.

But practice is absolutely key. It's why I stopped putting sugar in my coffee. I "practiced" having my coffee without sugar. And that took a long time. But it's all practice. I practice eating salads. Or cleaning up the kitchen after dinner. Practice is king. Practice creates new normals.

3) The practice "step" is the hard one.

The out-of-your comfort zone stuff. But you must must must do it if you want to get closer to your dream. In my case, it was keeping my job and hoping my first one wasn't my last.

It's this step that makes people quit just when they're almost there. Almost at the top of the mountain. Almost repainting their home. Almost moving to Paris. Almost quitting their job so they can open up a dog spa.

And sometimes the step we need to take is so uncomfortable, we mistake that little voice in our head, and think "oh it's so hard, this must be a SIGN that I shouldn't do this." OK. STOP that nonsense.

The steps are always hard. The steps are always out of our comfort zone. The steps will always make you think of quitting. And the steps are your path to your dreams.

If your back isn't up against the wall like mine was, needing the job, this is what you do. Think up a scenario where your back is up against the wall. Yes. Pretend. Pretend your job is at stake. Your best friend needs this or they'll be banished from the country. You'll never have ice cream again. Your puppy won't get to the vet. Whatever it takes.

Having your back up against the wall makes you highly motivated. And that's what we're looking for. It must be critical for you to take the necessary steps & practice them.

Because that is what will get you closer and closer to your dreams.

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