This is potentially the most inauthentic title I’ve come up with to date – I’ve never played a video game in my life. However, it’s an appropriate analogy so I’m just going to let that slide.

There comes a time in life, in fact there are multiple times in life, when the way you’re scooting along just isn’t enough for the situation you find yourself in. During these times, you have three options (all completely valid).

Option One – Snooze

The first is to find yourself another situation that you’re more comfortable in – to hit snooze on progression and chill in your comfort zone. Sometimes you just need to do this and that’s fine. I’m not here to make you feel bad for living a cosy life, nuh uh never. Sometimes, when you weigh up a situation and what you can gain/lose from it, option one makes the most sense. Grab that duvet and stay right where you are in the warm.

Option Two – Crash and Burn

The second option is to crash and burn. Now I know what you’re thinking… how can crashing and burning be a valid option? Well, let me tell you. Everyone has to fail at some point. Failure teaches us to be better on so many levels – to be strong, to learn new skills, to pick ourselves up and try again, or even just what our priorities are.

When a situation comes up and you try to tackle it, but for whatever reason you can’t manage it, you’re allowed to crash and burn – I advise it. I experienced this a few years ago when I made the horrendously difficult decision to drop out of my Masters degree. It turned out that my mental health wasn’t prepared for the pressure and I physically and emotionally just couldn’t do it. I crashed and burned and burned some more, and then I rose from the ashes a new woman with a much clearer idea of what I needed in life. It was the best option for me at the time – none of that plodding along to the grave shit; fail dramatically and start again.

Option Three – Level Up

The last option is the one I really want to focus on. The last option is to level up. There’s a well known saying that goes something along the lines of, if your life just got a lot harder, you’ve levelled up. It’s true – each situation you find yourself in will require a more developed version of yourself to tackle it. If the situations never feel difficult or challenging, you’re cruising in your comfort zone. I’ll say it again, there’s nothing wrong with existing inside your comfort zone if you’re happy – BUT if you want progression, whether that’s as a person, in your job, in your sport, or relationships, you need to push yourself out of that comfy, blanket-burrito, and step up.

Levelling up is both the easiest and hardest task you can think of. It’s easy because it’s simple. All you have to do is keep pushing forwards regardless of the increasing difficulty of the situation at hand. It’s hard because, to be able to keep pushing forwards, you have to learn and adapt and try new things – all traits that are notoriously difficult.

But, don’t worry. I’ve got your back. Right here, right now, I’m going to give you a couple of tips for levelling up in the smoothest, most classy way possible. Are you ready for this?!

Find some good people and hold onto them for dear life

You cannot level up on your own with no help. I don’t care if you’re superman, it’s not possible. You need people to advise you, to teach you, to cry on. If you go into something on your own, you may as well have picked option 2 because goddamn will you crash and burn without some support. Even if it’s just your mum at the end of the phone telling you that you can do it – you need good people around you.

Take it one day at a time

Using work as an example, if you’re about to start a massive project there’s no way you’ll be able to plan it effectively if you try and tackle everything all at once. Taking everything a day at a time, a problem at a time, will make the whole process a lot easier to stomach. Before you know it, you’ll be 50 days in and the achievements will be piling up. Don’t rush the process.

Think outside the box

If you’re in the process of levelling up, you’re going to be hovering quite definitely outside of your comfort zone. Now think about this logically for a second, if you’re outside your comfort zone, does it not follow that the answers to some of your obstacles will be outside of your scope of knowledge? Thinking outside the box is an inevitable part of levelling up – you simply don’t have all the knowledge yet to go to your standard solutions. Next time, your box will be bigger.

Ask for help

Levelling up does not mean you have to go it alone. In fact, as I’ve already suggested, you’re only going to survive if you’ve got the support of other people. Ask people for help. I mean it. You do not have all the answers; you’re probably dealing with things that you have no idea about – identify a person who can help you and ask them. It doesn’t make you weak, it shows that you want the best result possible so you’re asking the right people to get the right answers. You also can’t do everything yourself, so ask people to physically help you with your load when you need it. How not to burn out 101, am I right?

Reflect regularly

Don’t rush ahead so far that you can’t recognise the progress you are making. Pat yourself on the back every now and then and give yourself a break. You are working hard to better yourself and your situation – you have to enjoy the fruits of your hard work too. You deserve it.

So there you have it – a few hints and tips and a little insight into the way I approach my challenges. If you’ve got any more advice I’d love to hear from you. If you like what you’ve read here, feel free to give it a like or share it with someone you think could benefit! Happy level upping!

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