Are you feeling jaded?

Like the life you have worked so hard to create is not actually what you thought it was? You’ve worked really hard to achieve that place called success but now you are there it all feels rather empty and meaningless?

You’re not alone.

There has never been so many people in the world who have so much and yet it means so little.

I shall never forget the moment 25 years ago when I drove my brand new car (dream number one) up above the idyllic village where I lived (dream number two) and looked down on my thatched cottage with the rose over the door (dream number three) and thought about all the stuff I had (dream number four) and the amazing three holidays I took a year (dream number five) and realised just how empty it was (nightmare!).

I was furious!

I had worked so hard for so many years acquiring the life that I had been told would make me happy (get this, get that, do this, do that, and you’ll have made it) and I was miserable.

So many people I have worked with over the years tell a similar tale. However this moment of desperation was actually a great moment because it was in that specific moment that my life changed for the better. And this is true of anyone waking up and realising that there must be another way. There must be another way to be happy, feel like life has a meaning, contribute to the world.

And there is.

And, because I have been there done that and got the t-shirt I want to let you know about 4 mistakes that you can avoid to make your journey easier.

1. You don’t have to dump all the stuff

For some reason when people have this ah-ha moment that they can live life differently many people think that they have to get rid of all the stuff. They make the mistake of thinking that it is the ‘stuffs’ fault they are miserable.

Now the stuff I am talking about it all the material things we collect along the way. There might be big stuff like houses and cars and small stuff like gadgets and the next best updated whatsit.

The truth is it is actually ok to have this stuff in your life as long as you don’t tie in your self-esteem to it.

If you think that owning all this stuff is who you are then think again. You are far more than the external things you currently give value to.

Close your eyes for a moment and breath. Simply breath and notice your breath. Do this ten times.

In those few breaths your focus was not on anything external – it was on the inner you, the unchanging part of you. The part of you that existed before you were born and will exist after you die. This part of you needs no stuff to feel good – and neither do you.

However the cool thing is that once you understand this – practise this, reconnect with your heart and soul – then if you still want the stuff you can have it. When you no longer need it to feel good in your life then it has no hold on you and you can play with whatever you want.

2. Thinking that you have to change everything

You don’t.

I have worked over the years with many people who have come to me thinking they need to change their job to be happy. Over 50% of them never change their job.

Same with people who feel they need to change their relationship or lifestyle – or all three.

In truth the only change you can make that will make any difference is to change how you relate to yourself. [Tweet this!]

I have lived in the south of Spain for 13 years and seen many people moving down here in the hope that to come to a warm climate away from all the problems back home will make them happy. And for the first 6 months they are. Problem is that when they moved to the sun they brought themselves and all their problems with them.

Making a huge outer life change without a corresponding inner change will change nothing. [Tweet this!]

You need to understand what makes you tick, what makes your heart sing, what your true passions are – and learn to live by them.

For some of you it may be a whole life change, for others your outer life might not change at all but for both the inner connection is the key.

3. Getting stuck in the doing

Our western culture is very goal driven, we have to ‘do’ lots to achieve what we want. That has probably got you to where you stand today and the ability to ‘do’ is important. However it is not the be all and end all of life.

As you move through your life change you also need to learn to be. [Tweet this!]

A state of ‘being’ comes about when you are present to whatever is happening. Rather than letting your mind go crazy and plan the next three weeks you need to simply notice what is happening right here, right now.

My biggest tip would be this – learn to meditate, learn mindfulness. Meditation, contrary to popular opinion, is not about stopping thinking. You cannot stop thinking – to think about stopping thinking is thinking.

Rather it is about being watchful of your thoughts. It is about watching your thoughts but not getting caught up in them. The more your practise – and you can start with just 10 mins a day, the more you will move out of the energy of doing and into the energy of being.

The goal here is to do with the energy of being. [Tweet this!]

Contemplate that for a while.

4. Caring what others think

And lastly – when you start making changes in your life some people are going to think you’ve lost it.

They are going to point out the mistake you are making and try to get you to stop. They will be challenged by your new direction and do all in their power to get you to put the brakes on.

Learn this and learn it quickly – stop caring about what others think!

You cannot make heartfelt decisions based on what others think. [Tweet this!]

And, learn who you can share this journey with.

Find your cheer leaders – these are maybe two or three people on your life who will stand on the sidelines with the pompoms and cheer you on no matter what they think. They will support you if you flag and remind you why you wanted this in the first place. They are 100% on your side.

As for the others do not let them stop you, it is your life and you are a unique being with a unique life journey ahead of you. You had your wake-up moment, some part of you deep inside knows that this is the right way forward, it knows that all the outer stuff is no who you are, and if you learn to listen it will guide you through this whole amazing life changing journey.

You can change your mind and by definition change your life. [Tweet this!]


This is a guest post from Jessica McGregor Johnson, an international speaker, guide & mentor and author of “The Right T-Shirt, Write Your Own Rules and Live the Life You Want” and “Remembering Perfection – Everyday Inspiration for Living Your Spiritually”. She helps people who are at a crossroads discover themselves anew, identify their true passions, and live them, whether it be in their work or personal life. You can read the first two chapters of her book here.


  1. Comment by Phil Broom

    Phil Broom Reply February 23, 2015 at 10:55 pm

    A good post. Enjoyed reading. The subject of finding one’s sense of self in a new cultural environment is not easy. I agree that many people change environments hoping the change will change the way they experience life. As to how we experience life is, as such, not changed in any way. Just the environmental stimuli. The human mind has a tendance to bring us back to start and, as such, lose our sight on what we started out to achieve or ….. feel. Without writing a book, i would mention our internal drive and to find a space that every day, you can sit and repair through thought and meditation. Because? Because a new cultural context will take You over if You dont have faith and identity of the You as you create. I say create, because that is what we do with each passing moment. We are creating the i. Wherever we are and at all times.

  2. Comment by althea

    althea Reply November 27, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    We truly need to work on and be the change we want to see…Mahatma Gandhi was dot on with that thought and this insightful post guides one towards working our way thru change…. my takeaway :
    “Changing one’s job, relationships, lifestyle or all three won’t really change much.
    In truth the only change you can make that will make any difference is to change how you relate to yourself.”

    thank you.

  3. Comment by Naomi Dinsmore

    Naomi Dinsmore Reply October 21, 2014 at 5:56 am

    Hi Jessica,

    Great, meaningful article. I love all of it.

    What really caught my thoughts was about your 13 years in Spain and watching people come and go. Because I’ve been considering making this same decision myself (also to the south of Spain) for the last 8 months.

    I have a lot of family over there. But similar to the people you spoke of, I don’t want to delude myself into believing I’m leaving my problems behind and have to return after 6 months. When I commit it’s 100%.

    I’m smart enough to know problems follow you and have to be dealt with head on.

    I’m in limbo and don’t want to make the wrong choice.


  4. Comment by Maryam

    Maryam Reply June 8, 2014 at 2:39 am

    Thanks a lot Jeccica your words are exactly like Rumi whom we call him Molana he believed we must not get our identity from stuff when we buy expensive things we want to show off to others and show our strength and our proud so when we lose them we will be shattered too and he also believed in meditation an watching our thought from bad things and he said we are what we thinks in very beautiful ways and storyies in poem

  5. Comment by Vicky

    Vicky Reply May 14, 2014 at 6:11 am

    Oh how true Jessica… your words so simple and so to the point…thank you for sharing… I will be sharing for your words are gold!

  6. Comment by Jessica McGregor Johnson

    Jessica McGregor Johnson Reply May 13, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    Thanks Myrko!

    Doing with the energy of being really is a life long practise but one definitely worth the while!

    Love the ‘tweetables’!

  7. Comment by Myrko Thum

    Myrko Thum Reply May 12, 2014 at 5:05 am

    Thank you for a really insightful and deep guest-post Jessica. This is a good one, as you can tell by the amount of “tweetables” I added in there :-)

    I enjoyed the fusion of doing and being, something that is also very close to what I teach here.

    “The goal here is to do with the energy of being.”


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