“Life is fun.”

This is a text I sent to my best friend last night, without sarcasm or an eye roll. I meant it, with my whole heart and soul. This isn’t something I would have said a few years ago…I would have said “life is hard,” or “life sucks” and believed it with every ounce of my being. When I started on this path, life did feel hard and I did believe it sucked. I also believed I would never be happy, healthy, or whole. I just wasn’t “wired” for it.

But now I believe life is fun, even when it’s not.

Life is fun, even when my heart is aching.
Life is fun, even when I’m overwhelmed and exhausted.
Life is fun, even when things are out of sorts or in disarray.
Life is fun, even when I’m not content with a certain area.
Life is fun, even when there are bumps in the road.

I was taking a walk at the park earlier in the day and just marveling at the contrast between me now and me at the start of this journey. I was lost, lacking confidence, soft spoken, timid, unclear on what I wanted, and deeply depressed. I would waver at my core when someone brought up the “experts,” or challenged my way of thinking about projects. I would lose my voice just trying to talk on the phone to people I knew well. I would try and fail, try and fail. I would cry my eyes out and journal about all the things I didn’t like in my life, over and over, for years on end. Not weeks or months, years.

But the person I am today? So different.

So deeply different, I would venture to guess that the people who knew me before probably wouldn’t really recognize me today. It’s easy to think these changes came from external things like a growing business, different relationships, working with a coach or through a program…and yes, those things all played a role in my shifts over the years. But, the only reason I’ve changed as much as I have is that I’ve done the internal work.

And I didn’t just do it once…I put some really important practices into place, completely shifted my mindset in ways I didn’t realize were possible, raised my happiness set point, uncovered what I was passionate about, worked hard and tirelessly to align my life and work, and started speaking my truth even when it was really hard. I did the work.

The way I interact with life and people is on a whole new plane, one I never knew existed. I am bold, own every part of who I am, annoyingly positive, am joyful at my core, resilient beyond belief, totally aligned with my purpose, unfazed by what other people think, present, and whole.

Life is fun because there’s always more work to do, layers to heal and release, and new ways to grow and learn.

Does that mean it’s easy? Not at all. But it’s fun because I know that what’s on the other side of the challenge. Pain, struggle or failure is worth every tear and bad day. I realize that may seem easy to say from where I’m at compared to you, so here are a few tips to make this happen for yourself.

1) Never give up or stop growing.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… the reason I’m standing where I am today (and why I’ll be standing even more deeply rooted in myself and my happiness in another few years) is because I never gave up. Sure, there were days when I threw my hands in the air and took to the couch with some chocolate and favorite reruns, but I always got back out there. I’m not wired to settle for less than I deserve, and you shouldn’t either. All it takes is consistent action. It will be hard sometimes, and you may run into blocks, but it will pay off. My favorite saying: No one said it’d be easy, they said it’d be worth it. Take a break if you need to, but never ever give up on yourself.

2) Consistently do the work (I mean, really do it).
It’s not enough to do it once. Don’t just see the counselor or coach once, read the book and do the exercises in your head once, or try something valuable once and never do it again…

Do. The. Work. @StephenieZ (Click to Tweet!)

Doing the work is an ongoing process and can take time. The reason I’m so positive, present and clear on who I’m here to be is because I’m always doing the work. This personal development stuff has layers, so many layers, and our work is never done. If you decide you’re done and settle into a groove, you’re going to be unhappy again before you know it. If you keep doing the work, you keep deepening your practice and commitment to your truth and purpose, which leads to never ending levels of happiness and fulfillment.

3) Enlist others for support/guidance when you need it.
While it comes down to you doing the work, it’s okay and encouraged to seek out support and guidance when you need it. Hire a coach, talk to a counselor, enlist your friends to rally around you, or buy a book or program. You can absolutely do and learn all this stuff yourself, but I don’t recommend it. I did that for a few years and it wasn’t until I hired my first coach and joined a program that I actually started making progress. Don’t be so prideful that you don’t let the people who’ve already figured this hard stuff out show you the way and give you some powerful tools. You can do it yourself because you’re amazing, but do you really want to? Would you rather spend a few months doing the work or a few years?

Take Action Now!

Take an honest look at where you’re at and see if you’re really truly doing the work. Or, do you maybe not know what that work is and need support or guidance? Have you given up completely, allowing yourself to stay stuck? Awareness is the first step to making massive changes, so get honest about where you’re at now, and what you’re going to do today to start moving forward again.

Stephenie Zamora is the founder of www.stepheniezamora.com, a full-service life purpose development, design, and branding boutique, and author of Awesome Life Tips. Through her Mastery Program, she merges the worlds of personal development and branding to help men and women build passion-based lives and businesses they love. Click here to access her free Foundations for Unshakable Joy™ video training series and learn the unexpected trick to transforming your life with one single question! Connect with Stephenie on Facebook and Twitter!

Image courtesy of Camdiluv ♥.