One of the scariest parts of leaving university is knowing that you no longer have a definite next step – no more safety nets. Up until the age of 21, my life was laid out in front of me and I didn’t have to do a lot to tick the boxes and move through it.

When I was 16, I just needed enough GCSE passes to move to A-Levels. When I was 18, I had to accumulate enough UCAS points to get into university and then when I was 21, I had to compete with thousands of other graduates to make a career in my chosen industry – journalism.

Once you leave the security of the UK education system, the comfort comes crashing down and it’s no longer enough to finish your to-do list, go home and relax in front of the TV every evening. If you want to be successful, you have to do more than the bare minimum you did at school.

What’s worse, success is often painted as something that can only happen between the time you leave university and turning like 27. It’s as if we’re given a deadline for making something of ourselves and if we pass that deadline then we’re branded as failures. Despite the fact that most of us still have about 50-60 years left to live.

This is a thought that has been terrifying me over the past few months and the fear of failure is stopping me from taking the steps to be successful. I get myself so worked up and overwhelmed by all the things I want to achieve that I end up spending my evenings in bed rather than hustling for some freelance work, writing another blog post or scheduling some Instagram posts.

Not only that, but seeing others who are younger than me doing so well has become a major demotivator and it’s about time I suck it up and remember that success is different for everyone and it comes at different times. You’re on your own path and comparing yours to someone else’s is unproductive and bound to get you into a tizzy.

There is so much pressure put on people in their early twenties to have figured out what to do with their life. And even if you have, if you’re not busting your arse every day to achieve your goals then you’re just another lazy and entitled snowflake who refuses to work hard for anything.

So, in an effort to be more productive, I’m focusing on what I want to do and how I’m going to get there rather than getting up in arms about what everyone else is doing. It doesn’t matter if a colleague gets a new job or another blogger has more followers on Twitter.

Jealousy and bitterness are not ingredients in the recipe for success, so I’m taking them out of the cupboard and throwing them in the bin for good.

I’m planning on writing a whole post on how I run a blog with a full-time job soon, so watch this space for my tips on balancing your day-to-day life with fulfilling your dreams.

Do you feel the pressure to be successful? How do you remind yourself that your path is different from others? Let me know in the comments or tweet me @amyjmcdonnell 🐦

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