How to level up in life
Every so often we evaluate how things are going in our lives and catch ourselves wishing we were further along. We want the kind of life that makes other people raise their eyebrows because they’re impressed—complete with remarkable career moves and a highly Instagrammable social life. To get there, it’s important to take stock of all aspects of your life to see if it’s time to make some upgrades. Living a more aspirational lifestyle will bring in better opportunities, higher caliber friends, better love prospects—and will make you feel like you’re adulting just a little bit harder than before.
1. Don’t settle for less
The saying “Know your worth, then add tax” is incredibly accurate. That applies to the job you’re negotiating for, the people you’re dating, and the overall ways you’re being treated across the board. When it comes to your career, take a quick inventory. Has it been a little too long since your last salary bump or promotion? Do you think the compensation offer you just received is on the low end? Speak up. Asking for what you deserve is not only empowering, it’s impressive. It leads to yearly bonuses, corner offices, and the respect of your peers and the powers that be. When it comes to dating, it’s also important to know what you deserve—and ask for it. If you feel like you’re clamoring for someone’s time and attention, stop and ask yourself if that person is really worth it. Do you sometimes feel like you’re doing all the heavy lifting when it comes to listening and support? Or maybe you feel invisible when you put extra time and effort into looking cute for a date? Feeling seen and heard are important parts of being in a relationship. Make sure you’re getting out what you put into your romantic life.
2. Look around you
Are you sitting on a ratty couch you bought in your early 20s? How much of your furniture comes from that chain store everybody knows? Would any of it be at home in a dorm room? When you upgrade your space, it elevates other parts of your life. Not only do you wake up to a more grown-up home, you feel proud to host those occasions that are synonymous with adulthood—dinner parties, brunches, baby showers and holiday parties. A nicer rug, a statement couch, some art on the walls that’s not just framed posters—all help to add some class and make your home twice as inviting. This logic applies to your closet as well. Are your cheap chain store clothes still in heavy rotation? Save your pennies and splurge on some pieces that are high quality and look expensive. A few elevated staples can change the entire tone of your wardrobe. When you’re well-put together, you carry yourself differently, enter rooms with more confidence and get noticed. The better you look, the better you feel—so dress for the life you want.
3. Surround yourself with the right people
That seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people aren’t thinking much about the caliber of people in their lives. First, find a mentor. Whether that means reconnecting with an amazing college professor you lost touch with, or asking a member of your executive leadership team if you can take her to coffee and pick her brain, having a mentor is one of the fastest ways to level up. Mentors guide and advise you, and act as a sounding board when you’re confused about major life choices. That’s because whatever you’re up against, they’ve probably been there before you. Find someone who exudes poise and confidence, who has gone far in life, who is intelligent and wise. Next, make some aspirational friends. The girl at work who is chicness personified. The friend-of-a-friend who just landed a high profile job with sweet perks. Your cousin’s friend who is always traveling to incredible places and has a well-appointed lifestyle. Becoming friends with people who seem to be going places is a natural way to propel you to bigger things too. Our close friend group acts as our council of advisors, our stylists, our matchmakers, and our therapists. When you make friends who inspire you, impress you and lead by example, you’ll go places alongside them.
All it takes is a few mindful tweaks
Sometimes it seems like there’s an invisible tier system to life—like we’re supposed to advance to new levels the older we get. Overhauling your stage in life can be as simple as making a few mindful tweaks. By evaluating the home where you spend your time, the people you spend it with, and how much you feel like you actually deserve, you can swap out some old and outdated choices that might no longer be serving you. The more you can step it up, the prouder you’ll be of who you are and what you’ve built for yourself in this world.