Sarah had been told all her life she could do anything she wanted, that success was right around the corner. But now, stuck in a menial job at 25, with no big career in sight, she—like many twentysomethings—was feeling the pangs of disillusionment.
This sense of disillusionment often stems from the lies we’ve been told and have told ourselves. We’ve been lied to, and these lies are holding us back.
Too many twentysomethings are driving through the twists and turns of their twenties with windshields covered in mud, lies and half-truths. And then we wonder why so many of us have crashed?
We need to hose these lies off right now or spend our twenties stuck on the side of the road.
If we’re going to walk forward with the answers to the major questions we should be asking, successfully navigating our twenties, then we need to stop believing the following lies right now:
1. I’m the Only One Struggling
I would love to lock this lie away in a Siberian prison and give the key to a pack of Arctic wolves to defend. You are not alone in your struggle, questions, wondering what’s next?, now what? or do I have what it takes?
Our twenties are tough. That’s the truth. Too many twentysomethings are struggling through a quarter-life crisis all alone.
We all need help. We all need support. We all need nudges, prompts, advice and encouragement.
No one has it all figured out. The twentysomethings who think they do are in for the biggest shock of all.
2. I Should Be Successful by Now! Like Right Now!
I fully expected to walk straight into a crazy-successful twentysomething life with accolades, salaries, bonuses, a big-old-fat-book-deal, and a plethora of people who wanted to learn my secrets to success, all by 23 years old. Maybe 25 if I really hit some serious setbacks.
I didn’t realize that success takes time—loads of time.
Success is not an Egg McMuffin, delivered to us for a $3, three minute investment.
No, success is the Sistine Chapel—it takes years, pain, frustration, thousands of brushes, colors and crumpled up sketches before you have your masterpiece.
Countless famed figures we idolize—such as Abraham Lincoln—failed drastically in their twenties. Even Jesus, who never failed at anything, didn’t begin his active, recorded ministry until he was in his thirties.
Success is not a sprint, it’s an Ironman marathon, and our twenties aren’t really about running the actual race. No, our twenties are simply about building our endurance so that we can run the race in the future.
If you take one step towards your dream today, you are a success. Success happens in the details.
3. Life Is Not Turning Out Like it Was Supposed to
Well, kind of. Yes, life is not turning out like it was supposed to, but what the heck is supposed to? There is no supposed to. Supposed to is a lie. Supposed to is built on the perception of someone else’s perceived success.
Live your life right now exactly as it is and do your best to keep moving forward into where you want to go. That’s what you’re supposed to do.
4. I Don’t Have What it Takes
I 100 percent guarantee you have what it takes. I triple-stamp a double-stamp, 100 percent money-back guarantee you have what it takes. It’s just going to take some time to figure out what exactly “it” is.
Our twenties are a process, not a surprise party. You don’t just walk into the door and all of the sudden your calling jumps out from behind the couch. God has put all of us on a journey and as much as we might want to dash to the finish line, we’re going to have to take our time to let Him teach us what exactly that finish line is.
You are extremely talented at something. We just need to start pulling off the layers to get a glimpse of what that something is.
5. I am a Failure
The only failure of our twenties would be if we never had any.
The only failure of our twenties is if we fail and then call ourselves failures.
Our twenties are going to be riddled with failure. Anyone that tells you otherwise is a liar. But you don’t have to define yourself by your failures.
Failure is not a period, it’s a comma. And only if you stop trying will you really fail.
There’s only one way to be successful in our twenties—fail, tweak, then try again.
A version of this article originally appeared in September 2013.