by Vanessa Michelle

The next level of your life will demand a different you, a different me. 

During one of my early morning work sessions at the Mustard Seed Cafe in Highland Square, I came across this quote by Leonardo DiCaprio:

“Every next level of your life will demand a different you.”

Everything in me wanted to scream in the middle of the cafe: OH MY GOSH! Yet another profound self-checking moment. Thanks, DiCaprio! 

As much as I would like to resist this statement, the leader in me resonated with every part of this quote. (Did it startle you as well? Tweet me @vmichellectlk.) 

I just had an amazing conversation with a fellow marketing entrepreneur giant, Beth, CEO of True Stories, about the mental transition humans experience as we become more advanced in our personal and professional lives. There is a definite shift in thought process and in our actions. I believe the shift, if embraced, advances our ability. The advancement is simply a byproduct of knowledge and the tangible experiences that come with that new knowledge. As we advance, we explore new levels or new phases. 

But as we do this, how often do we slow down to reflect on the shift? Sometimes I feel as though I just fall into the shift, play the guessing game, and if it works, I just keep going. But this quote gave me more context. I spent some time reflecting on:

How would I define my next level? 

How will I know I’m at a new level? 

What is a level? 

What will a “different” me look like?  Do I even need a different me?

What adjustments would I want to make “different” for this “next level” thing?

Yeah, there’s so much unpacking I want to do here, I just ordered my second cup of coffee. 

I can definitely resonate with the idea of my next level demanding a “different” me. I interpret the next level as a different approach to responsibility, accountability and execution. When we want to pursue something, whether big or small, we arrange our actions according to the situation in order to be successful within it. For example, eating healthier: That very desire creates a new responsibility or new level for you; therefore it demands a different you that’s more accountable for healthier eating habits. How you go about accomplishing that goal will inevitably produce a different version of you. You may develop more willpower or become more educated on health as a whole. Now you’re a health guru, which is a different you, from the time you started. That’s a simple version of DiCaprio’s quote. 

But for me it means something a little more complex. 

In 2020, I’m planning an epic relaunch of my video content. Based on my experience in 2017, if I really want my content to be impactful and long-lasting, it’s going to require a different work ethic, a different workflow, a different management style and a different state of mind. I’m all about self-development, so I’m super excited to take on this challenge, yet I am a little nervous. When I first launched my YouTube channel, Coffee Talk With Vanessa Michelle, (you can’t search it because YouTube deleted my channel, but that’s another story for a different time. Ha!) my work ethic was not efficient. I didn’t create a good editing schedule, my marketing wasn’t planned well, and a bunch of other little tasks were overlooked. Within nine months, I stopped producing videos because I felt like I was compromising the quality of my work. 

Since I’ve had that experience, I know what I lack and I have more ideas about how to create a better work ethic for myself. I’ve come to recognize that I need a system of structured steps that lead me to my final goal. The system must include times and due dates, or else I’ll take the easy road and procrastinate. Sound familiar? Understanding that I’m at my best when I have a system has made me more efficient. 

Having this foundation has started me on my journey to developing the different me that is required for 2020’s mission. I want my videos to be noticed for their impact and quality storytelling. I can’t deny: There is such an enormous fire burning within me. I’m burning with so much excitement and joy about my new content. I really want to produce something so magnificent and different that it gets recognized all throughout the world.  I know that’s a courageous goal, but I feel like I’m more than capable of achieving it. 

I knew six months ago that it was imperative that I start changing my bad habits and locking in my good habits. Being disciplined in my spiritual routine, health, and work ethic has really been at the forefront of my evolution. Every month I’ve been slowly re-aligning my actions so that I’m molding a better version of me. 

How would you like to mold a better you? Which area of your life, specifically?

You’ve probably had a thought this week or last about wanting to be better at something. It could relate to your health, family time or even dealing with your procrastination (Ha! Yeah, I’m calling it out!). Whatever it is, if you want to truly do something about it, you have to do something different. The difference doesn’t have to be groundbreaking. But you must do something. Because your elevation within that thing is going to bring you so much freedom and fulfillment — not to mention the community around you will take notice and probably be inspired as well. 

This transformation, big or small, is going to literally demand a different you, which is going to feel uncomfortable. Embrace discomfort. That’s the best motto I’ve ever heard. Too often we resist discomfort, which causes way more issues. I want to encourage you to throw caution to the wind and experience being uncomfortable. If you want to be a healthier, sexier you, than start getting uncomfortable. 

This is a new adventure for you, so a new you is, in fact, being demanded. If you’re chasing a healthier you, you have to eat different, learn what you like to eat, and find replacements. As I mentioned before, start small. Once you have an idea of the foods you like, start researching workouts you might be into, like Zumba or rock climbing. 

Starting somewhere is better than not starting at all. A more enlightened and refined you is waiting. Let’s evolve together! 

BIO: // Vanessa Michelle is a full-time YouTuber who has created a platform for creatives everywhere!  Her journey to journalism started at the University of Akron, where she was an on-air personality and TV-Host for WZIP-FM and ZTV Akron. Vanessa has been featured in local publications as ‘The Oprah of YouTube’ and one of Akron’s most unique entrepreneurs.

Photo: Used with permission from Vanessa Michelle.

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