A decade ago, when Jen Sincero was in her 40s and totally broke — flailing about in “Loserville,” as she puts it — she decided to change her life. And she actually followed through. After launching a successful company that helped businesses write book proposals and becoming a life coach, Sincero got a publishing deal that’s allowed her to share her hard-won wisdom with the masses. The result was her sassy 2013 self-help guide, the best-selling “You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life” (plus the subsequent spinoffs “You Are a Badass at Making Money” and last month’s “You Are a Badass Every Day”). “A lot of people pretend they’ve made the decision to change their life, when they’ve really only signed up until it gets too hard or too expensive,” says Sincero, 53, who’s based outside Santa Fe, N.M. “We all have the capacity to make whatever changes we desire in life; we just have to be willing to do whatever it takes.” Sincero, who will discuss her books at Sixth & I on Thursday, says the following six steps can help us unlock our own inner badassery.
Get specific about each of your goals
“A lot of times, we just want to make more money or get in shape — but what the hell does that look like? Unless you get into the specifics, you really can’t achieve anything,” Sincero says. So, say you want to mark the new year with a new job. Write down exactly what that occupational upgrade looks like: What will you spend your days doing? Who will you work with, and what will you earn? What will you enjoy about it, and how exactly will it improve your daily life?
Think bite-size chunks, not the whole shebang
Want to write a book? Don’t approach the task as if you have to write the book all at once, “because that will put you in the fetal position,” Sincero says. Instead, plan to write five pages a day or for 20 minutes each morning. “Overwhelm is one of the No. 1 reasons people don’t do a damn thing,” she says. “I wouldn’t have ever written anything if I didn’t chunk things down.”
Establish a support group
Enlist a personal cheerleader who can work with you to help you reach your goals. Progress is easier when you have a “mastermind partner” who will hold you accountable via check-ins every week or two, making sure you’re writing those chapters or finessing that résumé. “We can’t do anything in a vacuum,” Sincero says. “It does take a village, and who you surround yourself with is vital.”
Put together a spiritual gym routine
Motivation, confidence and tenacity are all muscles, Sincero says — and we need to exercise them, same as we do our biceps or quads. Try meditating each morning, listening to energizing music or watching YouTube videos of motivational speakers. “There are all these routines that take literally 10 minutes a day,” Sincero says. Which you choose isn’t as important as making sure you consistently show up at the spiritual gym to keep those “muscles” strong.
Make “go for it” your new motto
“Do things that scare the crap out of you on a regular basis,” Sincero advises. When we play small and safe, she says, we don’t make progress. But “when we take risks and use fear as a compass instead of a roadblock, we kick some serious butt.” Live courageously and you’ll start knocking down the walls of your comfort zone. The only way to change your life, Sincero says, is to do things you’ve never done before.
Allow yourself to be the badass you’re meant to be
In case you’re fuzzy on the terminology, Sincero helpfully defines the word she’s made a career out of: “A badass is someone who gives themselves permission to be, do and have whatever is in their hearts,” she says. “You’ve got one and only one life on planet Earth as the you that is you, and what could be more important than giving yourself the opportunities that really light you up?”
Sixth and I, 600 I St. NW; Thu., 7 p.m., sold out.