Life is all about deciding to follow your passion, but sometimes the journey can be overwhelming. Following your passion means taking responsibility for your path in life. The tendency is to want to ‘get it right’ on the first try and not make any mistakes. Unfortunately, this never happens. When you try to control a situation, it is usually out of fear, which you may not be aware that you have. Doing things out of fear usually ends in unintended, less than optimal results. Here are some of the most common mistakes people make when following their passion and how to avoid them.
The Perfection Trap
When you are pursuing your dreams, you want to try to avoid making grandiose plans. You don’t have to find the one perfect passion, but instead, you need just to follow the clues in front of you. Step back and look at what you can do today, and then pick what excites you. When you’ve completed that, look around you and take the next step that interests you.
When we have a thought or idea that we want to do or get across, we have to communicate to other people. Many do not get past this stage of wanting to, for they decide that they will wait until everything is perfect before they tell anyone or do anything.
I have heard people say that they’ll start when they have more money, time, learn more, practice more, when the kids are older, etc, etc, etc. The challenge with this is there is no perfect time. The best time to get started is now. Yes, you may need to be selective at first with whom you talk to as there are negative people out there who may try to stop you or shut you down. Yet, I have found that most people shut themselves down by their fears and feeling of the need to have everything just right before beginning.
Reality is much brighter when you look at the most successful people out there. They repeatedly said that they failed their way to the top, that they learned by their mistakes and went on. There are millionaires that lost everything, brushed themselves off and then created more millions. They talked to people and connected with them. You can’t succeed by being a hermit.
We are not born with all knowledge on all things. We are not robots, calculating our every move. We are human beings that learn by what we do. We discover by how we interact. We learn when we communicate our thoughts and ideas. Are there naysayers out there? Yes, run from them. Find the ones who are looking forward to hearing from you and wish to encourage you. You will always learn more and communicate more with positive and encouraging people.
It is in the trying and being that makes us human. It is the journey not the end that tells us who we are and what we are made of. Perfection is not a means, it leaves no room for variation, creativity and understanding of the process. It is through the trial and error that we gain knowledge and wisdom. We remember and learn more through our mistakes than by what we do perfectly. For if everything were done perfectly, there would be no journey, no life, no adventure,…only an end.
As you start on your journey to following your passion, look at the options that you currently have available, and then notice which one holds the most interest for you, then do that. You don’t want to try to force things, if you feel overwhelmed, take a break. Lie down and relax, and when you start to feel better, ideas will emerge.
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned during my career path is to do something you love to do. Why is this important? I feel that if you enjoy what you make a living at, you end up being happy in more ways than one. Life itself becomes much more interesting and fun. You find yourself speaking passionately to others about your work. The experiences you have along the way become much more rewarding and enrich your life in many ways. You meet fascinating people. I know people who have turned favorite hobbies into small businesses and have succeeded. Sure, they may have had to sacrifice a steady paycheck for their happiness, but not one of them either turned back or gave up. Their passion carried them through to success.
While no job or business is perfect, the important thing is to enjoy it, even learn from it. If you are unhappy in your current situation, why not take steps now to change it? Somewhere out there is a job or business that is perfect for you. If you are already there, I applaud you. If not, realize that it may take some time to figure out what you really want to do, and even more time to actually get there. That’s all right! I can tell you from experience that finding and doing what you love is absolutely worth it, every step of the way. All of the research, training, and hands-on experience has made me a stronger, happier person. Feeling in charge of my own destiny…well, there just is no greater feeling.
Worrying About What’s Ahead
Worrying about what will happen in the future doesn’t help. If anything, it will make what you are worrying about occur. Worrying about what’s ahead will stop you in your tracks, and you’ll never end up following your passion. Try to avoid thinking bad thoughts. Ask yourself more productive questions and guide your thoughts to what can go right.
Think motivational thoughts. What do motivational thoughts do? They help you take action. This isn’t about positive thinking or motivating quotes. Those have their place in shaping your attitude and thinking. However, what motivates each of us is unique, so you need to have your own thoughts – those which are most effective at getting you going.
Making it your own means experimenting with a good thought until you find a way to use it in your own recipe for motivation. Suppose, for example, you’re in a difficult situation and don’t feel like dealing with it. As you sit there, you play around with the idea of opportunity coming from difficulty. Fortunately, you discover that it pulls you out of your slump to think about yourself in the future, explaining to a friend how you turned the difficult situation to your advantage. This is how you create your own motivational thoughts. Now, it might be more motivating if you imagine yourself being interviewed someday about how you overcame this difficult time. The thoughts that work for you are the thoughts you need to be thinking.
When there is a truly uninspiring task you have to do, try promising yourself a reward for completion – make it one that really means something to you. Keep that thought in your mind to keep yourself motivated. A trip to the beach and even a simple bowl of ice cream may be some of your more powerful motivational thoughts.
Becoming Crippled by Fear
When you follow your heart and go after your dreams, you will have to let go of your fears so you can soar even higher. Don’t let fear scare you, instead take it as a sign that you’re on the right path. If you want to follow your passion, you have to feel your fear fully.
Fear gets to the best of us, whether it is fear of failure, fear of success or even fear of fear. All of us have experienced fear at some point in our lives and it can be a real stumbling block that holds us back from being truly successful.
Fear can’t hold you back forever if you don’t let it. There are several ways to overcome fear, here are my top 9:
1. SEPARATE REALITY FROM PERCEPTION
Ask yourself what is really going on, locate the facts and place them over your feelings.
2. IDENTIFY THE TRIGGER
Figure out what it is in a situation that triggers you. Learning to identify it will help you learn to combat it.
3. KNOW WHERE FEAR LIVES IN YOUR BODY
A lot of times, fear takes over physically. It affects different people different ways. Identify if/how it affects your physical body and do the work to take care of your body. Ex: if you hold stress in your back, you can learn stretches, foam rolling, etc. to avoid the pain.
4. PRACTICE GRATITUDE
Every day, list out 1-3 things you are thankful for. It doesn’t matter how big or small it is, gratitude helps shift the mind into a positive light, which overtime, overcomes fear.
5. LISTEN TO YOUR INNER VOICE
Monitor your inner conversations. If you wouldn’t say it to a friend, don’t say it to yourself. Speak positively to yourself and remind yourself of your strengths.
6. CREATE A NEW ASSOCIATION
Remind yourself that the feeling and the moment will pass. Focus on the positive outcome of the situation, rather than the scary in between.
7. LOOK AT THE GLASS HALF FULL
Perception is a very powerful thing, and how you feel about your situation dictates how you respond. So think positively and you’ll give yourself a much better chance of success. This won’t happen overnight; practice with just one thought. What is one recurring negative/fearful thought you have? Work on reversing this one thought. Overtime, this will become a habit.
8. PRACTICE BREATHING EXERCISES
Breathing helps center your body; when you stop breathing, your heart stops beating. You can do a grounding exercise, or even just take 5 deep, long breaths at any point to calm and center yourself. It is best to start your day with this, but feel free to practice all day long.
9. CREATE A SAFE SPACE
When you feel safe and secure, there is no room for fear. Find somewhere safe you can retreat to when ill feelings begin- whether this is a real place such as your bedroom, or a place in your mind such as the beach. This sense of comfort will soothe you and allow you to face your fear.
Please keep in mind, these are just 9 strategies, not everything works for everyone. But this is a place to start. Start implementing these techniques into your life and don’t let fear hold you back from reaching your goals and your highest potential.
When following your passion, you have to start looking inside for answers and stop looking for permission. You have to stop making excuses for why you can’t take action and just take the next step, and the one after that, until you end up where you want to be.
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