5 Steps on how to pursue your own dream
We’re living in a fast lane. Not easy to exit to the scenic route ‘cause you’ll get honked at. You crazy?? Get back in line with the rest of us!! Only listening to others might have you sacrificing the things that matter most in life. What will happen when you start to listen to yourself and pursue your own dream?
Nope not me, I’m already in perfect flow
You take the first step applying for a job. You get hired and do your stinking best to keep it. For months. Years. Decades. Doing what you're used to doing.
It does seem like a flow, right?
It might be. Still, the difficult part is to recognize it when your flow has become an unhealthy one. That you've gotten stuck in a pattern that isn't serving you anymore. Not realizing it's the cause of your tears and headaches.
Sure, you can make some small changes in your ways and be done with it. But patterns are tough cookies to crack. I learned that such short-term results are called ‘short-term’ for good reason.
Of course, you don’t have to agree with me
I guess it all depends on how you would answer this next question. Are you really happy with your job? Personally, my answer brought me so much resistance, I first had to break down to see my truth.
Why can’t I be you?
Does it seem familiar, not allowing yourself to just be you and be very okay with that?
I believed that everyone else was wonderful and more important than me. I questioned my ability to stand out and shine. Because who was I to do that? Growing up I learned to be humble. I dared not to stand out. I had no clue how to. Not without a feeling of shame for just being me.
The moment you realize building someone else’s dream is not serving you anymore
Is the moment you feel no more passion -or even some sense of enthusiasm- for your work. When it becomes a rut. Or when your insecurities make it too stressful. Your heart and focus are anywhere but at the job.
My insecurities kept me in my job until I got burned out. As a managing director of a charity, I'd made it my personal goal to make their mission a success. I wanted to prove myself and succeed. But I put the bar too high. While the organization grew bit by bit, I was feeling no pride. Only failure. After five years of structurally overdoing it, I called in sick, cried every day for months on end. Leaving me with anxiety attacks, guilt, shame and no energy. That was my wake-up call.
What would you do?
Change is needed. Whatever the consequences. You're feeling pain anyway. You need to break free from this daily stress. Change patterns. Find a way to pursue your own dream. And find your spark again.
5 Practical steps to discover and pursue your own dream
For years I'd been completely blank on 'What else to do to earn an income?'
Only when I allowed myself to look for the answer close to my heart I came up with two surprising passions: Yin yoga and growing my own online business with who I am and what I love.
I didn’t dare to believe these were serious options for me. And overwhelm hit me immediately. But the best antidote to overwhelm is to just focus on the next step. So I took one step finding a yoga training. And then another step finding the best business to escape the rat race, gain confidence and become financially self-reliant. And many steps followed.
Now I AM a yoga teacher and I HAVE my own online business. Who would've thought?!
These 5 steps explain exactly how I got from point zero to achieving my own dreams:
STEP 1: Allow Yourself To Take The Time
Don't force yourself to have it all figured out overnight. Time pressure will not help you move forward. It might take a while. That's normal.
Like a seed needs enough time to grow into a beautiful strong tree.
It. Is. Just. The. Time. It. Needs.
Time is a created thing. To say I don't have time, is to say - I don't want to.
- Lao Tzu
STEP 2: Trust Yourself
Stepping out of your comfort zone can be scary. Afraid of the many setbacks that - you think - for sure will follow. Thinking you'll probably be the one person that won’t succeed! Do I have the qualities? And the energy?
Yes. You have it all in you. But trust in yourself is needed to proceed.
Maybe you've lost your self-confidence over the years because of some mistakes you made or getting criticized by others. What you're actually telling yourself is that you're not good enough.
These self-defeating thoughts can be very hurtful.
But genius too!
Because these thoughts are 100% created by YOU, so you can also put a stop to it. Whoopee!
So grow your confidence by giving your wicked thoughts some helpful things to talk about, won't you?
STEP 3: Celebrate your steps forward
If you feel you're not getting there fast enough, your mind is saying: You see, I can't do it' or 'I'm too slow!. These thoughts are not serving you.
Instead, be the scientist. Measure your growth by looking back from zero point to now. Immediately you'll see you've moved forward. Hurray! This calls for a huge celebration. Something you thought wasn't possible, is happening. By your own doing. Imagine what will happen if you continue doing what you're doing. Magic!
And it's okay to not be perfect and make mistakes in the process. You're human like we all are.
Just remember to be kind to yourself when you have a setback. And then dust yourself off, get back on your feet and have trust. Tell yourself it's okay and maybe try a different approach. And then be proud that you did.
Every small step counts.
STEP 4: Recognize Your Passion
Thoughts on what to do have changed over the years. As a kid, if you liked something, you just did it. Now your limiting thoughts get in the way and many of us do what we think we're supposed to do.
But there's a passion - many! - in everyone.
Like writer Mark Manson said in this very clarifying article Screw Finding Your Passion:
'You already found your passion, you’re just ignoring it.
Seriously, you’re awake 16 hours a day, what do you do with your time? You’re doing something, obviously. You’re talking about something. There’s some topic or activity or idea that dominates a significant amount of your free time, your conversations, your web browsing, and it dominates them without you consciously pursuing it or looking for it.
It’s right there in front of you. For whatever reason, you’re avoiding it. You’re telling yourself, “Oh well, yeah, I love comic books but that doesn’t count. You can’t make money with comic books.”
Have you tried?'
The problem is never a lack of passion. It's you not seeing what lies close to your heart. And setting priorities.
These 7 Strange questions might be a bit ridiculous, but very helpful to find your life’s purpose!
STEP 5: Formulate your goals and set priorities
Shape your newfound passion into a goal
Write it down. Share it with others. See if it sticks. And then pursue it by breaking your goal down in smaller steps. Priorities.
Setting priorities is the opposite of leaving things to chance. Especially when this chance got you stuck in an unhealthy pattern. Then you require a healthy goal to guide you out of that pattern. Priorities are just the small steps in this process that lead to reaching your goal.
Select priorities based on logic and practicality
Rather than complicated and unrealistic standards be practical. Let's say you want to earn a decent income with your online business in 4 months. That's pretty hard to accomplish if you've not yet learned the skills to do this. First, a few steps need to be taken that need all your attention.
Separate the important stuff from side issues
If you make everything a priority, then nothing’s a priority.
Separating the important stuff from side issues can make it very clear for you. It’s like going for that gold Olympic medal. Anything on your path that helps you reach that goal, you embrace. All the things that don’t contribute you can set aside.
Learn to say NO
When aiming for a certain goal it's important to learn to say 'no' to all the stuff that isn't serving you in the process.
Having formulated a goal makes it easier to say no, because you'll have a darn good excuse. 'No, I'm not available in the afternoons, because I've decided to spend more time with my kids'. Who would dare to argue with that!
Saying no to one thing, let’s you say yes to another!
Just keep it simple, be mild to yourself and take small steps.
Check out this very practical 4-step guide with tests and worksheets to formulate your goal and discover who you're meant to be.
Really, finding my passion AND the best business to gain my confidence gave me the ability to build a life around the things I love, and even earn money from it.
With that my road to freedom was being paved. Allowing myself to finally take that exit to the scenic route!