It was a hot day in the middle of July. Even with the AC on full power, I could still feel the sweat gathering on my brow. But even in the sweltering heat, I couldn’t have been happier: it was payday.
At the time, I was an engineering intern at the number three company on the Fortune 500 list, and they paid their employees like you would imagine the number three company does.
I had just left the bank from depositing the biggest single paycheck I had ever received, and I floated all the way back to my car. I was on cloud nine.
But as I walked back to my car, and started my commute home, an uneasiness started to work its way through my body.
I started asking myself questions. Questions that I had thought of before, but always quickly dismissed. But for whatever reason, on that day, I couldn’t shake the nagging thoughts. I could hear the voices in my head loud and clear ...
Is this what I’m really supposed to do with my life?
I knew I needed to change the direction of my life. But at the time, I couldn’t muster up the courage to actually do it.
It took me almost an entire year to finally walk away from that internship (and the pending job offer). I completely changed the direction of my life, but I knew it was OK because I was finally following my heart.
The change would have happened sooner, but I was afraid.
Here are common excuses people who are dreamers make to themselves when they're afraid to follow their hearts. These are just simple fears and any dreamer is capable of pushing past them! But first you have to understand why they're not true:
1. You think chasing dreams is just a fantasy, or something that only other people do.
With all the demands on us, like paying bills and supporting those we love, it can be difficult to truly believe that chasing your dreams is even a possibility. It is possible.
Find examples of people who are living the life you want to live, and study what they did, and how they behaved in order to create that life. But instead of focusing on all of the differences between you and that person (he had the right connections, she was naturally talented), focus on how you're similar to that person.
What characteristics or skills did that person have, that you also have or could quickly develop? Once you find the connection between yourself and the person who already followed their heart and is living that life, it will be easier for you to follow in their footsteps and achieve the same things.
2. You keep waiting for someone else to give you permission.
You’re asking your co-worker what she thinks you should do. You’re calling your dad and asking what he thinks you should do. You know what the problem is with that approach?
Nobody else can fully understand your perspective. They have not lived your life. They don’t know what your heart truly wants, and they haven’t experienced life from your point of view. The only person you need permission from is you.
3. You fear the road less traveled.
Following your heart can often times mean taking the road less traveled. Most people are too afraid to follow their heart, so when they see you trying to follow yours, their natural reaction will be to look at you fearfully.
Sometimes following your heart means walking alone, but when you are being true to yourself, the passion and connection you feel to life will get you through the rough patches.
4. You think that you don't have what it takes.
You know what it is that you want to do, and your heart is speaking to you loud and clear. But you just don’t have the confidence that you can actually do it. You don’t believe you have the right skills, talents, or connections to make it work.
To help you realize just how much you're really capable of, you need to create purposeful goals that are small enough to be manageable in the near term, but are large enough to push you out of your comfort zone. By achieving these goals you create “quick wins” and prove to yourself just how incredible you are.
Listening to your heart is the first step to letting yourself have everything you deserve and a life that you love. What inspires you and how do you stay motivated? Let me know in the comments below!