We often use words like passion and purpose around here on Thin Difference. With good reason, many of us realize our career prospects are rocky, even (especially?) with those fresh degrees – so why not try to make a real go of following our dreams?
We make the decision to move forward – and quickly, we realize it’s a process. It becomes clear that you don’t have a true vision of what that dream is. The pressure starts to build as time passes and the dream has yet to reveal itself until finally, we figure out what we want to do. Next, we start planning how we’re going to get there. Maybe we have our doubts, but the excitement quells them.
We move on to the next step, which is to implement the changes needed to accomplish the dream and put our planning into action, but something doesn’t seem right. Our minds start to question things:
Is it supposed to be this hard? (Shouldn’t this come easy if I’m following my passion?)
Am I supposed to be met with such resistance? (Shouldn’t things fall into place more simply?)
Shouldn’t I feel happy to be chasing my dream? (Isn’t this supposed to feel good?)
I think a lot of us ask these questions in the early stages of dream-chasing. We begin to wonder if we’re really doing what we should be doing. We begin to question if we’ve committed to something that we shouldn’t have. We ask ourselves if we’ve made a turn in the opposite direction from our true calling.
How can we be sure that this is the right choice, and not a wrong turn?
I’ve definitely been in “wrong turn” situations before, and I’ve had to climb out of them. It wasn’t easy. I’m forever grateful for every experience I had, but in retrospect, I had a gut feeling which I ignored. More than once!
Chasing Your Dream
If you’re in this questioning phase of dream-chasing, I’ve come up with five questions to ask yourself right now.
These questions serve two purposes:
- To help you to find some clarity and sort out whether or not you’re ready to make your dreams become your reality, and
- To help you realize whether or not you’re making the right choices for you, and no one else.
Here they are five questions dream-chasers can ask themselves:
1. Is it really what you want?
“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.” Steve Jobs
I know this seems like an obvious one. Of COURSE you really want this, right? Not so fast. Sometimes we think something is our dream because it’s what we’ve always imagined ourselves doing. Or maybe we see something others are doing and we want a piece of the pie. Often we may even confuse the vision that a parent or loved one has for us with our vision for our own lives. The first step is to be honest with yourself and ask yourself if you’re truly chasing your own dream.
2. Are you overly attached?
“Those who are certain of the outcome can afford to wait, and wait without anxiety.” A Course In Miracles
Dreams don’t happen overnight, and you could go crazy trying waiting for them to become a reality. Be sure that your attachment is healthy, and you can still enjoy the journey. If you’re waiting for the rewards but aren’t enjoying the time it takes to get there, it’s time to step back and take a look at what changes you can make to start living your life more fully now.
3. Are you ready to hustle?
“Hustle isn’t just doing the things you love all the time. Hustle is doing the things you don’t enjoy sometimes to earn the right to do the things you love.” Jon Acuff
You have to work hard. You have to hustle! You may have to wake up early or stay up late if you have a full time job or other responsibilities. You may have to add skills that you never wanted to learn in order to help you succeed. You may have to ask for help, something not all of us love to do. And sometimes, you may have to realize that it’s not your time JUST yet, and your dream will still be there when you get back.
4. Are you prepared to be in it for the long haul?
“You must participate relentlessly in the manifestation of your own dreams” Elizabeth Gilbert
Dreams take time to manifest, so you need to be sure you’re fully committed. The reason I say this is not because I think you can’t change your mind, it’s because, as I’ve said so many times before, clarity is an important element to making things happen. If you’re not fully imagining yourself in this role, maybe it’s not the right thing for you.
5. Are you flexible enough to welcome necessary change?
“Be infinitely flexible and constantly amazed.” – Jason Kravitz
Reality check: a lot of new businesses fail and a lot of projects hit the ground before they’ve taken off. One of the most critical things you need to look out for are problem areas as they arise, so that you can proactively make the changes necessary to continue to thrive. Are you open to change? Is your vision flexible? If so, you’re in good shape.