Many of us faced new challenges this year due to the worldwide pandemic that caused us to stay home and retreat from our normal routines. As a result, a lot of people put their dreams on hold. But many also had the chance to reflect on where they are in their life and got inspired to try something new.
Do you dream about starting your own business or switching to a new career that gives you more joy and inspiration? Or maybe you’re looking to find an exciting new relationship with the partner of your dreams.
I believe a lot of women don’t follow through on their dreams because they are afraid of failure or don’t feel like they have the clarity to move forward. We tend to overthink things (myself included!) and so I want to help you move your dreams out of your head and into the real world! Keep reading for a few tips on how to get started…
Get out of your own head
Let’s say you’re wanting to transition to a new career or start a new business. You could daydream all day long about potential careers you could try but until you actually try them, you won’t really know how you feel and if it’s a fit for you. You also risk talking yourself out of it before you even start.
Be in action
The quickest way to get you the clarity you’re looking for is actually going out there and doing the very thing you want clarity on. Sounds simple, but many of us stop ourselves from doing just that. So, take a deep breath, take a day off and go shadow someone in a career you want to try. See what they do, experience it for yourself and ask them any questions that pop up for you. Or better yet, volunteer in that industry during your free time. If you want to start your own business, interview someone who is doing it now or find a creative way to try it out for yourself.
Or if your goal is around finding a life partner, make sure that you’re going on lots of dates and putting yourself out there in your regular, day-to-day life. The important thing is that you are actually making an effort to meet people vs. sitting behind a screen at home hoping someone will find you. Of course, with the current world situation, you may need to find creative ways to meet people like going on virtual coffee dates or meeting in a park at a safe distance.
Get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable
Or another popular way to put it: “feel the fear and do it anyway.”
This may be the hardest step of them all. A lot of people give up when they feel the slightest tinge of fear creeping in. Many don’t even really give their dreams a real chance because of it.
Here are some things you can do to work with fear:
1. First of all, realize that feeling fear is okay and it’s just an indicator that you’re changing something in your life and going out of your comfort zone. It’s just an emotion and you’re feeling that energy in your body as you’re growing and stretching yourself.
2. To better understand how fear may actually be serving you, you may want to try this journal exercise.
Find a quiet place, and take out a pen and paper. Write this question on the top of the page: How is fear serving me?
Write out all of the ways fear is currently serving you. Be really honest with yourself. Look at the list that you came up with, and circle the qualities that fear is providing for you right now. So, let’s say “comfort” or “security” came up for you. Ironically, fear is usually trying to help you in some way and keep you safe.
How can you provide yourself with the same feeling of comfort or security while still moving forward with your goals? Maybe it’s snuggling up on the couch with your partner after a long day of working on your new project. Or running yourself a bubble bath. And then do this with all the other qualities you came up with. Now you know how to nurture yourself while you work towards something new.
3. When the anxiety or fear comes, up, breathe through it. Take 5 deep breaths into the area where you feel constriction in your body. Don’t try to judge the feeling, just pay attention to where it is in your body and you may notice that the feeling goes away on its own.
4. Take small steps in beginning, and work up to bigger stretch goals. The more you challenge yourself, the easier it gets. You’ll grow your confidence by taking small steps towards your goals. These small victories will serve as new reference points that you can succeed.
5. Remind yourself that even if you fail, you’re still moving forward and you’re still learning. Remember that most successful people have put hundreds, if not thousands of hours in before they actually succeed at something. It’s easy to forget their journeys of how they actually got to where they are. So, try to learn the lessons without judging yourself along the way. Fun fact: the average two-year-old falls 38 times a day when they’re learning to walk. But you don’t judge them, so stop judging yourself if you make a mistake!
6. It’s helpful to build a routine to support you. Remember those qualities you identified in #2 above? Try to build some of those practices into your routine. That way you’re supporting yourself with self-care during the process of growth and avoiding burnout.
How to take the next intelligent step
So, what should you do if you’re faced with a tough decision? I’d like to give credit to the incredible Marie Forleo for this technique that I’ve paraphrased below:
For this one, it helps to sit in meditation for a little bit to clear your mind. Once you have, ask yourself a question around your next step. For example, if you’re trying to build a business, and you’re not sure if you should take on a business partner or stay a solopreneur, you might ask: “Should I partner with Sandra?” The key is to give yourself a specific YES or NO question that you can answer easily. Ask yourself this question and then wait to receive the message from your body. Notice what you feel in your body.
Then ask yourself, do I feel constricted or expansive energy? For example, constricted energy could feel like a tightening in your chest, while expansive energy would make you feel relaxed and open. If you feel constricted, your answer is NO. If you feel expansive, it would be a YES. You can repeat this process a few times to confirm the answer. Move forward with that decision and trust that you’ll know how to take the next intelligent step when the time comes.
Good luck on your journey, and cheers to new beginnings!