Have you ever had a brilliant idea, or developed a fantastic life plan for yourself and then changed your mind about pursuing it? What caused you to change your mind? Did you think things through more clearly? Did your mind wander to other things? Did your friends talk you out of it? Today I want to talk a bit about how to move beyond fear.
It’s hard to believe that over a year and a half has gone by since I quit my boring cubicle desk job (think Office Space). I quit that job to pursue my hobby and passion of fitness full-time.
I’ve had plenty of opportunity to change my mind, to turn back, and to quit, but I’ve set forces in motion that I have no desire to stop. I’ve found my wave, and I’m going to ride it!
How do you know what’s best for you?
For a very long time in my life, I didn’t have any clue what I wanted to do or who I wanted to be. There’s nothing unique or special about feeling like that. I think it’s fairly common. While some people are lucky and know early on, or at least they seem to have it figured out, I certainly didn’t.
None of us want to be outsiders. We want to be accepted, to be happy, and to fit in.
There is a lot of pressure on each of us to live up to certain standards. We’re told by our friends, family, and teachers to do certain things, to be a certain way, to accomplish certain tasks. This advice is
given to us beat into us by those who we love, admire, and respect, and we take it very seriously whether we recognize it or not.
Living within these confines is not a good thing or a bad thing. It is the natural order of living within a community. Even when we go through our rebellious years, most of us have boundaries which we dare not cross.
We play the part and live somewhere within these rules, within these expectations, commitments, and obligations not just because we’re pressured to, but because we really believe them.
As we live out this scripted life, we lose track of our inner voice, our spirit, our true selves. Knowing who we want to be becomes convoluted. We become confused on what it means to pursue our passions.
We end up with this feeling inside that we’re meant for other things, and not on the path that we should be on.
I certainly felt this way when I worked for the insurance company. It was just a paycheck to me. I was uninspired by my work, and everyday seemed to be simply a catch up of what didn’t get finished before. I couldn’t wait for the end of the day so that I could leave work and be the other person, the Johnny outside of the office. It was like a strange Jeckll and Hyde dichotomy.
You feel it inside you, and you know it to be true!
When you’re not on a path in life that you’re “supposed” to be on, and not doing anything to correct it, you become cynical, frustrated, and despairing. However, when you work every day to right your path – to follow your inner voice, then amazing things begin to happen. Opportunities present themselves to you that you never imagined. Luck finds its way into your life just when you need it.
I can’t tell you how to find your calling in life. I can’t tell you how to figure it all out. That’s really up to you, and unfortunately there’s no honest guidebook that can do that.
I can give you some suggestions on making it easier for you to recognize it within you though.
- Exercise – Health and vitality is fleeting and fragile. If you are not working to cultivate it and maintain it, then you are squandering it!
- Yoga – If anything, do it because you need to stretch, and stretching is good for you. The other benefits will find their way into you as you are able to receive them. Yoga has a way of providing for you what you need from it, when you’re ready for it. The only trick is that you have to be consistent in doing it!
- Meditation – Every day you have a million things running through your head. How are you supposed to know what your true self desires if you never shut off the constant flow of chatter in your brain? Doubts, criticisms, responsibilities, bills, family, chores, and dreams of past and future will never cease to crowd your thoughts unless you consciously act to quiet them.
These three things do not have to be separate. Yoga is exercise, and being in the zone while exercising and doing yoga is a form of moving meditation.
I know what you’re thinking! You’re thinking “Johnny, this article is about moving beyond fear and self-doubt, and you’re telling me to exercise?” What I’m saying is that’s a good place to start. If you want to gain control over an out of control life, a life that is not fulfilling to you, then begin by taking control over the things that you have the power to! You can choose to workout. You can choose to strengthen your body. The mind will follow, and then you’ll find the clarity to hear what your heart is trying to tell you.
It might seem like you have no time to incorporate these things into your life. Time management is a struggle to us all. You have to realize that we all have only a finite amount of time. If you spend just an hour a day incorporating one of these 3 things into your life, I guarantee your ability to be productive in all the rest of your daily tasks will increase dramatically.
I can’t exactly describe just how profound yoga has been in my life, but I believe my yoga practice is hugely responsible for helping me to make deeper connections with other people. Connections that have led to an established training clientele; owning a fitness studio; and to some of my current, best, and lifelong friends.
You will always wonder “What If?”
Knowing what you want out of life, and having the courage to follow through with obtaining it are two separate things. It took me a long time to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. The thought of leaving my comfortable insurance job for something unknown was terrifying to me. I had doubts, both legitimate, and illegitimate. I had plenty of fear about following my heart while my head was saying “caution!”
I also knew with relative certainty that if I didn’t take a chance on myself, and at least attempt this other path, that I would forever regret not having the courage to do so.
I was fed up with living a life that was not fulfilling me. I was done gambling on a future that might not ever coalesce. So then I decided to bet on myself instead!
Even now that I’m making it work, I still feel that everything is precarious. Heck, all of life is precarious. Anything could happen at any time, to any one of us that can take everything we’ve known away. Knowing that life is that fragile should encourage us to be bold and to do what we are called to do.
I don’t know who to attribute this quote to, but I’m sure that you’ve heard something similar:
I would rather have tried and failed, than to never had tried at all!”
Fear Is Projected On You
It’s challenging enough to figure out what you want to do, and then to actually start pursuing it. Be careful of your friends and family projecting their fears onto you. Their fears will become your fears. Beware the devil’s advocate. They have good intentions, but they are not you, and they are not living your life. Only you know truly what is in your best interest.
I’m sure that you’ve heard this story before: “Get through college, get a good job, invest in a 401K, and buy a house. Just maybe, one day, you’ll be able to retire and live the way that you want.”
Well I call bullshit on that advice. Your dream job might involve college, self study, or some certification programs, but to gamble your potential on a “safe” payoff that may or may not happen 40 years from now is ultimately horrible advice. Do what you feel inside you must do, because you will never be satisfied by anything less.
If you choose the safe and sure path, you will risk always feeling like you’re not where you’re supposed to be. I spent a lot of years on that path, and it wasn’t satisfying in the least. I knew every day that I was not living up to my full potential.
Live Your Dream
The life that you were meant to live won’t happen quickly. In fact, it will probably take months or years to get to where you want to be, but it’s worth it! It’s a magnificent feeling to wake up inspired every day because you’re doing what’s important to you.
Trust in you! You already know what’s best for you! It’s all about the journey anyway…