I recently made the difficult decision to quit my day job and pursue my passion—writing—full time. I describe this decision as difficult because it took me four years to work up the courage to actually do it. I dreamed of pursuing my passion but was always coming up with excuses (I’m too busy, I’m not smart enough, etc.) that allowed me not to follow through. Then one day two months ago, the stars aligned, and I realized I was finally ready to take that leap. I let go of everything that was holding me back and told myself, There are no other options. You’re just going to do it. You too can let go of the things that are holding you back and finally pursue your passion, but before you can, you need to identify what’s stopping you. Here are 10 things that might be holding you back.
- You’re afraid. Fear is one of life’s biggest paralyzers. Most people, myself included, are afraid of failing, but remember that many wildly successful people with amazing ideas failed before they succeeded. Sitting at home and being fearful of something that might happen (or might not happen) won’t get you anywhere. Face your fear, or embrace it, then let it go.
- You don’t have enough money to afford it. Ask yourself: When will you have enough money? Even if you win the lottery, will that be enough money for you to quit and follow your dreams? It might not. Consider getting a small loan from a family member or bank to help fund your new business or invest in that camera you’ve been eyeing.
- You don’t have time. It feels like everyone is so incredibly busy these days that no one has time for anything. No time for vacation, no time for family dinner, no time for reading books. However, you make time for the things that you love, so you have to find time, even if it is just 15 minutes a day, for doing what makes you happy. Remind yourself that if you’re busy now, you’ll probably continue to be busy later, so set aside time for your dreams today.
- You don’t know how to do it. Sometimes I fantasize about opening a restaurant, a breakfast and lunch spot that sells beautiful bouquets of flowers alongside healthy grain salads and sandwiches made with roasted meats. But then I quickly think I could never do that! Why? Because I don’t know how to open a restaurant. However, worrying about not knowing how to do it is a waste of time. Instead, learn how to open a restaurant. Go to your favorite restaurant and set up an informational interview with the owners. Ask how they got started and if they have any tips for opening a restaurant. Meet with an experienced pro and make that person your mentor.
- You lack a plan. Not having a plan should not keep you from pursuing your passion. Make time to make a plan, then start to take the steps toward achieving your goal.
- You want to put your family first. Being a good spouse or parent doesn’t mean that you have to give up your individual dreams. Talk to your family and explain that you’ll be happier in pursuing your passions. Ask them to be your support system while you attempt to reach your goal. Invite them to be a part of the process, and make them feel special by being one of your confidants.
- You’re following societal norms. You’re 31 and you’ve finally realized that you want to become a nurse practitioner, but this requires that you go back to school, and it will be years before you can start working at a hospital. Society says you shouldn’t quit your stable tech sales job and start a different career, especially one like nursing that requires extensive schooling, but really, who cares? It’s your life: Live it the way you want to. You should be congratulating yourself for finally deciding to pursue your passion!
- You don’t think you are good enough. A lack of confidence in yourself could be holding you back. Speak to a close friend or visit a therapist to get to the root of these feelings. What makes you not good enough to pursue your passion? You don’t drive the right car? You don’t know the right people? These are just excuses that are stopping you from moving forward.
- You’re still searching for your passion. It can take years for people to discover their true passion, and if you have yet to figure out what makes you happy, don’t fret. Think about what you used to love doing as a child, and try to figure out the things that spark true joy inside you. Chances are you know what you want to do; you’re just not ready to face it.
- You don’t think you deserve it. Everyone deserves happiness, even you! If doing what you love is going to make you happy, you deserve it and you should—you must—pursue it.
Learn more about pursuing your passion by reading this book: Passion Made Possible.
Have you pursued your passions?