I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing that I wanted to do. — Georgia O’Keeffe
I had finally found my purpose. It felt so good to take action to do what I loved rather than to wait until the “right time” arrived. My passion fuelled me through 14-hour workdays. My enthusiasm closed my ears to those who told me I needed to wake up and “get a real job.” My joy carried me up the learning curve faster than I ever imagined.
Initially, there was rapid growth. Great feedback from my clients poured in. I interpreted these facts as confirmation that I was on the right path. But then, my business slowed down until it nearly came to a halt.
That’s when I had an uninvited visitor: Doubt.
What if the naysayers are right? What if I’m making a mistake, investing precious time and money on a pipe dream? Soon enough, Doubt invited his cousin, Fear.
What if I am wasting away my future?
When I looked in the mirror, I noticed a gray hair that seemed to have magically appeared overnight. Where did this hair come from? Is this a sign that I’m not getting any younger and need to quit before I ruin the rest of my career?
I found myself in a state of overwhelm. The 14-hour workdays became draining. My inbox became daunting. For the first time in my life, I was out of new ideas when I sat down to write.
I asked for a sign. And shortly after, it hit me. If I remained in a state of doubt, fear and anxiety, the only signs I would see would be those that reinforced the negativity. I understood that the only way to see a positive sign was to change the way I looked at myself and at my situation.
How did I do this? How did I shut down the voices that told me there was tangible evidence that I needed to stop pursuing my dream career? Read on.
I realized it had been a long time since I had done something just for fun! I couldn’t remember the last time I laughed. I decided to shut down my laptop and cell phone and drive to my favorite spot by the ocean.
Watching a cormorant plunge into the water for its next meal reminded me that the planet wasn’t revolving around my work. There was a life to be lived outside of my career. I returned to my office filled with enthusiasm and inspiration.
➙ If you’re not taking care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of your career or anything else. Schedule daily breaks and weekend outings. Use your vacation time. Spend time with your loved ones. Periodically step away from anything related to work, and watch your productivity and energy soar.
If you feel burned out, return from a break only when the first clear, uplifting thought enters your mind. That’s when the momentum toward complete mental clarity will have started.
You probably hold a vision of how you’ll follow your passion, and might be quick to assume that when reality doesn’t match your plans, you’ve failed.
A sense of failure might prompt you to question your calling and even quit pursuing it.
➙ Just as you would find a different route to your destination if an accident blocked the main road, you could find a different way to do what you love.
In my case, I researched the possible causes of the slowdown of my business, learned from the experience and made changes to spur new growth.
I also told myself that if my new actions didn’t create the results I wanted, I would find a way to incorporate my passion into another career venture.
Once you clearly determine what inspires you, keep an open mind when it’s time to apply your gifts to a job or business. There are many different paths leading to the same destination.
Changing unchangeable things is a fool’s journey. Sometimes you just have to learn how to play poker with the cards in your hand. – Pete Trainor
Associating with positive people and events will allow you to see positive signs. Instead of overanalyzing why my business wasn’t performing as well as I expected, I appreciated its current growth. I focused on what was going right.
I also contemplated how much progress I had made since the start of my venture, and I was surprised by my findings.
I had just found evidence that I had taken effective action for success.
I reached out to people who supported me and stayed away from the critics. The encouragement from those who believed in me reenergized me.
Soon after, new ideas for sharing my message popped into my head.
➙ Choose to focus on what you like about your current job and to how much you’ve learned in your career. Seek the company of those who support you.
You’re likely to be flooded with positive feelings, which will bring to light opportunities that had previously remained unnoticed.
Keep the three R’s in mind ( the rest, resilience, and refocus), and trust that it’s possible for you to succeed doing what you love.