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The enemy of leading a passionate life


There's an old meme going around the internet that claims there are over 365 passages in the Bible that tell us to not be afraid - one for every day of the year. I didn't count the passages. It could be true or it could be an exaggeration. Regardless, fear is very real and if you're pursuing your goals in life, fear is the one obstacle that will not just tackle you, fear will tie you up and leave you completely incapacitated - if you allow it to have that much control.

Over the past several years I've had the good pleasure of consulting with several people about chasing after their personal passions. Each of them had a different passion - a different calling that they wanted to follow after. But along each of their paths was one obstacle they had to overcome. Fear.

They're not alone! I had to wrestle with fear on more than one occasion. In no particular order, here are some fear obstacles I've had to overcome. Maybe you can relate to one or more of these. More importantly, you can find a path around, over or through these fear obstacles.

  1. What if... my mom was the queen of "what if" scenarios. They usually went something like this, "What if you run out of money?" or "What if no one likes what you do?" or "What if the economy collapses?" Until one day I said, "Mom, what if an asteroid struck the earth tomorrow and we all died... and I didn't pursue my dream?" You can "what if" something to death. They can paralyze you. Certainly it's a great idea to do a risk assessment - know what you're doing and make plans for honest, potential issues. But you cannot tackle them all. Be reasonable. Write out your risks but balance that with your rewards.

  2. Change is scary...I'm actually certified in dealing with change management. It's a thing. In fact there are many jobs out there to help people overcome change. Change is scary... but I found that the status quo was even scarier. What helped me through this was making changes. Each change became more radical than the last. I'd change my appearance. I grew my hair down to my shoulders and then cut it short and spiked it. I grew facial hair one week and shave it the next. One group I worked with used to refer to me as the department chia pet. I can grow facial hair fast! Change for the sake of change isn't the idea. It's getting comfortable with change that'll help you out. Do something radical. Be different and don't be afraid to be noticed!

  3. There's an unknown in the world... and this often ties back into my first point. You cannot know everything or plan for every contingency. Ask yourself, what's the worst that could happen? In 2011 I quit my corporate job (that paid very well) of 24 years and went to work for my Church (at $12.50 an hour). I wanted to spend more time with my nonprofit organization and to do that, I needed a job that I didn't take home with me every night. One day I asked myself, what's the worst thing that could happen to me? If I couldn't pay my bills, I wouldn't be homeless. I have too many family members and friends who wouldn't let that happen. I could always downsize my living (although at the time I was living in a 730 sq ft house so downsizing wouldn't be easy). But I could move into an apartment where I wouldn't be responsible for repairs. But I lived for three years working for my Church and some small nonprofits - and survived! In fact I learned a great deal about what was important to me during that time. There are always unknowns in this world. Be reasonable about them but then have some back up plans in life. If I couldn't make it work I could always go back to the corporate world!

  4. Everyone has an expectation of me... this one is more true for some people than others. I recognize that. At the time I made the leap from Corporate America to the low paying world of nonprofits, it was just me, a dog and a cat. Some people have families to worry about. And by all means, please take care of them! But you can still pursue your passion! It might simply be a part-time endeavor until the kids are off to college (or maybe when they graduate). But don't let the expectations of others get in the way of going after your dream. Ask yourself, whose expectations are really important. Your list may be smaller than you think!

  5. Maybe I'll fail... to which I say, GOOD! Failure is a great teacher. Fail fast and often! More and more companies are even espousing this ideology. (Although many of them don't really mean it.) But step out and fail. Figure out what went wrong, course correct and try again! Not only will you be helping yourself, you'll be helping others in the future who want to follow in your footsteps. They will learn from what you tried to do and failed at more than what you succeeded at. Growing up, my older sister was always in trouble - not serious trouble - but she had some miss-steps in life. I learned a valuable lesson growing up with her: Learn from the mistakes of others - you cannot live long enough to make them all yourself! But try and fail as many times as it takes.

Your passion is worth pursuing. Fear is worth overcoming. We don't get stronger when everything is handed to us... step out in faith that there is an order to things in life and you're on the path way to self-discovery!

Be Passionate!

To learn more, visit BePassionate.co and start following your dreams! Be the you that you were meant to be!

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