Are You Telling Your Old Story? Fuel Your Dreams and Write a New Book

September 19, 2011

The other day, I met up with a friend during her lunch break so that we could catch up. “Catching up” turned out to be her recounting her frustrations with her work and her life. “It would be so nice to do something exciting, but really, with all the kids’ activities, and my husband’s traveling schedule, who has the time?” She continued, “Besides, we need the safety of my paycheck.”

As I listened I realized, even though I hadn’t seen her in a while, she was telling me the “same old story”. It’s as if she meant to update me with a new story but the words, the message, the excuses that came out were the same! I scarcely controlled myself from coming out and screaming, “Stop! You’ve told me this over and over again! If you’re so unhappy, do something about it!”

Stuck. Stagnant. Paralyzed. Frustrated.

Most of us experience these feelings at some point in our life. Perhaps we feel stumped or in a rut in our careers; but we stay on our current path because it “guarantees” a paycheck. Maybe we feel that our personal life lacks “true” meaning and wish for more; but it is scary to leave our current protective and comfortable bubble of known factors and defined roles.  We may feel so weighed down by obligations and current possessions that it’s difficult to detach from them and leave them behind. More difficult for those of us who have a tendency to try to control our environment may be to step into the abyss of the unknown. It would make us feel too vulnerable to not have a clear idea of what can happen or where paths may lead.

…So we continue telling the same old story and constantly analyze and criticize the same thing, without moving forward.

Seriously, do you want to grow old, when it’s too late, and wonder with regret whether you could have succeeded if you had tried to follow your dreams? How do you propel yourself to the next phase, the “new book” in your life? Do you need new motivation to step up your current path to the next level? Or do you need to go down an entirely different path?

In her insightful book, Shed Your Stuff, Change Your Life, New York Times Best Selling Author, Julie Morgenstern, provides a practical guide which helps you work through the “stuff” that is holding you back so that you can find freedom and courage to move in the direction of your dreams.

Here are some other thoughts garnered from numerous sources of information available on this topic:

–       There will be those who will criticize and advise you to play it safe. Take a close look at them. Do they live a life of fulfillment and passion that you would like to emulate? Chances are that, though well-meaning, they are themselves risk averse and are trying to project their own situations upon you. Listen to your heart and find inspiration from the people who live out their passions.

–       If diving in full time is too drastic and not an option because of current obligations, then take baby steps. Work on developing the strengths you need to pursue your dreams. Get training. Do research. Make connections that will take you in that direction.

–       For goodness sake, just do it! Take action! Yes, analyze and calculate the risks, but don’t be so intent on perfectly predicting every outcome that you end up freezing into inaction.

–       Be prepared to change and adapt. You will face roadblocks and challenges. Learn from them. Figure out how to overcome them. Come up with “Plan B”. There is usually more than one road to get to your destination.

–       Never give up. Practice discipline to stick to it no matter what life throws at you. According to Hall of Fame basketball player, Michael Jordan, “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

So as William Shakespeare wisely said, “To unpathed waters, undreamed shores.” Let go of the old stuff and redefine yourself; manifest who you really are, what really excites you, drives you, fills you with passion, and write your new story!

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