Take a moment now to close your eyes. Ask yourself -- what do I want most in life? What is my dream? You'll most likely hear a voice inside you, answering. The voice might be quiet, it might be afraid, but it's there, telling you what you want.
I've always known I want to write. When I close my eyes and ask myself what my life goal is, it's always been to be a writer. I don't have a specific reason why, it's just a given, something I've always known.
However, writing is not the most financially secure of professions. In college, although I was an English major, I pursued Communication Sciences and Spanish majors as well, ensuring that I was well-rounded. Ultimately, I would point to my Communication Sciences major as the reason I landed my first job. I don't regret diversifying my learning.
Skip to a year ago, many years after college, and I still hadn't finished writing my novel. I had been focused on developing my career in market research, which I love. But in the quiet of night, right before I went to sleep, I could still hear the whisper that something was missing, that I should be writing.
I started asking myself, why hadn't I finished my novel? A year ago, I scribbled the reasons in my journal:
- Not enough time to write while working full-time -- stopping and starting my story wasn't going to give it the consistency it needed
- My dream was so important to me, that if I failed, it would be devastating
- I didn't want to open myself up to criticism from friends and family (and the general public) if they didn't like my book
- People rarely make good money on their novels
- The publishing process is tiring, full of rejection, even for the best writers
- My life was going well -- trying something new was "unknown"
Reading my list, I realized that although I see myself as a brave person, I was holding back on the most important dream of my life due to fear. Fear of failure, fear of judgement from myself and others, fear of the unknown. I used "not enough time" as mostly an excuse to hide behind. So I started working on my novel again. I realized that writing came easier when I just let myself go and got in the flow. I finished the first draft of my novel in a few months.
Fear should not hold you back from pursuing your dreams. It sounds cliché, but so many of us fall victim to our fears and never do what we love.
So close your eyes, listen to that voice. It might be talking about a career, a side-profession, a hobby, a relationship, a place to move, to explore.
We ask a lot of open-ended questions in life about what we want and need. We look outside ourselves, when most of the answers are already inside us, things we already know.
Take the time to listen to yourself.
Labels: achieving goals, fear of failure, inner voice, mental health, novel, overcoming fear, pursuing dreams, writing