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Feeling stuck? Not sure what’s next? Ready to start living your dreams? Many of us stay in our traditional roles and jobs. We stick with what we know. It’s safe, it’s secure.

 According to The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Employee Viewpoint Survey released in 2019, 45% of employees are dissatisfied with the opportunities for career advancement at their employment.

Most people believe they will not advance in their career at their current employer.

This is ridiculous! Many people feel like they are going nowhere at their current place of work. Yet they stay at their current job.

The truth is you can 100%, absolutely, pursue your passion and even turn your life dreams into your career.

There is another truth to it; it’s not simple or easy. Some dreams come with more challenges than others.

Discover how you can follow your dreams and overcome those challenges. This article explores:

  • How to figure out your passions & why it’s important to sort this out first.
  • Can your passions be profitable?
  • Even with a jam-packed life, you can pursue your dreams.
  • Getting started starts today.
  • Moving forward in your life – the life you’ve always desired.

Step 1: What is Your Passion?

First things first. To live the life you desire, we need to figure out what you want to do. You may think you already know. That’s awesome if you do! Let’s confirm it! The number one way to figure out what makes you excited, what drives you, what you love to do is a 2-step process.

#1 Brainstorm

Call it a mind map, call it doodling. Whatever it is, get it out on paper. Going old school with a piece of paper and a pen is a wonderful method to get those ideas out of your head. Of course, you absolutely can use your computer or tablet to brainstorm.

With brainstorming, your key to success: No filtering.

Whatever the ideas are, write them down. Don’t judge yourself. Don’t worry about the how. Write down as many things as you can about things you love to do; things that make you happy.

Some of these won’t be practical. Some you will not ever pursue. Others may always be a hobby. That is completely okay.

Set yourself free to express your ideas completely.

Okay so you probably have a bunch of ideas (if it’s only a few, that’s okay too).

#2 Make a list

Everyone brainstorms differently so your ideas may already be in somewhat of a list format already.

Regardless, grab a new piece of paper or open a new blank document on your computer. Looking at your brainstorming ideas, create a list of the ideas that resonate with you the most.

Again, don’t worry about how you would do whatever it is – just put it in the list.

Your list ideally is about 5 things that really make you feel good.

This makes it much easier for you to focus on your next steps.

Find Your Focus

Finding your focus makes all the difference in finishing what you start, in completing your projects. This is vital to the process. If you don’t know where you are going, you won’t be able to get anywhere!

Now that you’ve got 3 – 5 ideas for your passion project, let’s narrow it down a bit more.

Close your eyes. I know you’re reading this so that’s a bit tricky 😊 The point is, stop looking at your list for a moment.

Now, look at it again. Which idea jumps out at you?

Which idea excites you the most?

Which idea sounds the scariest?

Pick one idea.

That’s right, just one.

Don’t worry, this is between you and me right now. If the one you pick seems so far out there, that it will never happen, it’s okay. Sometimes the scariest ideas are the best ones!

Take this one idea and let’s explore how you can start pursuing your dreams today.

Step 2: Is Your Passion a Profitable Idea?

As much as I’d love to say, of course it is! Whatever you are passionate about is a way you can make money!

Most things we love to do, have some profitability attached. It depends on what it is and how you can monetize it.

If your hobby is photography, cooking or crafts, there are ways you can share your gift with the world. Selling your photos, photographing other people. Teach cooking classes online. Create a how-to craft course. There are lots of possibilities.

Be careful! To turn your passion into profit, you will need to:

  • Be creative (even if it’s not a creative-based idea)
  • Have patience

What do I mean “be creative”?

If you are passionate about bookkeeping, that does not mean you have to be a bookkeeper (unless you really want to!).

How about teaching basic bookkeeping to small business owners until they can afford to hire a bookkeeper?

Or teaching junior bookkeepers how to improve their career or start their own bookkeeping business?

Patience is necessary because everything takes time, money and energy.

Especially if you’re still working full-time, have a family, there are many factors that affect the speed of your success.

Even if you’re not launching a new business, your life goals all take resources. Now, let’s figure out the reality of how you can make this dream happen – whatever your financial, family or health situation is right now.

Step 3: Dipping a Toe or Diving In?

Life is exhausting. Work responsibilities. Family. Life. Sometimes just getting through the day is all we can do.

Here’s another truth. Our minds get in the way too.

When I was a little kid, I knew I wanted to be a writer. The fact that I didn’t pursue writing as a career until I was in my 40’s was influenced by a few things in my life.

A loving but old-fashioned aunt told me when I was young that little girls grew up to be nurses or teachers, not writers. I started answering the question of what I wanted to be when I grew up with “nurse” even though I knew that was not true.

Despite that, I always kept writing in the back of my mind as a dream. When I researched “how to be a writer”, many things I read indicated that you need to be experienced and educated.

Due to health issues and other life choices, higher education was not a big part of my life after high school, so the education piece was missing.

The biggest challenge though was that I felt inexperienced in life. In my late teens, I made a decision that changed everything.

I decided I would not be able to be a professional writer until I was in my 40’s. I still wrote as a hobby and even contributed a short story to a book published in my mid-20’s. Then I stopped trying. What we think about is true.

My head got in my way. I could have been writing for the past 20 years. Now, I could use that as an excuse to not even start.

It’s easier to not start than to try and fail.

I’ve failed at many things in my life. It took me 5 times to pass my drivers license test. I’ve struggled with running my own business. I’ve worked in hostile work environments. Now, I’m living my dream. You can live your dreams too.

The easiest thing to do with your dream? Self-sabotage it like I did.

I’ve got great news though! Recognizing it means you can change it! When we are aware of who we are, what we want and what we think about, then we can make the changes to make it happen.

Here’s where it’s time to make a decision on whether or not you’re going to dip your toe into the water of your dream or dive right in.

Things to consider:

  • Do you have the financial resources to change direction and focus on your dream?
  • How much physical, mental and emotional energy will chasing this dream entail?
  • What kind of support system do you have in place?

These are not questions to dissuade you from pursuing your dream. Rather, it improves the odds of your success.

Knowing the obstacles that may pop up allows you to prepare for them.

Look at everything that is required to fulfill your dream:

  • Do you need to take any classes?
  • Can you get help from friends or family to alleviate some of your responsibilities?
  • If you do this part-time, how long will it take you to get started?
  • If you do this full-time, how long will it take you to get started?

Make a list of everything you need. Include any costs and the time factor for those pieces.

Define your success. What does it look like when you accomplish your dream? Or is it an on-gong dream?

Along with your success definition, there can be milestones. Let’s go back to the bookkeeper and your goal is to teach small business owners the basics to keep them on track.

The end goal is to have 100 students in your program.

Milestones would include:

  • Creating your program
  • Testing your program
  • Enrolling your first 5 students

There are many other milestones along the way. This gives a clear picture of what your success will look like so you can feel it and taste it. When our emotions are tied to our success (in a positive way), then we are much more likely to succeed.

Now you’ve got a clear vision for where you are headed and whether you can do this full-time or part-time.

Step 4: How to Get Started

The biggest piece of getting started is what you just did:

  • Clear picture of your end goal
  • Actions to take to achieve your goal
  • Creating a timeline of the milestones to accomplish your dream

Congratulations!

The next step is to get moving.

Taking that first action step is often the most challenging.

You’ve already made huge progress on living your dream by getting this far.

Let’s keep it going!

Remember that self-sabotage stuff? It is often the biggest obstacle right now. Fear keeps us paralyzed. We’ve identified where and how we’re going to get there.

It’s “just” a matter of starting.

Easier said than done!

A coaching client of mine refers to her preferred mindset as “all or nothing”. Just like when I stopped writing for years. Since I couldn’t pursue it (in my mind) as a real thing, then I did nothing about it.

The “all or nothing” approach often leads to failure. If you never start, then it will never happen.

I accepted that about my upcoming book, Step, Step, Pick. It was an idea I’d been kicking around for years but never did anything about. In 2019, I said to myself, that’s it. Stop thinking about it and do it already! Look for it to be available in 2021!

This is the most important thing: take it one step at a time.

Yes, you know where you are headed and that is fantastic.

Do not let that overwhelm you!

Now is the time to focus on those steps you need to make it happen. While you will still have your end goal in mind, just think about what you need to do first. Do not worry about the other stuff.

What is the first thing you need to accomplish your goal?

If it’s to take a course, go find one.

If it’s to clean off your desk so you can use it regularly, do that.

Whatever you need to do first, do that.

Then when you finish that task, move onto the next one.

Once you start, it’s much easier to keep going. That is the beauty of momentum.

The final piece of keeping it going is being realistic about your time and energy. Most people are not in a financial position to quit their job to pursue their dreams full-time. Or if you already have a business, your focus is on your business and moving in a new direction can be a distraction.

It is possible to keep your life basically the same and still pursue your dream.

It will take longer than if you can dive right in full-time.

But it will still happen. While I’ve been writing Step, Step, Pick, I’ve either had a full-time business, a full-time job or both… Yet, I’m nearly ready to send it to the publishers.

How is that possible?

By doing a little bit at a time.

Even 10 minutes a day.

To get into the groove of writing my book, I set a personal goal. I would work on it 10 minutes a day. That’s it.

I knew, with my limited energy, that was all I could do.

Some days, that 10 minutes was very tough. I admit, some days that I didn’t complete my 10 minutes.

Most of the time though, I was able to put in a little bit of time here and there. Some days it was only the 10 minutes. Other days, it was a full hour. On amazing days, it was half a day or a full day.

This is how I am finishing off the book.

This is how you can accomplish your goals too.

Do your best to find 10 minutes in your day.

Get up 10 minutes earlier. Use 10 minutes of your lunch break (take a lunch break please!). Somewhere in your day, there is 10 minutes waiting for you to find it and start living your dream.

You can do it!

Step 5: Getting the Support You Need

Let your family know your plans too. Whether they are directly involved or not, they will be impacted by your decision to move forward with your dream.

I’m so excited right now!

When you tell your family, they may think you are wasting your time. They may discourage you. I hope they will be supportive of your choices.

If your family or your friends are negative about your dream, it can be very tough. Depending on your circumstances, it may mean making changes to how you pursue your dream.

It may take longer, that’s okay.

Keep it up!

Find someone who is supportive of your dream. Whether that’s a friend, a support group, or an online community, it is important to feel supported through your journey. Another option is to consider hiring a private coach; someone who will support you with accountability and helping you move forward.

Is private coaching right for you? Check out more information here.

In addition, feel free to download the free worksheet, Your Dreams, Your Way. You can outline your dream goal, establish monthly and weekly goals, and track your progress right in this fillable PDF.

Download Your Dreams, Your Way Worksheet

Today is your day! You’ve got this!

References

Annual Employee Survey. (2019, October). Retrieved September 12, 2020, from
https://www.archives.gov/about/plans-reports/employee-survey