by Annie 

October 7, 2020

We all want to live our dreams out loud, right?! If you’re reading this, then you too want an extraordinary life. Bringing the life you’ve always wanted into reality requires creativity. You’re seeing where you’d like to go and moving closer, one step at a time. It truly is a creative process!

There are a few things that will get you derailed before you are even out of the gate, if you let them. These sneaky little buggers will keep you from moving forward and continuing to pursue whatever those dreams may look like. Whether it’s a business idea or creating the trip of a lifetime, bringing something to life where there once was nothing is going to push you in totally new ways! This doesn’t have to be scary, it’s an adventure and time to explore. 

Here are three big roadblocks you’ll encounter at some point along the way and ways to get past them.

Lack of Direction

finding creativity

When you don’t know where you’re going, it’s hard to choose a path. I always come back to this Alice in Wonderland conversation between her in the Cheshire Cat where she's asking which way to go. He says he asks where she's trying to get to and she says that she doesn't know. He tells her, “Well, then it really doesn't matter which way you go.” 

Having direction is absolutely essential for moving through the uncertainty and fear on the path to where you want to be. Most people will tell you to set clear, specific goals with timelines and all of that. You can totally do that, if it works for you! Personally, I’m not a fan of super specific goals like, “I'm going to live in this house and have this car and this job or this business.” That’s a lot to track and can feel overwhelming. Finding your direction can be so much simpler than all of that. 

When I'm talking about direction, I mean  the big stuff in life. What are the big things you’re going for? For me, this looks like strong and healthy relationships, community, a financially sustainable business, location independence, and doing work I love. This combination of overarching themes are what I call my North Star. It’s the stuff I’m working toward and where I keep my internal compass pointed. 

If my life looks and feels like that: doing work I love, from anywhere in the world and a life full of wonderful relationships and community, I don’t care about the details. I'm happy! I don't give a shit what kind of house I live in, or what kind of car I'm driving. My priorities are met. I don't need it to look a specific way for me to be satisfied.

Once you figure out what makes up your North Star, this becomes what you use to decide which opportunities and ideas to pursue. An opportunity comes up, maybe it's a job or business opportunity, and you simply look at those big goals for your life and ask, “Does this get me closer to those?” Let that answer be your guide. 

Fear & The Comfort Zone

getting uncomfortable

Here's the thing, as you start moving towards your dreams, the fear is going to show up. The more you stretch yourself, the louder it will be. I call those voices that show up with self-doubt and all the potential failures “the gremlins”. These are the voices that tell you, “Absolutely not, you cannot do this! This is a terrible idea! Here are all of the million zillion reasons you're going to fail and all the things that could go wrong.” These gremlins will be creativity killers, if we don’t keep them where they belong. 

What your mind really wants is what it already knows. It wants to be comfortable, it knows that in this shitty unfulfilling job, you're safe. You're not going to die. This part of you doesn’t care so much about your happiness, but ultimately about your survival. “We have already been here, and we know what to expect. So let's stay here. It’s safe.” 

These gremlins tell us that if we try something new everything will be ruined, we’ll be homeless on the streets, and everyone will hate us. Seriously, these are some of the extreme stories you might come up against! When those gremlins start showing up, this is actually a sign that you're changing these beliefs and moving in a new direction! That part of us really doesn't like the unknown is what starts freaking out. 

Truth: if you're chasing your dreams, trying to build that life that you really want, you're gonna have to go into the unknown. There's no way around it.

In Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert talks about this exact thing. The fear is ALWAYS going to show up. Always. She talks about looking at it like taking a road trip. You and your creativity are in the car, ready for adventure, and fear tags along for the ride. That fear gets to have a seat and a voice, but it does not get to have a vote! 

When those fears show up, start by simply acknowledging them. The conversation in my head goes something like this, “Cool fear, I see you and I see what you're trying to do. I super appreciate you trying to keep me safe, but we're gonna do this anyway.” It's almost like giving it a little hug and some love. “I appreciate you trying to protect me, but we're moving forward.” 

What’s the worst thing that would actually happen if you tried and failed? No, seriously, write it out. The stories in our head are usually much worse than the real life outcome of trying. Maybe you’d end up having to get a different job, change your living situation, or deal with some debt. That’s not as bad as “you’ll be homeless and everyone will hate you”, right? You get to decide if you’re willing to take the risk, but let’s be realistic about the potential outcomes. Chances are you won’t ever even play out your worst case scenario.

Unrealistic Expectations

let go of expectations

The third thing that will derail us so quickly are unrealistic expectations. You have a purpose and you create from that heart-centered space, something bigger than yourself.  When we’re talking about creating something from our passion and purpose, it becomes very personal and very vulnerable. It’s so close to our hearts and letting it come out into the world for others to see is scary.

It’s easy to put a lot of expectations on your work. You’ll find yourself expecting that things go a certain way, that there's a specific timeline, and that we have to be and do it all perfectly. When we put all of these unrealistic expectations on our creativity, we are totally setting ourselves up for disappointment. There is absolutely no way we can live up to those expectations when we’ve never even attempted this thing before! It's not possible. 

Because we can never be perfect, we never get started. As we start taking those first little baby steps, we find that we can't live up to those expectations. We say, “Fuck it. Why try?” when we could be allowing this creative process to be more about exploring and experimenting, to seeing what works and feels good. 

Once we’ve had some time to play and experiment, we’ll figure out what things worked and what we really enjoyed. It’s a learning process. Allow it some space to breathe!

Use Your Voice

Have any of these obstacles kept you from moving toward your dreams? What dreams have you set aside over the years because you weren’t sure where to start?  Join us in the free online community and share your stories. We’d love to hear them! 

About the author 

Annie

Change Maker. Bold Explorer. Big Dreamer.

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