What gets in the way of pursuing our passion? How do we even know what our passion or dream is?
I remember as a little girl I said that I wanted to be a counselor for abused children. How did I even think that as a child? Was that intuition that I didn’t question or was it just some fluke that came out of nowhere? Looking back now, I believe I had some feeling about my life’s future purpose of inner healing…a knowing intuitive compass. I took a number (a zillion) of detours, absolutely necessary life experiences, and eventually ended up back in line with that compass needle.
In doing this work, I find many who claim to be discontent, unhappy, and watching life speed up and slip by. We talk about the things that are getting in the way of being content. Some of these might be necessary to have a roof over their heads and food on the table. Yet there are other emotional barriers, five of which (my top five) I will touch on that I believe keeps people from growing and stepping out their comfort zone.
1. Fear of Change.
The human Ego craves control and predictability and struggles with change and unpredictability. Although a necessary part of being human, the Ego does whatever it can to keep you grounded and in familiar territory, even if that territory creates discomfort.
Your spirit and your soul, on the other hand, want you to fly and to challenge yourself, and this takes courage away from the familiar and predictable life your Ego has spent many years controlling.
2. Relationship Disruption.
To pursue your passion probably will require support and sacrifice from loved ones. If you are a people pleaser or a caretaker (over-giver), it will appear that you are being selfish by taking ownership of and going toward your passion. You might feel resentment and anger from those who want you to stay in their comfort zone and it could feel like you are being disloyal by choosing you.
This is challenging and many will sabotage their dreams and revert back to that discomfort zone. My advice? Talk to your loved ones about the importance of your vision and what it means to you. If they truly love and accept that this is important for you, they will understand and will also see that it’s important for them to keep working through their own challenges about your changes.
3. Fear of Failure/Rejection.
I believe many of us have a little voice inside of us that tells us we won’t succeed and, if we don’t try we give that voice validation. I’ve heard time and again how truly successful people failed over and over. If something is really important and feels purposeful, then I believe we owe it to ourselves to keep trying.
This will require vulnerability to step out of that comfort zone and take some chances. It might mean three steps forward, two steps back or even six steps back. It will take courage and the possibility of rejection. My thoughts are that going for our dreams can never be failure but stumbling can sure feel like it.
4. Fear of Success.
Why would anyone be afraid of success? One of the problems with defining success is that it is unique to each of us. Even though we have the goal of breaking out of our comfort zone, it really is very predictable and extremely comfortable.
Again, becoming successful at something new means a change in other aspects of our lives, not necessarily a negative change, but definitely a change and something that we can’t control. One other aspect of fearing success is getting there and discovering that it didn’t fix everything. New areas of discomfort might emerge, which is okay and necessary, but this fact can keep many stuck and not attempting that something new (“at least I know what I have if I stay where I’m at”).
5. Fear of Being Creatively Vulnerable.
In my previous blogs, I have discussed creativity wounding, a topic that I was first introduced to by Brene’ Brown. What I have personally learned is that exposing my creativity to the world has taken a lot of personal courage and, at times has been scary.
The creative part of us is our art, it comes from a part of our brain that is not logical, and it is uniquely personal. It takes courage to allow that part of us to flow and, as far as I know, is the only way to allow ourselves to flow into the uncharted territory of finding our passion.
Ask yourself, “What would my future self want me to do about getting out of my comfort zone?”
My guess is that, if you can look 10, 20, or 40 years down the road, your future self will be very grateful that you walked through the challenges it took to expand your vision. You don’t have to change everything in your life all at once, just take a step toward your passion.
Maybe start with a conversation with your spouse, partner, or a close friend or even start to journal about it. You might do what I did and get on the road and then see where it takes you. I promise it won’t be boring and I also promise you will learn more about the miracles of you that still remain hidden. My hope is that you find one area to break out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself.