You’ve probably guessed that most of those detour signs are of your own making. Here’s how to deal.
Before the dream chasing began, I had to learn to ignore my co-workers telling me, “Suck it up, you’re a lifer, man.” I had to discover for myself the life hacks I wish someone had told me.
Years ago, grinding myself away, stuck in a dead-end road construction job of nine plus years, a vision of a life filled with new opportunities began to speak louder and louder until I couldn’t ignore it.
As the vision became clearer and clearer, I saw being a proud workaholic wasn’t fair to my dream chasing desires.
My boss was a Jerkasaurus Rex; my coworkers didn’t care about my ambitions, the extra hours of overtime needed to keep everything afloat were unfulfilling rewards keeping me from my family and what I deserved.
Early on, being a father had given new meaning to my life, but something was calling me to go for more. With years fading and kids growing, I tried to tell myself it could wait, but all I could hear was the clock ticking.
Secretly, I thought I wanted a break from it all, but in reality I wanted to go for it all.
Sitting at work one day, I’d had it; enough was enough. I was done with excuses, I was done with waiting for the right time. Things had hit a point of no return. I was burnt out. On that memorable day I made a promise. It was time for the next chapter to begin, which meant that would be my final year at that job.
Things shifted as I walked away from a job I hated, I felt relieved, but would soon find that there was more holding me back that was hidden from plain sight.
Blaming Others Won’t Solve the Problem, It IS the Problem
Blaming is easy, but toxic. For years, I blamed everyone but myself. I’d blame the spouse, my job, my boss, my parents, the president, my schedule, etcetera, etcetera etcetera for not chasing my dream.
Things had changed, I was ready to own my choices, I was done settling for less and done blaming anyone but myself. Then, when everyone and everything to blame wasn’t in the way, something was still missing. It was the one thing that mattered the most — being happy.
You might remember G.I. Joe, the 80’s cartoon, when at the end of each episode they’d say. “Knowing is half the battle.” Choosing happiness over being miserable was one-half of the battle, and I needed it more than ever.
You Have to Schedule Growth
Madden football — I used to play that video game obsessively. Then later, I’d sit at work wondering where my free time went. I used to make time to watch my favorite TV show, pig out on my favorite guilty pleasure — food, and waste time doing things I loathed. Silly right? Crazy but true.
Soon after I made the decision to go for my dream I’d replaced these habits for growth habits that aligned with the purpose driven pursuits. A wise man once said, “If it matters to us, we’ll schedule it.” I’ve discovered creating space in our lives for growth habits and making time for them weekly, makes them real.
Model the Right Behavior
I learned that being on guard with the behavior we model is crucial when chasing goals.
Ever notice how kids imitate us, unintentionally? Yes, it shows itself unexpectedly. Growing up, my parents hardly spent quality time with us. My younger self loathed the idea of neglecting my kids, but somewhere within me, I gave permission to this behavior. Subconsciously, I’d adopted the idea that if it was good enough for my parents, then it was good enough for me. Eliminating old modeled behavior for new behavior we choose is worth the work.
The Fears Can Kill the Dreams
Fears annihilate millions of great ideas every day. According to research, we have anywhere from 12,000 to 60,000 negative thoughts per day, and as much as 98 percent of those negative thoughts are exactly the same as we had the day before. With 80 percent of our thoughts being negative, it’s vital to create empowering beliefs. New beliefs that override the negative fears driving us away from our dreams.
Two of the limiting beliefs holding us back are I’m not enough” and “I am not loved.” It’s human nature to want to feel important, as titles and material things feed these superficial desires. But giving in to rejection and disapproval destroy the dream chasing before it ever starts.
Soon after I’d left my old career, new fears crept in and were poised to sabotage my growth. Going backward wasn’t an option and the new environment became comfortable, in time.
Stepping out of the familiar and into new situations brings purposeful growth and delayed satisfaction. Learning to anticipate fears and turn the volume down on the voice of fears by replacing them with empowering beliefs that “you are enough” and “you are loved” is what separates the quitters from the dream chasers who can’t be stopped.
Receive stories from The Good Men Project, delivered to your inbox daily or weekly.—Photo: Getty Images