Have you ever felt like you wasted years of your life by compromising or following other people's guidance. Especially after you learned an eye opening piece of information that was new to you and that could have changed the direction of your life years ago? AHHHHHHHH … that new piece of information just makes you want to scream, cry, and jump for joy at the same time. Frustration and hope rule your waking thoughts.
Then you probably start to wonder:
“How did you get to this point in life?”
“And why weren’t you already be aware of this new piece of information?”
You think back on your past to try and figure out how your life got to this point. You walk around for days or even weeks with regrets about a past that you can’t change. Intelligence and making smart decisions are not the issue, closing yourself off from some of life's possibilities has placed you in this predicament.
But here is the kicker:
You keep thinking why did I hold onto someone else's understanding of the world instead of pursuing my dreams and desires. The more you think about it the more you wonder … why didn’t I think of this, why didn’t I try that, why didn’t I ….? STOP just stop!
This type of thinking will drive you crazy.
The “what if’s” and “why didn’t” will only lead you to further frustration.
Yes it is hard to just stop thinking about how your life would have been different. So instead, think about how you needed those years to grow, experience, fail, learn, and connect with who and what you want. Really think about it.
What skills and knowledge have you obtained over the years that will help you move forward to fulfilling your dreams and desires? What life challenges have you overcome and how have they shaped you into the person you currently are?
Here’s an example:
Let me give you a little insight to the beginning of my story about compromised dreams and life knowledge.
Growing and Learning Years
Ever hear the term “you don’t know, what you don’t know”. This term resonates with me because for over 20 years my knowledge in certain areas of life were greatly lacking.
Anyone who me well was aware I had a passion for drawing or anything that required a creative touch.
Things go downhill starting here:
Like most children from my era, I was told a career in art wouldn’t pay the bills. The mindset that a career in designing art was a poor person's dream was ingrained in me, but you don’t know, what you don’t know.
I embraced the ‘art doesn’t pay the bills’ life lesson because I wanted my parents to be proud of me and I wanted them to know their opinions were very important to me. I respected my parents and understood they always worked hard to make sure my sisters and I had everything we wanted.
So, I went to college, graduated with a Finance degree, because, although I loved art, I was good in math and liked working with numbers. After college I proceeded to get a finance job in the corporate world (because that type of job would pay the bills).
Experience and Failing Years
During the years after my graduation I didn’t actively seek learning opportunities because I didn’t want to learn more about finance.
I was never fully satisfied with the direction my corporate career was taking and I was not motivated to do anything about changing the direction. However, reflecting back that corporate job helped me learn a few things about myself.
Purpose can be found, you just have to look for it:
For one I enjoyed problem solving, I made it part of my job because it gave me purpose. Searching for solutions to problems became my creative outlet. I also learned how to listen and ask question to get a clear and concise understanding of the issue. Basically, I learned about problem solving, defining goals, collaboration, and corporate culture during my W-2 years.
Perhaps you are wondering:
“What is the issue with having a good job?”
As the years passed, my desire to create works of art continued to grow, but were always pushed aside for other life events.
I occasionally took art classes, learned to paint, drew a lot, loved working on craft/creative projects, and wrapping beautiful presents. However those were only interesting activities to do for myself and my family, a means to make them smile and spend quality time with my family.
In my mind it was as if I was stuck, unable to move forward, because I wanted to do more, reach more people, and see more smiling faces. I hit my breaking point when the culture, politics, and practices at my corporate job were greatly skewed from my beliefs and practices.
Breaking through the monotony:
My husband encouraged me to do more with my passion for creating beautiful designs. So, I started working on switching careers. For me it started with problem solving for myself, how was I going to break free of the corporate world and break into the world of art and design.
How do you figure out why you compromise:
The problem is not the years your dreams and desires were put on hold. That is your journey and you need to own it, embrace it, and learn from it. Your journey is part of who you are, it is what got you to this point, it has molded, and matured you so use it as part of your solution to pursue your dreams.
The real problem comes from the excuses you are making, right now, that are holding you back from fulfilling your dream and desires. Excuses like: I’m too old, I can’t leave my job I need money, I don’t have time, I don’t know where to start, the market is too saturated, etc. Your dream can be your reality, it is up to you to make it happen.
Put YOU first:
Don’t hold yourself back, believe in yourself because I believe in you. You can do anything, it will take time, research, planning, and executing on the plan, but it can be done if you are willing to put in the work.
What’s the bottom line?
If you are happy your true friends and supporters will be happy for you too.
Start a list of goals that will help make your dream attainable then expand on it: watch YouTube videos, read a book(Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are so You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be), network, take a class for more in depth learning (invest in yourself), use a list to make a plan (there is something satisfying about checking items off of a list).
Here is my current story:
I started seeking opportunities to learn about art and design.
I learned about painting, graphic design, architectural design, videography, photography, logo design, typography, illustration, motion graphics, and many more art centered careers.
So what did I now know?
After years in a corporate job, I could also pay the bills with a career in art design. I stopped my W-2 job and I currently own my own graphic design business.
Now with my problem solving, defining goals, collaboration, and corporate culture knowledge at hand, I am building a business that solves problems through the art of design.
I continually seek learning opportunities that speak to my soul, so tomorrow I’ll know what I don’t know today and work or making my dreams a reality.
Life is amazing when you stop fighting against your true self.
What is your dream?
It's time to take action and hustle, start working toward fulfilling your dream.