Pursuing your passion might not be an easy road—but the reward is great once you arrive.
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The people who often inspire us to dream big and follow our passions are the ones who dare to blaze the trail of the unknown, fueled by their dreams.
In a candid interview with Amanda de Cadenet on The Conversation, Lady Gaga said that she dropped out of school at 19 and worked three jobs to support her passion for singing.
What if she’d been too scared to go for it?
Pursuing your passion may not be an easy road. Oftentimes, it’s the hardest thing you will ever do. You question your talents when things don’t go your way. You feel like you’re in a wrestling match with yourself, and you’re losing. But you keep going because you’re fueled by your passion, and you know the reward is great once you get there.
Here are nine ways to help you move forward and say YES to your dreams:
1. Learn to embrace your fears
If you’re scared to do something, it’s a sign you’re headed in the right direction. Recognize that when you have fear, it’s because you’re scared to get out of your comfort zone—and that’s exactly what you must do to grow and stretch yourself. No matter what happens, you will have been better off going for your dreams and not succeeding than if you never tried at all.
2. Surround yourself with positive people who have your back and bring out the best in you
Have you ever heard the saying, “You are the average of the five people you most often surround yourself with”? Make sure to always surround yourself with people who support you and have a bigger vision for you. They will keep you motivated and inspired to keep moving toward your dreams, even when you’re scared and every obstacle stands in your way. Reach out to them when you need them.
3. Stay open and flexible about your vision
It’s important to have a clear vision of where you want to be, but it’s important to also be ready for that vision to change. Whatever idea or vision you start off with can evolve into something bigger than you ever imagined if you just stay open, flexible and don’t get overly attached to any outcome.
4. Network for your dreams
Find people who support you and are on board with your vision. Collaboration, partnership and mentorship will get you further toward your dreams than you ever imagined. Networking is key to getting anywhere you want to go in life, so make sure find and connect with the right people who can help you get to where you want to go. This is not the time to be shy or be afraid to speak up for what you want.
5. Practice radical self-care
It’s sometimes necessary to work even harder toward the pursuit of your dreams, but you can quickly burn out if that’s the only thing you do. Make sure you take the time to care for yourself, including sleeping well, eating a whole foods diet, properly hydrating, keeping a mindfulness practice, exercising and incorporating time for play. Remember that when we take time to enjoy life and what we’re creating, we’re more inspired.
6. Stop asking for permission from anyone
Worrying about what others think will stop many people dead in their tracks and prevent them from living their dreams. Don’t do it. Most dreams that are unconventional and outside of the box are scary to pursue, but if you don’t do it, you’ll always regret it. If you wait for someone to give you permission to do something, you give them power over you and your life.
7. Be grateful for where you are right now
It’s important to be grateful for where you are now on your journey to realizing your dreams. For example, you might be sitting in a job you don’t like, but you can be grateful that it’s helping you pay your bills and fund your vision.
When we cultivate gratitude for where we are in the present moment, it elevates our spirits and leaves us feeling good. And when we’re feeling good inside, we’re in a better state to attract the people and the opportunities that will manifest our dreams.
8. Trust your intuition
Your intuition is the most powerful gateway to getting where you want to go in life. When you silently go inward and learn to connect with your inner voice, you won’t need to struggle to figure out which direction to take.
The hard part is learning to listen to it. Practicing a mindfulness technique like meditation will help you learn to tune out the distractions in life so you can hear the sound of your inner voice and then boldly act on it.
9. Take consistent forward action
No matter what you’re doing now, including that day job that just pays the bills, you need to take consistent action towards your dreams. Remember, Lady Gaga had three jobs to pay her bills while she was pursuing her singing career.
Create an action plan, and take baby steps each day if you have to, but keep moving forward. Often people give up inches before they’re about to reach a major breakthrough in pursuing their dreams. Don’t let that be you.
Eva Werk is a marketer who lives in San Francisco.