Blog Post

Are you listening to your dreams or your doubts?

23. October 2022

If you know anything about me or you know my history you know that I used to listen way more to my doubts and fears than my dreams. I thought about starting my business for two years before finally doing it. I have been thinking about doing health coaching ever since I graduated Institute for Integrative Nutrition back in 2018, and it’s only now that I’m actually finally getting into health coaching. I have been thinking about starting a newsletter forever, and I only just started one last week. I could go on and on, but it would make for incredibly boring afternoon for both of us.

The truth is we probably all have examples where we have listened much more to our doubts and fears than our dreams. It is so easy to let fear and doubt dictate the course of our life and allow these feelings to run the show. For instance, I never pursued health coaching because I was afraid of failing, that I wasn’t good enough (imposter syndrome is real) and what others would think. Actually, this has been the case for pretty much everything I haven’t pursued. Everything is so scary, scary, scary.

Over the years, I have learned to accept that my fear will always be there. I used to think that one day I would just magically wake up and I wouldn’t feel fearful anymore. I would somehow just feel fully ready to pursue health coaching, start my own business, and drive in New Zealand… This is really delusional. Truth is we will never just magically wake up and feel ready to pursue our dreams. Fear will always be present, and fear is actually a good thing. If you didn’t feel fear you would walk out in front of cars, walk home alone late at night and other stupid things. Fear is what keeps us alive and has kept humans alive throughout history.

However, you don’t have to listen to all your fears. For instance, my fear of starting a newsletter hasn’t actually done anything for me. It’s not like I would die by starting a newsletter. My fear just didn’t want me to step outside my comfort zone, which I get. Stepping outside one’s comfort zone is scary and well, uncomfortable.

Instead of fighting my fear or thinking that it’ll ever go away, I’ve befriended my fear. I acknowledge that my fear is present. I don’t try to push it away. BUT at the same time I don’t let it dictate my actions or how I should live my life. I feel my fear and do it anyway.

I really love this quote from Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert:

“I even have a welcoming speech prepared for fear, which I deliver right before embarking upon any new project or big adventure. It goes something like this: “Dearest Fear: Creativity and I are about to go on a road trip together. I understand you’ll be joining us, because you always do. I acknowledge that you believe you have an important job to do in my life, and that you take your job seriously. Apparently your job is to induce complete panic whenever I’m about to do anything interesting—and, may I say, you are superb at your job. So by all means, keep doing your job, if you feel you must. But I will also be doing my job on this road trip, which is to work hard and stay focused. And Creativity will be doing its job, which is to remain stimulating and inspiring. There’s plenty of room in this vehicle for all of us, so make yourself at home, but understand this: Creativity and I are the only ones who will be making any decisions along the way. I recognize and respect that you are part of this family, and so I will never exclude you from our activities, but still—your suggestions will never be followed. You’re allowed to have a seat, and you’re allowed to have a voice, but you are not allowed to have a vote. You’re not allowed to touch the road maps; you’re not allowed to suggest detours; you’re not allowed to fiddle with the temperature. Dude, you’re not even allowed to touch the radio. But above all else, my dear old familiar friend, you are absolutely forbidden to drive.”
I remember when I first read this. It resonated so much with me. While these might not be the exact words I say to fear before embarking upon a new project or big adventure, I do say something similar. You can’t push away your fear (fear will only ever go away once you’re back in your comfort zone, which can be a fine place to stay for a little bit, but eventually you need to step outside your comfort zone if you want to do anything interesting in your life, which I assume you do).
Today, I do my very best to listen to my dreams instead of my doubts and fears. I have started my own business. I have started my newsletter. I have moved to New Zealand (and I am driving here). I am in the process of writing my first book. I’m in the process of starting a podcast. I’m in the process of filming online courses (yoga and health coaching). I am reaching out to companies I would love to work with. I am showing up on Instagram. All of these things are outside my comfort zone and trust me when I say that fear and doubt are both very much present. I am just not letting these old friends stop me anymore. I understand that they will be with me in the car but I’m not allowing them to touch the steering wheel.
I know how scary following your dreams can be. Sometimes fear is even logical. Yes, I could fail massively and lose my money. Yes, some people might think what on earth I’m doing and talk about me behind my back. But does it really matter at the end of the day? I know that no matter what I’ll always land on my feet, and I’ll be okay. I will always be okay. But I would much rather pursue even my wildest, craziest dreams and fail than never try and wonder what would have happened had I pursued my dreams.
People who are on their death bed don’t talk about how they are so grateful they listened to their fears and doubts and stayed in their comfort zone. They are talking about regretting all the things they didn’t do. All the dreams they didn’t pursue. All the places they didn’t go to. They wished they had had the courage to pursue all their dreams.
I don’t want to be one of those people. I want to live my life. I want to make my life a work of art. I want to live an interesting life. As Paris from Gilmore Girls so wisely (and funnily) said: I want to live my life so that I’ll be able to read an in-depth biography about myself in later years and not puke. That’s how I would like to live my life. I want to be someone who went after my dreams and someone who truly lived life (naturally, this will look different for every person). I don’t want to sit in my rocking chair when I’m 80 years old and wonder why I didn’t pursue my dreams.
So, are you following your dreams or your doubts? What is something you can do today – no matter how small – to pursue your dream? Start a blog? Share your thoughts on Instagram? Reach out to a company you would love working with? Say yes to a job? Tell someone you love them? Say yes to working with a coach? Go to a dance class? Try not to overthink it. Just do it. Put yourself out there. Even if it’s with trembling hands and butterflies in your stomach. Because if not now, when?
Love,
Heidi

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