I’m a sucker for a woman with a big dream, ready to make her visions a reality. There’s nothing more fun that swooping in, crafting a plan, brainstorming, troubleshooting, and ushering her toward the door of success. I’ve certainly found my sweet spot.
But I wasn’t always so clear. And even today, in other areas of my life, a veil keeps me from seeing my dreams will crystal clarity.
Not knowing what you want can be a scary place to live, though it’s inevitable we’ll all land there at times throughout our lives. The key is to know how to get through the uncertainty to the clarity and freedom on the other side.
When we don’t know how to get through it — or worse, refuse to face it — our dreams are silently smothered and our lives begin to stagnate. Which is exactly what happened with a client I had a few years ago.
At the time, I was a life coach helping professional women escape jobs they hated and find new careers they adored. Since I’d taken the leap from corporate America to entrepreneurship, I figured I was the woman to lead them.
Every client I worked with felt lost. Most of them knew wanted something different, but they had no idea exactly what that was.
Some women, however, were facing a different, much more damaging problem: they knew what they wanted but were too afraid to admit it. Or in the case of one client, she was so afraid she forgot her desires completely. And that’s the most devastating place of all, because it silently killed her biggest dreams, and she didn’t even realize it.
The Fear of Claiming Your Dreams
The client (I’ll call her Lauren) was ready to figure out for her “next thing.” We were excited to work together, and I was eager to learn what kind of life she wanted to create.
Lauren was tired of her well-paying, high-achieving, 60 hour a week career. The money was great, but the job was far from fulfilling. She wanted to head in a new direction.
“What do you think you’d like to do?” I asked her.
There was a massive pause, and finally, “… I don’t know.”
I was used to this, so I asked Lauren a question to help her dig a little deeper:
“What’s something you’ve wanted since you were young? What dream did you have before an adult told you shouldn’t have it?”
There was another long silence. Then, with a gasp, Lauren announced all in a rush, “I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom and live in a small house in the country.”
Before I could even encourage her to tell me more, dive in deeper, or explore her dream, she was talking rapidly again. “That’s impossible! We have a mortgage! My kids are in private school! I can’t expect my whole family to just up and move! And also…”
She had a mile-long list of reasons why she couldn’t have what she wanted. What made the whole thing even harder to hear was that her explanatory laundry list was interwoven with all the reasons why she’d be happiest as a stay-at-home mom living away from the city.
What happened next? We scheduled a follow-up session, but she didn’t show up and I never heard from her again.
Why We’re So Afraid to Admit What We Want
Knowing something needs to change is often the easy part. It’s admitting what needs to change that’s frightens us.
Why? Because claiming our desires means we might have to act on these big ideas. And that presents the risk of failure. Embarrassment. Or maybe most frightening of all… success beyond our wildest dreams.
Dropping the familiar – whether it pays the bills or simply means not rocking the boat – to follow those deep-rooted desires is downright scary.
But while potentially falling flat on your face and making mistakes can sting, that burn is nowhere near as painful as leaving your dreams on the shelf, untouched.
However, the desire for change doesn’t mean you must turn your life upside down and cross the finish line at breakneck speed.
Lauren assumed that admitting she wanted to be a country housewife meant I’d push her to pack up and leave tomorrow. It’s possible that if we dove into her dream of being a stay-at-home mom in the country that we’d have uncovered something that looked slightly different.
But because she wasn’t willing to dive in and discover what she really wanted, she’ll never know. This is what happens when we let the first whiff of a dream scare us away.
Even if Lauren really did want that life in the country, we could have worked her there slowly, at a pace that she felt comfortable with. It could have taken a few years, if need be.
Unfortunately, since she was too afraid to start her journey towards her dream, she robbed herself of all the amazing possibilities that path could have led her toward.
This doesn’t have to be you.
How to Be Fearlessly Clear
Sure, it’s scary to admit what we want. But it’s far more painful to live a live of untapped dreams. So how do you start down this terrifying path?
Stop saying you don’t know what you want.
If you know what you want, awesome. If you don’t, that’s okay. Simply start admitting that you’re ready for something new.
Dive in deeper.
If you’re not sure exactly what you want, keep asking. Dive under the surface. Ask questions. Keep going. Be relentless.
If you know what you want, also dive in. Uncover the texture, feeling, and nuances of your dreams and desires.
When you’re crystal clear on exactly what you want, own it. Claim it. Speak it. Tell the world.
It’s okay if it’s scary. (That’s normal.)
Make slow and steady progress towards your dreams.
Small steps at a time, work toward your dream. With each step you may need time and space to adjust and get comfortable with the shifts. That’s okay. Slowly and surely, keep moving forward.
It may have taken Lauren 3 years to have her country house. The timing doesn’t matter. If you’re honoring your heart’s call, you’ll inevitably end up where you want to be.
Let your deep knowing fuel your journey, and you’ll be amazed by the reality you can create.
You are worthy of your deepest desires. Tweet that!
The Biggest Reason to Follow Your Need for Change
You deserve to have the life, business, income, and freedom you want.
Don’t hide the truth from yourself like Lauren did. Don’t ignore it, saying you don’t know what you want just because the thing you want feels impossible or inappropriate. Because slamming the door to your dream means locking up the power of your life and your potential.
Even if it scares you or makes you doubt yourself… truth is a mighty engine. Have the courage to step forward and learn what’s possible for you. Even slow n’ steady progress is still progress.
Give your dreams time to unfold – you’ve earned the right. Stay strong. Honor your desires. Keep your eyes on the prize. Step forward steadily.
You deserve it.
Now tell me…
What dream are you ready to own up to?
What small, itty bitty, teeny tiny step can you take today to move yourself toward making it happen?
I can’t wait to hear to hear your big dreams in the comments below!
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