Is it too much to ask for? A comfortable home, freedom to jet away on relaxing vacations, success at pursuing your dream. I wanted it all, too.
After getting two fancy degrees in wildlife biology, I grew tired of field life. I was waking up at 4:00 every morning to haul 60 lbs. of mammal traps into the pine woods of Mississippi. On a good day, I’d collect data on my catch before it hit a hundred degrees outside.
When I found out that people made a living doing work they designed on their own, I was all in. I told myself it would have to be all or nothing, my wildlife job or my dream work. So, I quit my job, bought a url, and opened up shop.
I went through my savings in less than a year. I had zero income and felt like all I was doing was chasing my own tail and getting nowhere. The harder I had to work at my dream, the more I told myself that I couldn’t do it. Little did I know that it wasn’t my dream that was getting in my way. It was all the lies I was telling myself about how to actualize it.
Here are 5 dangerous messages that sabotage your success and how you can stop calling yourself a failure:
1. My dream won’t succeed until I quit my job
Thinking you have to choose between your job or your dream can lead to rash decisions. You can still enjoy your dream work, build the life you want, and make money on the side, even while you work your day job. Stop telling yourself that you can’t pursue your dream unless you leave your career. Working a job can afford you the time you need to grow your success slowly.
2. I’ll never be as good as everyone else
Comparing yourself to others only leads to someone else’s version of success. Only you know the life you want to build. Stop telling yourself that you’ll reach success exactly the way other people did. You are the only one who holds the keys to your own successful path.
“The most difficult times are the ones we give ourselves.” – Pema Chodron
3. I can’t start until I’m an expert
One of the biggest stumbling blocks to success is resistance to getting started. Don’t wait for all the lights to turn green. You know more about your direction than most other people do. Stop telling yourself that you’re not good enough to start. Use what you know and start your path of advancing toward your dream.
4. I’m a failure if I don’t succeed within a year
Defining your success by a restricted time line is one of the quickest ways to nose-dive. Whether your success is measured by going full-time with your dream, becoming profitable from what you envision, or pursing work you love, success happens in its own time. Stop telling yourself that you failed if you don’t reach your goals in a certain time period. Invest your time in strategizing what will get you ahead, not dreaming about time lines. Celebrate successful milestones along the way.
5. I don’t have the time to chase my dream
Telling yourself you don’t have time only shelves your dream before you even get started. We all have 24 hours in a day. Learn to manage your priorities, not your time. Stop telling yourself you need extra time to fulfill your dream. Take the time you have and do something different with it.
“You will never find time for anything. If you want time, you must make it.” – Charles Burton
Today, I work a job I love and build my dream in a smart, focused way. Struggling on my own taught me to practice my craft, respond to challenges effectively, and target my efforts where they count the most.
Following your dream is hard enough without telling yourself you’ll never make it. Don’t be your own worst spokesperson. Fashion your success according to what works for your own situation. Formulate empowering assumptions about yourself. Success isn’t established by the final outcome.