Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Getting Unstuck

Let's see how many people can relate to the following: I'm currently working at a job that I hate.  I don't really see the value in what I'm doing, although other people seem to think it's a decent way to make a living.  For me, though, it's just temporary.  Just something to make money while I figure out what I really want to do.

...But what do I really want to do?

(Sound familiar?)

This hasn't always been an area of confusion in my life - I used to be very sure of what I wanted.  Since junior year of high school, I was sure I wanted to be a composer.  Specifically, I wanted to score movies (a.k.a. write the original soundtrack).  That's why I went to Los Angeles to study music theory, and that's why that year was one of the best of my life.  I was honestly doing something I loved and found absolutely fascinating.  (Not to mention that I was doing it in a fabulously glamorous and beautiful place.)

You might be wondering, "What changed?"

The most probable answer: I let fear get in the way.  I was afraid to be out in LA on my own; I was afraid to really go after what I wanted, because I might mess up or figure out that I wasn't as talented as I thought; and I was afraid of failing.  As a result, I failed.  Ironic?  Kinda.  Way too common a phenomenon in our society?  Definitely.

I've been checking out a lot of personal development stuff in the past few months.  Reading blogs (such as Steve Pavlina's), watching videos of Tony Robins' and Seth Godin's talks, and much, much more.  They often address the same topics: how to achieve goals, how to stop fear from getting in the way, and how to figure out what you really want to do.  (I obviously need to keep reading about the last one, as I'm still unclear on my personal desires for career, etc.)

All of these guys have really fascinating things to say.  Some of their ideas and techniques are so simple, it's amazing that more people don't realize it and practice them.  But it's hard.  Letting fear control your actions and shove your goals to the sidelines is way too comfortable to consider trying to break out of that cycle.  It's something we all just ride with, every day, all the time.   "My job isn't that bad."  "Maybe I'll try that someday."  "I'm fine just settling for my current situation right now."


That's what I've been doing for the last 4 years of college and look where it's gotten me.  Still in this small town (did I mention that I'm a city girl?)  About to get a degree that will serve no practical purpose other than "any degree is better than no degree."  Great, so with this degree I'll be able to make $1 more per hour doing data entry than my non-degree-possessing co-workers.  Fabulous.

The more I read/watch this personal development stuff, the more I see just how poorly I've been living.  Sure, I'd consider myself to be an overall happy person: I have my family and friends, and a few hobbies I like to do.  Work isn't that bad, and my parents help support me anyway.

Anyone else in a similar boat?

But imagine if you could be doing anything you wanted right now.  Yes, that includes making passive income while lounging on a beach in the Bahamas.  Or being the next expert of your desired field.  Or jet-setting across the world, being welcomed by thousands of adoring fans.  Or taking the year to volunteer to help support a struggling third-world country, while not having to worry about how you'll support yourself when you get home.

If you could do anything you wanted, anything at all, do you think you would still say, "Yeah, I guess I'm happy overall"?  Or would you shout it from the rooftops that you've never been more fulfilled in your self and your surroundings, that you've never enjoyed getting up to "to go work" as much as you do now, and that there's no way in hell you'd ever go back to your previous life?

That's what I want.  I want to take a risk and just see how good things can get.  How happy can I be, how much money can I make, how much self-confidence can I have, how many people can I reach out to and help in the process.

More on my journey to finding the path to get me there in the posts to come...

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