Have you ever had an idea that you knew was a game-changer? Maybe you thought of how to improve a product or a system, or create something entirely new. And when you had this thought, did you see it through to the end? Humans are creative beings. We get ideas all the time – some better than others. So when we get a really great idea, why don’t we act on it? Some people do. We can see the evidence all around us. And some people don’t. Here are five terrible excuses that people use for not following their dreams.
1. “I don’t know how.”
Often people’s dreams are bigger than their know-how. But that’s only at the dawn of the dream. If you pursue it, you’ll learn all the steps you need. Nobody can get from A to Z without going through the alphabet first. Find mentors, take classes, and read. Mostly, have patience and self-compassion. It’s okay that you don’t know how. Not knowing how won’t stop you; not learning how will.
2. “I’ve never done anything like this before.”
Great! That’s so exciting! Doing something new and challenging can give us the jitters. But that sometimes feels good. Like a roller coaster ride, which is thrilling in both ways: scary and exciting. Try to appreciate the exciting moments. And when you get overwhelmed, break down each new task into micro tasks. What’s inside that bigger task that you have done before? Start there. Even if this adventure is new, you can draw on your other life experiences for some of the work.
3. “This already exists.”
A lot of people get stuck when they discover that someone else has already pursued this dream and done it well. If this is where you are, take a deep breath and look around. Competition is a good thing. It shows there’s a desire for what you’re offering, and it inspires further creativity and improvement. There’s room for more than one of everything. Need proof? Just look at the number of fast food restaurants, gas stations, private schools, and coffee shops.
4. “Why me?”
If this already exists, is it still worth pursuing? What do you have to add or offer in that space that isn’t already there? The answer to that question is: you. You have yourself to offer. Your own unique combination of passions, interests, ideas, life-experiences, questions, and creativity. Nobody else on Earth has the same combination that you do. Nobody else on Earth will or can bring to the space exactly what you bring to it. If you don’t bring it, it won’t happen.
5. “There are just too many obstacles.”
A roadblock – an actual block in the road – is there for a reason. It’s there to keep you from going the wrong way. But if you just stop at the feet of a roadblock, you will get nowhere. Try to look at the obstacle in a different way. Rather than a roadblock, imagine it as a gift, right there on the path, just for you. It’s blocking you from going the wrong way and allowing you to go the right way. When you go around the block or over the block, you’re offered a brand new path with new opportunities. Even if you trip over the block and fall into a ditch, you’re offered a new perspective. Go into your adventure accepting that there will be challenges. Don’t let them stop you, let them give you a better view for your next step.
All of these excuses are just different ways of saying “I’m afraid.” That’s okay. It’s okay to be afraid. It’s pretty unusual not to be afraid at all when taking a big leap. Sometimes people see others being brave and they admire that person. But they forget that behind the bravery, there’s fear. If there weren’t fear, the action would just be neutral, not brave. Bravery is hard! So remember, it’s okay to be afraid. Don’t let it stop you from your dreams.