Five Fears that Stop Us from Pursuing Work We Love

How many people you know truly do the work they love?

When we pause to think about it, we discover that the number is far greater than we expected, but it is overshadowed by folks we all know that complain about their jobs. They live for the weekends, yet the idea of making a change seems to be an insurmountable challenge  —  “I have a family to support and can afford what I want, so that’s blessing enough.”

This is where the fears about doing work you love have their seeds. It’s human nature to focus on the negative  —  the mountain that seems impossible to climb.

We point to a few famous souls deeply dedicated to their life’s purpose  —  Bill Gates, Elon Musk, even Mother Theresa or Lena Dunham. They are larger than life. (One’s a Catholic Saint!) It takes “that” to live your purpose.

We point in the other direction  —  your parents, perhaps your closest friends. Many are struggling to get up for work on a Monday.

It’s one or the other, right?

The truth, as always, is somewhere in between.

Start laying claim to purposeful work by vanquishing these 5 fears of why doing work you love is near impossible:

Fear 1: To do work that matters to me, I have to go at it alone.

Undoubtedly, the biographies of great women and men are written from the perspective of an individual bending the world to their will under seemingly insurmountable obstacles. This is never our reality. No transformation happens without incredible support. We fear walking the path towards more fulfilling work because we think we’re alone, often in three specific ways:

  1. Wanting to leave a good job for the unknown. (You are so not alone!)
  2. Searching for a process that commits us to making a change.
  3. Walking a new path without a familiar support network (Building this network is a key components of creating this change for yourself.)

No transformation happens without incredible support.

Fear 2: If it’s not right from the start, it’s not meant to be.

A meaningful occupation must be cultivated like anything else in life. We too often jump to the image of our heroine, imagine their current “flawlessness” as an always-has-been condition.

The truth is quite the opposite. In fact, chances are that your best work may still be ahead of you.

Imperfection and difficulty are more evident to you when it’s your purposeful work. You study and know what greatness in the field you’re pursuing looks like. You compare yourself two days or even two years into the work and insist it should be that good. It won’t be. Small steps each day get us there.

Fear 3: I will fail and therefore will never live the life I imagine. (Or I will succeed and it won’t be the life I wanted).

Ironically, both are true. Why? Because pursuing purposeful work has a knack for moving the vision of your life while it’s in progress. Even if the first path you take isn’t what you had hoped, your perspective will have been changed. You’ll have developed a new set of skills and understanding, and gotten that much closer to where you’re supposed to be  —  which is rarely what you had imagined.

Fear 4: I have invested too much time in my current path.

How old are you? Thirty? Fifty? If this were true at any of these ages, much less eighty, we might as well all pack it up and go home. Success comes at all ages. In fact, the only thing that people looking for change have in common is a vision for something different and the courage to say “enough.”

Related: Experiment —Don’t Plan —Your Way Into the Life You Want

Fear 5: I will not be afforded the same standard of living.

Let’s break this one down. There are three possible scenarios here:

One, you make more than before  —  not really an issue.

Two, you make the same  —  not much of a problem.

Three, you make less. In this scenario you’re imagining a future that’s 100% identical, just with fewer dollars in your life. This is the catch. Your life, doing work you love, is nowhere near identical. You’ve got new connections in a field you love. When you’re happy Monday to Friday, you don’t require the same focus on retail therapy. What are you willing to sacrifice in return?

Doing work you love is possible, but it requires taking an action.

Moving forward to pursue a career you’ll love is as much about debunking the stories that the media (including social media) and our imagined heroines reinforce for us, as it is about experimenting our way into the life we’ll love. 

Nearly all of us have got a purpose that has yet to be acknowledged, but the road to unleashing your full potential into the world can be a long and windy one. Break down the fears for yourself and find a community of like-hearted people who are on a similar journey with our 4-week Purpose Accelerator and you’ll be one step closer to getting there.

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