You've Fallen out of Love with Your Dream...Now What?

They ask when you’re young what you want to be when you grow up. For most of us, we giggle when we recall our answers. Professions like Doctor, Lawyer, Nurse, Firefighter are all pretty standard answers. We don’t question ourselves later, when in high school or the beginning of college, we pick a different path that aligns better to our interests. We’re told- your major is your career, it’s what you need to be striving for. I’m sure you’re like me, you picked something that was interesting (maybe it still is!) and you WENT FOR IT!

For me the path that I followed was always a bit ambiguous- I’ve always loved trying different things, trying out different hats in order to find my passion in one of them.

I can recall falling in love with art history, enriching myself in Asian art classics, getting a new camera to pursue photography, and commuting twice per week for an internship at the MA State House. All felt good, and as I look back- of COURSE it all makes sense now that I did them. They were FUN!

However, when we enter the workforce, it can be a rude awakening to see the realities of what our chosen career really is. It plays out when you add in coworkers, bosses, priorities, deadlines, cultures, etc. So what happens when you’ve spent time in one industry and you find yourself hating the subject area?

Perhaps at first you feel denial and guilt, after all you set your goals to achieving this career! Putting aside the educational investment piece of it- many of us fall out of love with what we set out to do originally. We often feel guilty for wanting to step away because it will somehow disappoint others. I know this all too well- I went to school for political science, and even received a dual master’s degree in international relations and public administration! My dream was to become a top diplomat- I thought that honor was my calling, both serving the American people and playing to my interest in global topics.

I couldn’t bring myself to go into diplomacy. At first it hurt- deeply. It felt like not doing it meant losing a part of me I’d always known.

When you realize you don’t love your dream anymore, it can feel like you’re lost- not sure of what direction to take next. I remember my heart racing whenever I thought about it.

I think we are drowned with other’s beliefs that goals and setting up structures will help you avoid having to deal when things don’t go as planned.

Sometimes,I learned, you need to listen to something other than goals, and try using your gut aka intuition. There’s no college class for that though :/ (at least at my school there wasn’t!).

My intuition was screaming at me - telling me that there was something much deeper than this one goal. It was the same intuition that fluttered when I fell in love with art, and I even became a model at one point to stay connected to my creative side.

Hindsights
What I began to realize when I made the decision to pursue my passion instead of becoming a diplomat was that when I first started getting sad, I was actually experiencing the relief after walking around with this heavy goal weighing on my constantly.

I felt relief that had been building up over time- sneaking up on me like a guilty gut feeling saying, “What would THEY think?”

Well, who are they?

For me the people who I thought would be disappointed if I chose to pursue my passion, ended up being my biggest supporters- my family and husband were rooting for me actually.

Support the Journey to your Passion + Purpose
Keep the lovers close, and anyone who starts hating, walk away. They don’t need to approve of your dream, and you don’t need it in order to succeed!

When you decide the dream you have isn’t working, and you don’t know what’s next- don’t panic. Also, don’t over engineer the next steps. In order to figure out what’s next, you’ll need to open yourself to other possibilities because if you have a closed mind you’re going to miss them.

Surround Yourself
Once I figured out that I wanted to become a coach, I started to experience even worse panic- I freaked out because it was so different than a traditional 9-5. In order to make it feel traditional- I surrounded myself with life coaching, I got certified, made a network of friends who also coach or are interested in it, I listen to podcasts, work with clients who inspire me to keep going….etc!

Your tribe can make a huge difference in helping you decide if the dream is worth pursuing, or if it’s simply a side passion that you can continuously enjoy without investing in that as your full time career.

If you’re experiencing the anxiety of shifting gears, join me in the Passion + Purpose Tribe, a community of women who support you reaching your happiest self.

I believe the journey is meant to feel bumpy at times- and changing your dream is an excellent reminder that similar to the way you changed your mind between Kindergarten and College- we are always growing, evolving, and our dreams can do that as well!

Lea

Thriving in the Day-to-Day

The alarm buzzes, I flutter my eyes and think wow, I just went to bed 6 hours ago, but right now it feels like 5 minutes ago…

The routine begins, the coffee poured, the scramble to hit the pavement and go to the train. I stare at the sky like usual, trying not to spill my home brewed coffee shuffling through the busy downtown metro stop. Once I unpack my things and settle at my desk, I fire up the computer, and another day officially begins.

The routine.

Does it sound familiar in some way? Maybe you have a similar commute but with a different mode of transportation, maybe you like tea, or going to the same cafe.

When I look at the clock, I realize, it’s time to go! I pack up, and run off into the sunset until I’m home, and go forward with my evening set of activities until I fall asleep.

The alarm buzzes, and it begins again.

The routine.

Some days can feel exciting, like wow I have a deadline, wow I get to see my best friend after work, or YAY I can sleep later. Whatever makes you excited, it doesn’t take us away from the routine of the day that begin to wear at us after awhile. I’ve struggled with routines a lot in my life. I like to think of myself as a creative- someone who allows thoughts and feelings to pop in and spark me into the next project or activity, but it’s hard to do that when you have a routine. It almost feels like you’re a bot. Don’t get me wrong, there are certainly activities and habits that are incredibly important to do during the day or evening (i.e. brush your teeth, have your coffee, eat, sleep).

But what if we are experiencing the day to day blues? That feeling when you are getting tired of the same types of activities and feeling of monotony.

It can start to show up in your life in different ways, and it may look like:

  • Lack of creative and innovative thinking
  • Sluggish mood and boredom with your days
  • Uninspired thoughts, feeling a lack of passion
  • Negative thoughts creeping in and making you feel bad about yourself and your choices

Now, this isn’t to say it isn’t other things causing it too- maybe you’re unhappy at your job too, that can certainly cause negative feelings and thoughts. These all add on and can make the situation even WORSE.

So, what if there was a way to excite the day to day again and feel creative, and PRESENT?

Only a couple of days ago I decided to stroll through downtown D.C. after a networking event, only because I felt like it. I didn’t think about much, only observed the people on the street, every time I moved my head left to right there was something moving, expressing, and catching my attention. It was a cool experience because I felt so present with the moment- there were no feelings having to do with reflection, or looking to the future. There was simply those 25 minutes where I wandered around and it struck me how impactful presence can be.

To be present, we sometimes need to get out of our comfort zone, try something new, see something that lights us up, challenges us, or even asks us to pay attention because we don’t have the physical or mental memory to pull it off without thinking.

To bring some of this blissful presence into your life, take a look at your current routine and ask yourself when’s the last time I:

  • Swapped my morning routine around (i.e. going in a different order)
  • Visited a new cafe or switched my home brewing method?
  • Journalled in the morning while the sun was rising?
  • Took the back road, or a new bus/train route to work?
  • Invited a friend to grab breakfast?
  • Swapped around my eating schedule?

Etc you get where I’m going :)

Your day to day routine can be flipped around entirely, or subtly tweaked to give you the “newness” you’re seeking. It could be changing your structure around, or even infusing it with activities that break you from the hamster wheel. When it comes to changing your routine, you’ll notice that new feelings and sometimes uncomfortable ones can emerge. That feeling is pretty standard- especially if you’ve built up a routine that has been working with you up until it recently. After time, even uncomfortable feelings become standard routines- think of where you were before you began your current one and it’s probably hard to remember being nervous about it!

Remember that the day-to-day may be draining, but don’t let your routines keep you from experiencing presence, happiness, and a chance to step back and admire where you are right now in your life & career. 

Much love,
Lea

p.s. have a routine you really enjoy? Share your ideas with us in the comments

Your Job Search Re-Inspired

Feeling Bummed about your Job Search? READ THIS.

Like any beginning to a new and exciting path, looking for a job is the action we take when we desire something new in our lives. Whether you disliked the culture, people, work, location, boss- searching for a new job gives you the opportunity to change the story and start again. If you are in a job you don’t like and job searching, the pressure to move may seem less daunting, and being picky is easier. If you’ve quit your job and are searching, there is a lot of temptation to pick the first opportunity that comes your way. One thing is completely common AND normal even for the seasoned job hunter, and that’s the feeling of discouragement.

It happens when you’re searching, applying, networking, building your brand, practicing your pitch, perfecting the right words to say when asked by a recruiter, and you still don’t have the job offer in hand.

It HAPPENS. And It happens A LOT to MANY PEOPLE!

I can’t stress that enough (clearly!)

Here are my recommendations for how to motivate yourself and re-ignite your search for your next happy job:

Friendliness and Curiosity

During an empty job search, it can feel like you are alone, the only one struggling, and somehow you are separate from other people or wrong, shameful, not good enough, etc.

That’s not true. (No buts or exceptions..)

  1. There is no “one path” to getting a job, there are twists, turns, bumps and freeways that can occur at any moment.

  2. Your difficulty is a GOLD mine- You are, in real time, teaching, learning, adapting, and growing stronger and more viable and ready for the job EVERY minute. Persevering through a dry spell makes you ready for when the offers come knockin’.

  3. Opening your mind beyond your limits- You are so much more than you realize- and you are BETTER and more than your current situation. It takes ONE moment for your perspective to change, you can choose to be happy now- it makes the job search a lot more fun and rewarding!

  4. Remember your priorities- If you are putting in the work to find your ideal job, remember that if you hear back from a job and it is totally NOT what you want to do- think back to why you are searching in the first place. Will you be quitting in a year because you hate this job and repeating the same cycle?

  5. The path of success means sticking with your uncertainty- this is your only certainty, your biggest teacher, and it’s learning to relax in chaos, learning not to panic from a place of compassion, and avoiding the bitter resentment (who likes working with those people, not you I’m sure!).

You are working so hard to make sure you have the job that will get you excited to get up in the morning, pay the bills, allow you to travel and enjoy your life from a place of purpose. Honor this search by intentionally reminding yourself of compassion, learning, and going beyond your limits. New Ideas, perspectives, people, and ultimately job opportunities come to you when you are in this state of mind to receive it!

How have you bounced back more motivated than ever? Share your thoughts with me in the Passion & Purpose Tribe!

Lea

Do you need Perfection or Standards?

It’s a rainy day in the Baltimore area, and I’m waiting at the airport to head out on vacation. As I’m putting thoughts together to write this article, on comes the airline representative, our flight’s been delayed. I continue on writing and they come on again, and again, and yet again, flight delay. At this point, I’m finishing this article while on the runway parked- 3 hours later.

Ever find yourself wanting to do something, and you have the excitement, motivation, and drive to do it- but something is stopping you?

Sometimes it’s perfection- the need to feel like things need to be “right” in order to be satisfying.

When I prepare for vacation, I expect the process to be me frantically packing at the last minute, forgetting something small (this time it was my sunglasses), and a smooth flight that lets me stare out the window and get giddy when the pilot fires up the engines and we roar into the blue sky.

But things change all the time right? Oh yes.

Much like my flight throwing off my plans to start vacation on MY TIME, there are SO many times when I’ve started a project in my head, and because it didn’t end up exactly as I would have liked it to- I considered it a bust, and even worse, some projects were NEVER even born aka “dead on arrival” because I couldn’t make it “perfect”.

From business ideas to blog pitching, everything in between is riddled with the hidden resistance known as perfectionism. For a lot of us A types (proud one right here!), we use perfectionism to project the tidy, cleaned up version of what happens inside of our minds (let’s all admit it, there are ALWAYS a lot of different ideas running around!).

Some of my favorite projects have also failed because I couldn’t get it perfect before doing it. To my own defeat, I didn’t even START my last business idea because my mind already decided that my final product wouldn’t be perfect- it wouldn’t be show time ready, ribboned, and copy-edited to catch the eye of my ideal audience.

That’s a shame right?

The kind of shame I used to feel when plans were thrown off- like a three-hour flight delay when you are on your way to sunny Florida- for a vacation that is as much for your mind as it is your spirit---yeah that’s how much it’s needed! These delays used to leave me with a REALLY bitter taste- the taste of anger, impatience, excitement, worry, and anticipation.

Perfectionism used to leave me with this same feeling, the anger, impatience, worry, it all led m to feel shame.

The shame was because my vacation or project didn’t turn out how I envisioned it.

Fast forwarding to now, I’ve been bombarded with new opportunities, collaborations, clients, pitches, and even MORE ideas.

Perfectionism hangs out where there is MORE to do that feels like a stretch.

Are you feeling like you want to stretch yourself right now? I’ve definitely felt it this year!

When I stretch myself, I find that the old shame of perfectionism pops in from time to time. Almost to remind me that not everything I do is perfect or “up to standard”. And why would it be, if I’m stretching myself, it means I’m doing something new, and something usually falls off, or needs to shed in order to let me move up.

Rather than focus on perfecting everything that I’m doing, I focus on leveling up- it’s when I focus so narrowly in order to be sure I can sit in my creative genius and do what I do best, CREATE and HELP women. As a result, my standards have to change- they need to evolve and reflect where I am right now.

As I focus my efforts on blogging, that will change. As I focus more on connecting with women in the Passion & Purpose Tribe (gosh that’s changed so much, and still evolving!) that will also shift. The little Miss Perfect that used to hold me back, now cheers me on when I need to say no to something in order to focus on my priorities.

I call this raising my standards. I expect a certain level of VALUE that I create through writing and speaking with women. The difference between standards and perfection are that standards are for SERVING and HELPING others, while perfectionism is serving NO ONE.

My biggest lesson in raising my standards was that when I choose to play, I choose to SERVE and HELP. Perfection hurt me and others by holding me back.

Choose to raise your standards, not perfect things. You’ll find deeper happiness, and find that the Universe HAS YOUR BACK and doesn’t want perfect, it just wants DONE what MATTERS.

As I write up this blog, I'm still sitting on the runway still delayed, and the sun is finally shining bright after a long morning of clouds. This reminds me that my vacation is already PERFECT. It’s perfect because I’m safe. As long as the weather rumbled through Baltimore and I wasn’t in the sky… I was safe. See, even experts use high standards to tell us when it wasn’t a good time to go wings up- and that makes for the PERFECT start to this vacation.

Have a FABULOUS WEEKEND!

Lea