Do you ever get the annoying feeling that you are stuck in a life that doesn’t make you happy, but you don’t know what to do to change it?
If the answer is yes, you are in good company!I’ve been there too, and I had to go through all the five points I’ll mention below, in a time frame of more than 15 years (I like to take it easy!) before I could finally break free.
So I truly understand your struggle to change, trust me on that. I know it very well and I hope this article will help you out!
I can now say with confidence that I’m living the life of my dreams and I want you to be able to do the same (It feels so good when you say it out loud!)
Since I created my website 2 years ago, ( when I screwed up my entire existence to become a travel blogger), I receive daily emails with questions that I myself couldn’t find an answer to for years…
- How did you find the courage to leave?
- Weren’t you scared when you decided to quit your job?”
- My life sucks, but I don’t really know what the alternative is, can you give me some advice”?I want to leave this place!
- I really envy you and your lifestyle, I think what you do is amazing… too bad I am not like you!”
I guess that for the people reading my blog, I’m the girl with a wonder woman outfit. How cool!
But is this who I really am? I think it’s about time to tell you a thing or two about myself and why you, regardless of what your fears are, could be doing exactly what I’m doing right now.
So am I saying that turning your life upside down to follow your passions is as easy as buying a Wonder Woman outfit for Halloween?
Of course not. I know you know better than that.
You know it’s hard, otherwise, you would have already joined the millions of (invisible…where are they?!) people who left their dreadful jobs to follow their dreams, and I wouldn’t have so many emails in my inbox!
So, what’s the secret? What’s the behind-the-scenes version of my “wonderful” life?
Before getting to the core of it, I’d like you to click on the video I created for a project called “Favella Creative Lab” where the theme was “Free to…”
Why you should watch it?
When I decided the “story” and the soundtrack for my video, I was inspired by all the requests for advice I’ve gotten over the years. Even if it’s me on the screen, I want to dedicate this to YOU and all the people with an “impossible” dream buried somewhere inside them…
So, click play, and I’ll see you again in a minute!
“FEEL FREE TO FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS” – THE VIDEO
Here we are! I hope you enjoyed the video, and If you didn’t…let’s just pretend you did, OK? as it took me a hell of a lot of time and effort to put it together 🙂
All joking aside, what you just saw is simple: the story of my life. From the moment I realized that I was trapped in a prison, created by my own hands, to the day I finally dropped the chains to run free and realize my crazy dream!
I don’t blame you if you are thinking ” Easier said than done!” This is why I want to share with you what’s really behind the choices I made.
Meaning: What’s really holding you back?
And what was holding me back, up until that moment?
So here they are: your enemies.
The 4 main obstacles stopping you from living your life to the fullest.
Fear was my #1 enemy: Fear of the unknown| Fear of failure| Fear of being labeled as ridiculous| Fear of expressing my true feelings| Fear of rejection
It took me so long to realize that I had caged myself with walls made of fears. I kept finding all sort of excuses to avoid the most basic question:
What do you really want out of your life?
(If you haven’t guessed it yet…I wanted to travel the world 😉 )
While I was slowly wrapping the chains around my wrists, year after year, I convinced myself of a lot of things that you’re probably thinking right now…
“I don’t have enough money.”
“I’m not talented or smart enough to write about what I really love.”
“Leaving a steady job during a period of recession is insane.”
All the excuses were somehow reasonable: I’m not rich, I’m not Hemingway either and the words “economic crisis” had haunted me since the day I was born. A word to the journalists: yes we are in time of recession. WE GOT IT. Now could you please give us some good news for a change? Thank you! (end of the rant).
The truth is, if you have a dream, something that burns inside your veins, none of this really matters.
During the months before my departure I went through a roller coaster of emotions, from pure excitement to panic attacks. I was well aware that this decision would change my life forever.
Changing your life is A BIG DEAL.
I was damn scared of the unknown and the idea of failure haunted me. Heading back home penniless a few months after my departure was my worst nightmare.
Two years of traveling and blogging later, I now know that this is total nonsense.
If you really want something, you will find a way.If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.Whatever your dream is, however big your fear of failure is, what’s the worst-case scenario? You have to admit that you made the “wrong choice”.
But what does that mean? A set back or two are just part of the package when you’re following your dreams. It’s not as big of a deal as you think it will be.
Maybe you feel you are a “failure” because you are afraid of what other people will think of you. Or you might feel like you aren’t “good enough”.
Good enough? Compared to whom?!
Compared to those who were able to accomplish what you did not, right? That’s the trap of society and human nature: We are constantly comparing ourselves to other people.
Wandering Earl, one of my favorite travel bloggers, wrote a very insightful article about this topic. He talks mainly about travel-related “failures” but the concept can really apply to anything we pursue in life.
And speaking of fears and failures.. when they chose me for the Favella Lab project, my first words were “Oh shit, NO!!” I was petrified. When I applied I obviously wanted to go, but my family and I were also going through one of our toughest moments ever. Issues that deeply affected my life as well.
I told to myself, “How can I possibly cope with all this? Being around people I’ve never met before, smiling and pretending that everything is fine, with the hell I’m going through?”
Well, I decided to face my fears by taking that damn plane. Everyone has troubles, after all. It’s all part of that package called “life”, and we just have to deal with them.
The experience was a great one, but I felt completely out of place most of the time. I tried to take it day by day, thinking that whatever the outcome was, it would be helpful in the end.
If you want big things out of life, you have to face your fears.And since that’s what I’ve always wanted, that’s what I’ve always done.It was a battle within myself, a battle that I didn’t really win, as my actions and words during the lab were heavily affected by my situation.
I felt STUPID almost all of the time. I had nothing to say. I was totally drained.
It’s not a nice feeling, but I have to give some credit to myself for it: considering my personal situation, I went out of my comfort zone big time, and I am proud to realize that, even living with the hell inside me, I was still brave enough to give it a try.
The only real failure, in my opinion, is when you have a dream and you don’t even try to achieve it because you are scared.
2| GIVING UP TOO SOON
This is one of the most disappointing reasons. So many people are SO close to success and they give up just a step before they reach it. If they only took a moment to look back! They only see a long way up instead of realizing how far they’ve gone.
Compare your dream to a love story. Yes, again! Think about your dream as your partner: You fell in love and for the first few months everything is great, you are in the “honeymoon phase” and nothing can go wrong. After a while, the enthusiasm starts to fade and you start to notice your partner’s flaws. You get a bit bored, which is normal, but you immediately think that this might be a mistake, so you decide to give up.
Your dream, just like with love, needs time and hard work to grow and be called a success. It’s not a smooth sailing, there will be many obstacles to overcome. People will try to convince you that you are just fooling yourself or that it’s not worth it. All you have to do is stay focused on your main goal and keep trying.
When I launched this blog it took me a year to start taking it seriously and even if I was working day and night, I didn’t see a single result. My traffic was as low as my enthusiasm and I wasn’t making a single penny out of it. I have to thank my lucky stars that I am a very stubborn and that I didn’t give up. I kept trying.
Fast forward to one year later: I just wrote an article on how I make money with my blog. Last month I even exceeded my salary at Burberry.
I am still not there yet, every month is a challenge, but this is exactly the point: I look back and I see how far I’ve come. This gives me motivation when things are not so good.
Another thing I’ve learned is that people who give up are usually those who constantly compare themselves to others. The are blogs that are not even one year old and are doing better than mine. Should I be concerned? No, I shouldn’t. Everyone has a unique story, a different background and a different pace. This is another trap you shouldn’t fall into.
The only person you should compare yourself to is….YOU.
Are you improving compared to the past? Can you see a positive trend towards your goal? If the answer is yes, you can relax and keep on working harder than ever. You can’t go wrong. And what if something actually does goes wrong? Admit the defeat, analyze your mistake, get back up, and keep trying.
Successful people are not necessarily geniuses; they are those who never gave up. The ones who see an obstacle as an opportunity.
3| WAITING FOR THE RIGHT MOMENT
This reason is what I call the “black dress excuse”: It suits any occasion. I used it so many times that I was starting to believe it.
All bullshit. The funny things is, we all know this excuse is bullshit, but it’s a nice safety blanket to use.
“I am too young, I need to graduate first” becomes ” I need to finish university” and after that “I need to find a job to save a bit”.
Before you know it you are doomed, like everyone else. You’ve caged yourself and thrown away the key.
Let’s cut to the chase: It’s NEVER the right moment, and if you wait for it, you already know that that day will never come.
I presented my resignation letter after 5 years at Burberry at age 35. Was it good timing? Absolutely NOT.
It was quite possibly the worst timing. At 35 you are “supposed” to settle down, not to come up with the crazy idea of quitting your job and traveling the world.
I decided to do it because the idea of living that life for the rest of my days scared the hell out of me. Staying was way crazier than quitting. So I quit.
My advice here? If you really want something, today is the right day to start. No excuses.
I’m not saying that you have to drop everything right now, sell your house, give your little kids to a nanny and just leave for good.
All I’m saying is to start taking your dream seriously.TODAY.
- Write down what you dream about and allow yourself to truly believe that you will get there. Not maybe. YOU WILL.
- Imagine it as you were already living that life. Pay attention to how this makes you feel.
- Plan your dream by writing a list of every possible way to achieve it. The more into details you go, the better.
- Search online for people who have done something similar before you.
The last point was crucial for me. Reading about other people who did what I didn’t even dare to imagine gave me the final push. People with kids who sold their houses, young or middle aged people who saved money, working 2-3 jobs at a time while waiting for years.Normal yet extraordinary people who had a big dream and the belief that nothing could stop them.
If they made it, why couldn’t I? And if I made it, why can’t you?
4| THINKING THAT YOU DON’T HAVE A CHOICE
I have to be brutally honest here. This excuse really gets on my nerves.
The other day I was showing to my brother (who still lives in Sardinia)some videos of my time in the Philippines , which blew his mind away. He’s always complaining about his life. He has a job, a beautiful house and 2 cars. He’s not rich, but he definitely owns many more possessions than I do.
Despite all of that, he’s missing something I have, something far more precious than whatever he owns. It’s called FREEDOM.
- Freedom of choice.
- Freedom of doing whatever I want with my life.
- Freedom to make mistakes, and pay for the consequences.
He told me that I’M LUCKY. Excuse me? LUCKY? I’m not lucky. This life didn’t knock on my door, begging me to choose it.
I CHOSE TO CHANGE. AND SO CAN YOU: YOU DO HAVE A CHOICE. EVERY SINGLE DAY.
Unless you are in jail, or seriously ill, there is no reasons why you can’t change your life. There are people in wheelchairs traveling around the world. A blind man , Amar Latif, did the same and much more with his life.
If you think you don’t have a choice, think again. Is anyone forcing you to live your current life?
It doesn’t matter whether people were expecting something from you and you thought it was right to follow their advice to avoid disappointing them.
You chose anyway. You chose to not disappoint them, but you ended up disappointing the most important person. YOURSELF.
Your person and your time are the most important assets that you will ever have. You can do incredible things with your life. No matter what your age is, it’s really never too late to choose a life that really suits you, and screw all those annoying people who try to convince you otherwise!
The word “change” should not scare you, it should excite you! If you want to read more, I highly recommend a post written by “Young Adventuress” a very talented and very honest travel blogger. She also gives away great insights on the topic!
AND ALWAYS REMEMBER: “IF YOUR DREAMS DON’T SCARE YOU, THEY ARE NOT BIG ENOUGH” 🙂
I’d really love to read your thoughts and most importantly your dreams, so feel free to comment and leave your own voice!
Thanks for reading 🙂