When Following Your Dream Doesn’t Work Out

You’ve taken the leap.  Told everyone you’re starting a business.  Launched a website.  Printed business cards. Maybe even quit your corporate job. No longer a “cog in the machine” – you’re following your dream of building a business that matters!  It’s what you were meant to do!

And then … that sinking feeling appears.

You know, that sinking feeling of discontent in your gut, the one that pushed you to “follow your passion” in the first place!

It’s back. But this time it’s happening in what’s supposed to be your dream life.

Feeling discontent in a corporate job is kind of normal.  Lots of people feel that way.  Many dream of starting their own business – and some do.  You did.  But when you’ve taken that leap and then you still feel discontent – it can be disorienting and embarrassing.  Where do you go next?

This happened to me in 2012. Finally, after several years of reading, scheming, naval gazing and blogging, I’d decided the ultimate path to my life happiness was to quit my corporate job and become a health coach.

I invested in a training program. I studied nights and weekends in addition to my demanding day job. I tailored my blog posts to my new ‘target audience’. I read entrepreneurship books and listened to relevant podcasts in every free moment.

And then, I finally started health coaching! And I hated it.

It’s hard to describe the cruel mix of emotions this caused.

Of course there were the normal emotions that come up when you’ve publicly declared you’re going to do something, and then you quit: embarrassment, feeling immature and unprofessional and fickle.

But this time it was even worse, because it was combined with an intense sense of loss and confusion. You see, this was my PASSION. I was FOLLOWING IT, just like everyone says to do — and if this didn’t work out, then what?!

Looking back on this experience now, it’s easy for me to see how I made it harder for myself.

In my head, I had decided that working as a health coach would make me happy and fulfill all my professional goals. But I was focusing on the wrong goal. What if, instead of focusing on “being a health coach” as the ultimate outcome , I’d decided that my goal was to make an impact in the world through spreading wellness?

That simple mindset shift would have opened up numerous possibilities for me, allowing me to  see my stint as a health coach as what it really was:  an experiment. Health Coaching was simply one type of wellness work that I tried, and then eliminated from my list. It wasn’t the ultimate goal that would make or break my happiness.

Here’s a key truth I’ve learned about finding fulfillment in your work:

Focus on the direction, not the specific outcome.

When you launch a startup, do you know exactly what your ultimate product or service will look like? Of course not. Your offerings will evolve and change with customer feedback. Your branding will change. Your target customer might change. Even the product you’re selling might change. There’s no way to predict all of this when you begin. So, rather than being attached to that one specific outcome, focus on the Big Idea instead.  What is the bigger problem you’re trying to solve?  How is this business helping to make change in the world?  Then you have flexibility to change the specific “how” and “what” to evolve with the business, while staying true to your original goals.

So here’s how I approach following your passion now:

Use your feelings of attraction and inspiration — your passion — as a compass. And what do you do with a compass?

You head in that direction.

Yes, hold a vision and a dream for yourself (and your business), but always be open to bigger or better possibilities by reminding yourself: “I will create/do/have/be this, or something better…”

You don’t need to have everything planned out through the ultimate end goal.

You just need to take the next step in that direction, consistently, and be open to what appears.

For me, personally, I did end up working in wellness in a way that fits me, my background, lifestyle and personality. I’ve been able to combine my business experience with my love of wellbeing to help wellness entrepreneurs with digital marketing. No, my “wellness career” doesn’t look at all like I’d planned it to — but in the end, it’s even better than I’d imagined because it’s uniquely mine. And if that’s not the purpose of following your passion, then I don’t know what is.

So if following your passion hasn’t played out exactly like you’d planned, remember — your passion is a compass, not your final destination. Just take the next step forward. And stay open to the possibilities.

by Amanda Cook, the founder of wellpreneuronline.com

SHARE THIS STORY

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

RELATED POSTS

Top Must-Follow Productivity Influencers in 2023

Top Must-Follow Productivity Influencers in 2023

Productivity is a key aspect of success in today’s fast-paced world. Being productive enables individuals to balance their work and personal lives effectively while accomplishing their goals efficiently. To help you stay on track and reach your full potential, we’ve identified top influential productivity experts who provide valuable insights to maximize your efficiency in 2023.

What Can Drones Be Used For, and Do They Have a Future?

What Can Drones Be Used For, and Do They Have a Future?

In January 2023, Australian soldiers used drones to search for a missing woman. The drones helped them reach areas that might have been too challenging for a human to enter. For the past few years, the drone economy has been booming. Global investments in the industry amount to US$1.15 billion, with China leading the market.

2022 FIFA World Cup

The Most Controversial VAR Decisions at the 2022 FIFA World Cup

The footballing world has welcomed many new technological developments in recent times. Its goal is to make decision-making more accurate and provide a better experience for players and fans alike. These technologies include the video assistant referee (VAR), semi-automated offside technology (SAOT) and sensor-equipped footballs, all used extensively during the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Self-funding Your Startup? Follow These Expert Tips from Proven Entrepreneurs

Self-funding Your Startup? Follow These Expert Tips from Proven Entrepreneurs

Starting a new business can be an exciting and challenging endeavor, with securing funding being one of the biggest obstacles. Traditional funding options, such as venture capital and angel investing, can be time-consuming, especially for new and untested businesses. In such cases, self-funding, or “bootstrapping”, might be a viable option.

Navigating Ghost Job Postings: How to Avoid Them

Navigating Ghost Job Postings: How to Avoid Them

Job searching can be a daunting task, especially with the risk of encountering scams or fraudulent job postings. Ghost job postings, which refer to open job positions that are not actively being filled, are a common issue that jobseekers should be aware of. According to a survey by New York-based financial consultancy Clarify Capital.

Can AI Help You Flirt Better

Can AI Help You Flirt Better?

“Excuse me, but I think you dropped something: my jaw.” This is the pick-up line the famous artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot ChatGPT dished out when we asked for some viable options. Not the most original, sure, but not bad for a trained algorithm.