I was thinking today about what holds me back from getting some of the things done I want to get done.
I have found my passion, but there are other parts of my life that I want to improve.
One of the biggies for me is simplifying — simplifying my schedule, simplifying my stuff, downsizing my home, cutting back on emails, saying “no” to certain requests made of my time, delegating some tasks and projects I don’t like, and sticking to a balance between working and non-working hours.
As I was driving in my car today, I was thinking about how some of these things really bug me. I’m frustrated because I haven’t addressed them.
So I asked myself why. “Why, Barrie, why haven’t you simplified these things in your life even though you really want your life to be simpler?”
I came up with answers for each of these areas I want to change, but I cringed when I realized exactly what has been holding me back from these simplifying projects.
I’ve been deluding myself with some of the same misconceptions I help my life passion coaching clients work to overcome.
So often when we fail to achieve something, when we fail to take action, it has little to do with a lack of knowledge, time, or ability.
Want to know what holds us back?
What limits us are the perceptions we have of ourselves and the misconceptions we hold on to, sometimes even intentionally.
The stories we tell ourselves, the outdated beliefs we cling to, the old messages that still resonate in our heads, all keep us from making a decision to do something and then taking action to get it done.
It’s uncomfortable to admit we operate our lives based on the foundation of misconceptions, false thinking and beliefs. It’s even more uncomfortable to admit we might do that intentionally.
Why would we sabotage ourselves intentionally?
Because it gives us an excuse not to try something new, to attempt something with a risk of failure, or to commit to something that might be difficult or challenging.
Whether you know you are clinging to misconceptions or whether you truly believe the stories you tell yourself, it is a huge turning point when your eyes are opened and you see how much power and control you do have over your life.
If you have dreamed of finding and living your life passion, but so far the dream has eluded you, then perhaps you’ve been a victim of your own misconceptions. Perhaps you have thoughts and beliefs that are holding you back from changing your life.
Here are 10 common misconceptions that keep you self-limited and stuck in the same old life:
1. I don’t know how.
No one ever knows exactly how to do anything the first time they try.
The first step in any effort, whether it’s building a car engine or uncovering your life purpose, is finding out how to do it.
If you let “I don’t know how” hold you back from every endeavor, you’d never learn or attempt anything.
OK, so you don’t know how. Find out. Research it. Ask questions. Take a course.
There are resources for whatever you want to learn all around you. You ARE smart and capable enough to figure it out — so don’t let lack of knowledge stop you. Just get the knowledge.
2. I don’t have enough time.
This misconception really threw me for a loop when I was analyzing my own reasons for avoiding those simplifying projects.
I have so many demands on my time. I believe I’m too busy to simplify.
But truthfully, I choose to do other things instead of simplifying.
Even if I exclude activities that are more important to me than simplifying, I have plenty of time to tackle these projects if I choose.
Most of us have a warped sense of time anyway. We often assume things will take far longer than they really do. A project will appear overwhelming when it really only requires a short amount of time.
Examine your life to see what is more important than finding your passion. Anything less important should move down the list, freeing up plenty of time to pursue your life passion.
3. It’s not that important.
It’s easy to diminish the importance of something we haven’t experienced.
If you’ve only eaten tofu and never tasted chocolate, then you can dismiss chocolate as something worth tasting. But even tofu-eaters know that something is missing from the taste experience — some vital something.
So do people who are missing purpose in their lives. Sure, you can live without passion. But is it really not important? It’s the most important undertaking you’ll ever experience.
It’s hard to believe that when things are going pretty well. But once you taste the chocolate of living your passion, you’ll never rely on this misconception again.
4. I’m lacking the skills.
If you are lacking the skills, then get the skills. Practice them. Become proficient.
If you want to be a writer, then write. If you want to become an entrepreneur, then start setting up a business. If you want to find what makes you come alive, then start living passionately in what you are doing right now.
There is nothing stopping you from becoming better at what you want. Just start doing it, and you will become skilled.
5. I can’t afford it.
You might be surprised.
You think you might not be able to afford to leave your secure job or move to another city or take a course — but do you know that for sure?
If your passion is important, then you can make some lifestyle changes to adjust your financial situation.
You can begin saving money.
You can live on a bit less.
If money is tight, it might take you a bit longer to get there, but if you are determined, you’ll find a way to make it happen.
6. The risk is too great.
Risk is inherent in any life change. You must be willing to tolerate some risk if you want to improve your life.
But have you really assessed the risk?
Do you know that the potential for failing is far greater than the potential for success?
On what have you based this assumption?
You can minimize risk with careful planning and preparation, with weighing possibilities and pros vs. cons.
But if you are seeking your passion, the risk is far greater if you don’t pursue it.
You are risking your happiness, sense of fulfillment, and contentment in life.
What is riskier — the uncertainty of pursuing your passion without a rock solid guarantee or the certainty that you will remain stuck as you are forever?
7. It will be too difficult.
Many pursuits appear difficult because we view them through the hazy lens of inertia.
Sitting on the couch watching TV, I think getting up to get a glass of water is too difficult.
It’s only the thought that something will be “too difficult” that makes it really hard. Once the ball is rolling, momentum carries us 90% of the way there.
Yes, any endeavor requires some amount of focus and sweat equity. But the effort of pursuing your passion is joyful work — like labor pains before delivering a baby. You know you are working toward something wonderful.
8. My family/spouse/friends won’t support me.
Do you know this for sure?
Have you asked them?
Have you invited them to have a conversation with you about your hopes and dreams?
Have you included them in your plans?
Even if they don’t support you initially, how do you know you won’t receive support down the road?
You may fear the loss of their love and support, but this doesn’t make it true. Even if you have people in your life who don’t support your dreams, you will find other people who share your purpose and who do support you.
The misconception here is that the withdrawal of support will crush you. But taking control of your life will empower you and make you more attractive to others.
9. Failure will be too painful.
Is it possible you might fail at your passionate endeavor? Yes.
Failure is always a possibility.
As I mentioned before, there is risk inherent in every change.
But failure isn’t always a probability. In fact, you would adjust your plans if you thought failure were a probability.
The misconception here is that should you fail, you couldn’t handle it. It would ruin you or make life more painful than it is now.
But failure is a growth opportunity. Failure teaches you how to do things better or differently. And failure doesn’t always spell ruin.
It might create disappointment, frustration, or embarrassment. But you can handle these things, especially in the pursuit of something as important as your life passion.
10. The grass isn’t greener on the other side.
Well how’s the grass looking on this side?
Is it a bit brown and weedy?
Isn’t that why you are seeking your passion in the first place?
Life IS better on the other side of your passion. Living passionately by definition means the grass is greener. Life is better, more fulfilling, more joyful, more interesting.
The “grass isn’t greener” is a truism that isn’t true. Don’t buy in to this misconception simply because you’ve heard it repeated before.
Do any of these misconceptions ring true for you?
Have you been holding yourself back from uncovering your life passion or reaching any of your goals because you believe thoughts that aren’t necessarily true?
Challenge your misconceptions and false beliefs and free yourself from inertia and self-doubt. Assume you can find something you feel passionate about, and you CAN find a way to make it part of your daily life.
The world is your oyster, so go create a new life that you will love!