Are you feeling as if there’s something missing in your life? If you’re not feeling joy, peacefulness, and contentment on a regular basis, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate your life. If you aren’t filled with a passion for what you’re doing, no matter what it is, then it’s time to explore what it is you do love.
Joy and passion are the barometers of whether or not we’re following the path of our soul and our destiny in life. Yes, we all go through challenges from time to time. But if you’re not regularly feeling joyful or an excitement about life, then you’re not doing what you’re meant to do. And you’re not utilizing your unique gifts which you were born with. Maybe this sounds harsh, but I see too many people who just accept life as it is – just moving through life on auto-pilot. Complacency is not contentment. It’s “settling”. We weren’t meant to settle. We were meant to bring our gifts and strengths out into the world so others can benefit from them, as well as ourselves. If you settle in life, you live a life of “half alive” and a slow, but painful existence. When we’re afraid to risk trying something, we’re settling for how things are and have been. We’re afraid of pain, such as failing. But isn’t it more painful to just go along without any real joy or passion in your life? Is half-living what you intended for your life? Ask yourself which is more painful? Living a joyless life, or having an occasional setback on your way to happiness and fulfillment?
Here Are Some Questions You Can Ask Yourself First
1. What’s the one thing I’m hiding from the world? Or there might be several.
2. Is there something I’m afraid to explore in case I ‘fail’, or ‘aren’t good enough’ at it?
3. Is there a dream I’ve had, but haven’t had the courage to follow?
4. What do I love doing? What fills me with excitement or passion when I do it or think about doing it?
5. What did I love doing as a child? Sometimes this leads to what we still like to do as an adult.
By playing it safe and not trying the things you love, you rob yourself of the most exhilarating way of living. Yes, it can be scary from time to time. To put yourself out there can make you feel quite vulnerable. But the rewards for yourself and for others more than make up for the initial fear.
There are people in your life who will advise against taking a chance on your dream. They mean well. But ask yourself, “Are these the people I admire for the life they’re living? Are they living fully with purpose and joy?” Or, are they perhaps, also living safely, without heart or courage? As Brene Brown says, “Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” When you share your heart’s desires with the world, you’re living your truth.
As children we knew exactly what we loved doing. Most of us were allowed to dream and do what it was we loved doing. However, as we grew up, well-meaning adults advised us to be realistic or “more practical” in our lives. Thankfully, for me, I never listened.
As a child, I knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up. A ballet dancer first, and then to somehow have horses in my life. I loved both of these passionately and went on to dance with one of the greatest ballet companies and choreographers in the world, NY City Ballet. After I retired from dance, I went into the horse business, training horses and riders at the major shows on the East coast. I looked back recently and wondered how it was I’d accomplished both careers successfully? What was it that helped me to be successful in not one, but two careers of my choice? Two very different careers. I realized that I never took my eye off of my goal. I never allowed anyone to talk me out of my dreams. I loved dancing with all of my heart, as I did horses. There was never a question in my mind that I’d accomplish my dreams. Besides dreaming about horses and ballet, and drawing them constantly, I also put in the effort, everyday, to accomplish those dreams. But it was my love of these things which fueled my efforts.
To put your dream or yourself out there can feel daunting. Rather than dive in, wholeheartedly, (although that’s one way to do it as well!), you can take small steps. Steps that feel manageable so you can get become comfortable in the doing. Commit to taking these steps every day. Or if your schedule is too busy right now, commit to doing one small step per week. Once you’re committed to doing this, the momentum usually takes over and it becomes easier and easier to do.
Stay open to your excitement and how it leads you forward, or in new directions. There’s nothing like living life out loud and in the way which makes your heart sing. When you do this, it’s contagious and others will benefit as well – even if it might only be from your feelings of joy. Most often, it’s much more.