Following your heart is more than just doing what you want.
It’s about working without a map.
It’s about giving the soul its bread.
It’s about penetrating the stuckness.
It’s about nourishing your compulsion.
It’s about taking your dreams seriously.
It’s about honoring the constants in your life.
It’s about abandoning things whose time has passed.
It’s about stepping out and exposing your dream to the light.
THE QUESTION IS: How do you follow your heart without losing your mind?
Funny you should ask:
1. Believe in the availability of your own answers. If you want to follow your heart, the first step is to establish an internal dialogue with yourself. Dive in and see what unfolds. Only then can you create the necessary space to hear what your heart is whispering to you.
Try this: Repetitively ask the following question right as you drift off to sleep: What am I afraid to know about myself?
In my experience, it’s not a question – it’s a catapult. And that’s the cool part is: By the time you wake up, the answers are waiting for you. Even the ones that sting. And when they present themselves, your only job is to stand steadfast in that knowledge, and then execute from that place of true knowing. The rest is just gravity.
Remember: You know you’re free when you don’t have to bury things anymore. If overnight, a miracle occurred, and you woke up tomorrow morning and your problem was solved, what would be the first thing you would notice?
2. Self-doubt is underrated. Although there’s a part of you that wants to believe your confidence is unthwartable, you’re still human. And all humans doubt. The good news is: Doubt protects us. Doubt keeps us humble. Doubt helps us keep checks and balances on ourselves. And doubt forces us to examine what we think and why we think it.
In fact, if you completely believed in yourself – all the time – do you really think you were stretching enough?
Perhaps it would serve you better to lean into your sense of scared-shitlessness. After all: Fear is the final compass for deciding what matters. Maybe try asking yourself, “What signal is my fear sending me?” Your answer might be the best thing you could have learned about yourself.
Get used to doubt. There is no courage without the presence of fear. Fear is the prerequisite of bravery and bravery is the precursor to power. Throw your shoulder into it. When was the last time you doubted yourself?
3. Grow smaller ears. If other people are charting the course of your life, your life is no longer your own. And that’s not only dumb – it’s dangerous. For example, whenever first timers attend meetings of my professional association, I always tell them the same thing:
“Don’t listen to anybody. Not even me. Listen to you.”
Not exactly the advice you’d expect to hear from the chapter president. But the last thing we want is another newbie getting sucked into the vortex of conflicted advice.
What might be smarter – and what might keep those people on the path of their heart – is if they wrote down the things they kept saying to themselves. Even if the confrontation hurt. Even if they were afraid to have those opinions. And even if they liked their thoughts so much that they didn’t want to let them go.
That’s how you keep a light on the truth. That’s how you keep consistent with your core. It’s slightly hurtful but enormously helpful. Are you using up everything you’ve got trying to give everyone else what they want?
4. Guilt throttles thrust. One of my readers recently posed a question that forced me into a revision of thinking: “How do you follow your heart when it breaks everyone else’s?”
Tough call. On one hand, if you follow your heart without watching the wake you leave behind, somebody you love might choke. Then again, you don’t want to miss out on a life changing opportunity because you’re a prisoner of your own remorse.
Here’s what I think: The people you love aren’t keeping you here – the guilt of leaving them, is.
You have to trust that the people who matter most you want you to be happy. You have to believe they want you to be successful. And you have to know that they want you to live where you can grow into the best, highest version of yourself.
I remember when I first told my parents I was moving to Portland. They were shocked, scared and begged me to give it a second thought. But the decision was already made. The voice inside me had simply grown too urgent.
The cool part was, that one leap opened doors I never would have had access to otherwise. And the treasure that lay beyond the threshold changed my world forever. Are you struggling against your own energy?
5. Uncertainty is an asset. Certainty is highly overrated. Personally, I love not knowing. It inspires the hell out of me. In my experience, when I attend to life wherever it moves, and when I leave room for the unexpected, everywhere I end up is beautiful.
That’s the key: You risk rejection by exploring new worlds. Otherwise you court acceptance by following explored paths. Blech. I suppose it all depends on how directionless you can afford to be.
Now, I respect your life situation. I’m sure it differs from my own.
I think that’s the biggest challenge of following the path of your heart: It’s rarely well lit. And everybody is afraid of the dark – everybody. My suggestion: Instead of being stopped by not knowing how, try being sparked by knowing why. With purpose as your baseline, you’ll be able to gather enough momentum to sustain your efforts until how comes your way.
Look: Life is boring when you know all the answers. Ambiguity is an exhilarating dance. Take its hand and spin it like a prom date. Are you willing to tear yourself away from the safe harbor of certainty?
6. Learn to love being hated. Being hated isn’t something you do intentionally to make a name for yourself – it’s something that happens incidentally when you make a name for yourself.
And when I say, “being hated,” I don’t mean that people literally want to cause you bodily harm. It’s more like resentment. Jealousy. Animosity. All of which stem from envy.
But that’s the harsh reality of following your heart: Do what you love and the money will follow – but so will the resentment. Typically from jealous people who aren’t following their own.
When this happens, when people try to push boulders into your path, here’s what you have to remember: Being attacked is a sign that you are important enough to be a target. It’s an indicator of success and a right of passage. And if you’re not willing to piss a few people off, you risk never turning any of them on. The question worth asking yourself is: Would you rather be hated by some or ignored by all?
REMEMBER: Settling is a silent epidemic.
Stop telling yourself that this too shall pass.
Stop being a guest star in other people’s existence.
Otherwise you really will lose your mind.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Would you rather follow your heart and fall on your face, or swallow your voice and watch freedom escape?
LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “153 Quotations to Inspire Your Success,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!
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That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Mentor
Never the same speech twice.
Now booking for 2011-2012!
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Monday, March 07, 2011
Following your heart is more than just doing what you want.