You put that dream out there and you start that journey, that dream and that goal changes so much it’s ridiculous
– professional BASE & Wingsuit Flier, Chris “Douggs” McDougall from the podcast Unpacking the mind of a professional flow-seeker
I finally did it. I made the decision to stop making excuses. Stop talking myself out of it, stop letting other people talk me out of it, stop letting society talk me out of it… I made the decision to quit my job and pursue the things that make me really happy. It’s not that my job or my life was making me unhappy, quite the opposite. It’s the thought of living with regret, knowing that I was passing up great opportunities that I couldn’t bare any longer. In five year’s time, I don’t want to look back and think ‘what if’... what if I spent a whole year working on Still Stoked, what if I followed my heart and traveled to new places, what if I put myself way out of my comfort zone and retrained as a heli snowboard guide… what if? To die with regrets about what could have been is far worse then stepping into the unknown, maybe making some mistakes and learning from them. I chose to be the most authentic representation of myself.
“If you really want to do something, you will find a way. If you don’t, you will find an excuse” – Jin Rohn
It took me a year to make that decision. It would have taken me a lot longer if I wasn’t working with an amazing life coach at the time. Athletes have physical coaches, fat people have diet coaches, depressed people have mental coaches but who coaches you in times of continuous doubt about the direction of your life?
8 months ago, I was introduced to life coach Cassie Appleby. With her in Andorra and me in Australia, we held few Skype sessions and began working together initially to help me through some serious loss of identity depression I was going through, with recent snowboard injuries. She encouraged me to strip back my front, until all that was left were, well excuses. I had excuses for everything: why I wasn’t focusing more on my passions, why I wasn’t speaking up about things that were important to me, why I let other’s expectations guide me … I even had excuses for other people’s excuses … who’s approval was I was really chasing?
The only thing you should be scared of is fear itself, because fear will stop you moving forward.
Fear’s best friend is the excuse. Excuses around not being good enough; not having enough time; not having enough money; not having enough confidence. Excuses are like chains to a wall that keep you stuck in the same place, never moving forward. We make excuses for things because we are scared. It is these excuses that prevent us from taking the next step and chasing after what you really want to be doing.
So here are a list of excuses I made that repeatedly stopped me from moving forward. Each excuse individually or combined, stunted my personal growth and prevented change. That change for me was something I had always dreamed of doing: pursing a life that gave me eternal joy, one in the mountains, one on my snowboard and one that inspired more women to try action sports.
#1 But what about my career? There will be a gap on my resume and I might not be able to come back to a good job afterwards.
There will always be jobs. You will always have your contacts. Good things happen to good people. If you don’t burn your bridges and keep your mind sharp while you’re away, you won’t have a problem. Personally, I would never work for someone that didn’t view taking time out for personal development and to pursue goals, as a incredibly courageous and positive move.
#2 I have too much stuff, I can’t possibly leave it all.
Yes you probably do have too much stuff. For me, getting rid of it was so cleansing and also a great way to make extra money. You really realise what you do and don’t need and how much money you have wasted on crap over the years. Simplify things in your life, including your stuff. Storage is relatively cheap if you can’t part with it.
#3 I really should be settling down and looking to buy a house and start a family
I think this is bullshit. This point particularly was other people’s expectations of me, not my own. I have no desire to be locked down to one location and stressed about making enough money so I can pay the bank back each month. I believe the family will come at the right time and if it doesn’t, it wasn’t meant for me. I’m fine with that.
“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds” – Albert Einstein
#4 I’m too old to do that
Don’t you think it is ridiculous to spend the prime years of your life working for someone else behind a desk to then be told at 65, well done you can retire now and enjoy your life? Fuck that, I’m going to enjoy my life today. Now. This year. 65 is not guaranteed for anyone. Don’t be fooled.
#5 I’m comfortable here with my friends and family around me
Great things happen when you step out of your comfort zone. Think of all the times you have taken a risk. If it isn’t worth working hard for, it isn’t worth having.
“The best adventures are the ones you don’t expect to succeed in”
#6 I’m not good enough
I told myself that I wasn’t ready/good enough/skilled enough over and over when deciding to re-training as a heli ski guide. And you know what? I’m probably not ready. But I’m going to study, work hard, listen, pay attention and be keen to learn and excel. My fear of not being good enough is exactly the reason why I am doing it. I want my fear to fuel me, not stop me.
#7 I don’t have enough money to do that
Maybe you do, maybe you don’t. I made so many changes in the year leading up to leaving Australia that saved me thousands of dollars that I put aside (see: How to save money for travelling: 45 simple money saving tips). For me, it came down to priorities. My trip, career change and personal growth was a priority, so I made it happen. Money or no money. I would have taken two more jobs to make the money if I needed to. What are you priorities?
#8 I’ve invested so much time in my career, I can’t possibly change direction
People change careers at least 3-5 times in their life. Change is good. Your skills are transferable. We grow and adapt. Unlike our parent’s generation, we do not have to work for the same company pushing the same pencils for 30+ years. Don’t fall into this trap. Have the courage to look at what else you could contribute to the world.
#9 I’m not ready, I’ll do it next year
I did this. About 4 years in a row. And now I’m too old for the Canadian, American and Japanese work visa. Don’t put off for tomorrow what you can do and achieve today.
#10 I’m scared
And that is exactly why you should do it.
Don’t finish your sentence with “I had a dream once too, BUT I was too afraid to pursue it”.