26 Jun Our Most Challenging Choice: 6 Steps to Ensure You Don’t Pick the Wrong Path
“Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.” – Henry David Thoreau
The Choice that Challenges Us All
I spent Sunday afternoon with a couple dozen amazing people at a Live Your Legend Meetup in Montreal. Halfway through the event I believe it was Claire who asked a question I get constantly. Alexey asked it again at our SF meetup last night…
How do you know which passion, interest or idea to pursue and what do you do if there’s not just one thing that excites you? And what if I chose the wrong one?!
If you feel that way, congrats. You’re like most everyone else (me included). The good news is you have options. The challenge is that exciting options and fear of missing out can paralyze us from doing anything at all. We feel like we’ll pick the wrong path so we don’t choose one at all. As a result, progress never happens.
The Wandering (and Endless) Path of Discovery…
Claire asked if I’d had an “aha moment“. A time when I became crystal clear that Live Your Legend would be my focus.
The simple answer is no. For me (and for most), the aha comes in a much more subtle form.
The more obvious sobering moment for me was when I became convinced that the way I was spending my time and career was not who I was, nor was it doing anything worthwhile for me or those around me. Thankfully, that realization comes easy for most.
That wake up is what sent me exploring. All my discoveries came after, not before. And they continue to – most every day. They started as a little extra reading and a new conversation here and there, and eventually they turned into a business and way of life.
So for those of you feeling stuck in picking a direction or wondering what to do next, here are a few practices that can help give you the confidence to keep walking (or get started in the first place), and get you a bit more comfortable with the adventure…
1. Slowly do more of what feels right.
A few years ago it would have been impossible to tell you Live Your Legend would become what it is today. I could have never dreamed we’d be having meetups around the world and that our focus would slowly refine from simply finding and doing work you love, to also surrounding yourself with the community that makes it possible.
I didn’t have a clue about the specifics. How could I? I’d yet to explore them.
And that’s just it – no one does at first. So stop putting so much pressure on yourself to know exactly what it is right now. That’s not going to happen. Even if you think you know, two years from now it’s guaranteed to look different than you thought. That’s the fun part!
All you might know is that you want to do something meaningful (and stop wasting your life) – that you want to help people and you have an idea of some things you enjoy doing, that you might even be good at.
That’s all you need to start. And the way I see it, it’s really the only way to start.
In the beginning all I knew was that I had a lot of fun helping friends make career transitions. So I did more of that. At first that just meant having lunch with people who wanted help. It wasn’t even close to my main thing. I had a full-time job working with some friends at a preventive health startup (which I actually really enjoyed). But I made the time because it felt worth it – and it made me feel whole. The more I noticed and enjoyed the impact, the more attention I gave it.
Be aware of what you enjoy doing and the things you enjoy helping others with. Notice the things that might seem interesting. Slowly start to spend more of your time that way. Start with an extra 10-30 minutes a week. Grow from there.
You can only make discoveries if you begin walking the path.
2. Shadow someone.
I never build a product or course unless I’m confident there’s a market for it. That means I do everything I can to interact with our community and learn your biggest challenges, so I know exactly what to create that will provide you all with the most benefit. That’s the only reason Live Off Your Passion or How to Connect with Anyone exist. Sounds simple, but for some reason it still doesn’t get practiced as much as you’d think.
I believe pursuing a new job, career or business should be treated the same way: test the market. Find a way to be confident you’ll enjoy the work before you dive head first into it. Another reason why step #1 is so important.
Before huge leaps, get a feel for where you’re headed. The easiest way is to take a walk along side someone (or multiple people) already wearing the shoes you think you want. Interested in teaching yoga? Befriend your local teacher or find a friend in the business. Start by taking a few more classes, then maybe attend a weekend retreat and seek out a conference. Maybe even get a side job as the receptionist so you can see the not so glamorous side of things. You want to get a look at all the angles and ideally from more than one person and perspective. Most people are happy to share their experience from the inside. But they won’t share it without you asking. Same goes for becoming a surgeon or starting a tech company. Immerse yourself in the life these people lead.
Don’t compare your insides to other people’s outsides.
This traps us all at some point. We love to look at the glamorous side of someone’s life or career. But what about the rest? How does their husband feel about it? What’s the balance like? Realize you’ll never see even close to the full picture if you don’t get out and learn. Enlist people to help you read between the lines.
Better to spend a few days or weeks in their shoes than to waste months (or much longer) getting a certification, or building something you never really wanted in the first place.
3. Create creative overlaps.
Still having trouble picking a direction? Who says you have to pick just one?! Blending can be a lot more fun. In fact, some of the most unique and differentiated products and businesses come from overlapping a few passions. On Sunday, Olena – another LYLer from Montreal, was telling me about her experience as a professional ballet dancer as well as the degree she had in multiple learning modalities, as well as the MBA she just finished up. Think of the combo she could put together. Talk about standing out!
As for Live Your Legend, there are thousands of sites about passion and finding work you love. But I also happen to be obsessed with meeting, understanding and connecting with new people. And as it turns out, your surroundings are crucial to making any meaningful progress. So I’ve made community and connecting a core part of our foundation and our Passionate Work Framework (better explained in my TEDx Talk). That lead us to creating our flagship How to Connect with Anyone course & community (which we’ll be opening again to a small group in a couple months). Overlapping these two interests has taken LYL’s impact to a totally new level. You’ll also notice I sprinkle fitness and exercise into many of my stories – another huge interest of mine.
The more creative the overlaps, the more interesting the path. And the more likely others will pay attention!
4. Find your model.
This takes walking in someone’s shoes to a whole new level and is best for once you’ve decided on your path(s), but can also help with the deciding. To attempt anything without a model is silly. Be it running 30 miles or launching a knitting business, we need to find the people currently doing the things we dream of doing. And not just any person – but the ones we respect, admire and who have done a damn good job. Ideally this is someone you can befriend personally but that’s not a requirement. With blogs, TED talks, books and every other avenue for learning about someone’s success (or failure), you no longer need to know them first hand.
Study everything you can from their life – deconstruct how they did it, what they specifically avoided and the kind of person they’ve become as a result. The key is to understand the life they lived to get where they currently are, not the public life they lead now that they’re at the top of their game.
No matter what you’re interested in doing, there’s a model who’s already done it, or done something close enough to be worth learning from. Finding the right model will change everything. It’s a process all to itself. I wrote more about it here: On Modeling the Impossible and How to Do Anything.
5. Embrace the Grit.
Avoid the sugar coating. The pursuit of work that matters takes serious…well, work. The peaks and valleys are often extreme and stacked back-to-back. Every step is not bliss. Not even close. Even today I don’t spend every moment doing exactly what I want to do, and getting started was an altogether different story. But there’s meaning in all of it when you know it’s going towards a dream worth pursuing. That makes even the grunt work worth doing well.
And that’s the nature of building something, especially in the beginning. We have to learn new things, experience them and feel the pain here and there. But that’s part of what makes it matter. That might mean working part time as a barrista to make ends meet or moving back in with your parents or a roommate for a few months (both of which I’ve done), who knows. Just don’t lose site of the real vision. The process is where the excitement is anyway.
University of Pennsylvania researcher Angela Lee Duckworth calls this “Grit” – the perseverance and passion for long-term goals and vision. And her studies have found it to be one of the top predictors of meaningful long-term achievement. Her TED Talk on The Key To Success gives a great intro.
Remember, it’s impossible to fail if you refuse to give up.
6. Revel in leaving some stones unturned – for now.
I used to fear leaving one interest so that I could pursue another. Until I realized the only way to have a chance at doing all the things I wanted to do, was to start by doing just one. Leaving a few stones unturned leaves some possibility for later. You can always uncover or incorporate them further down the path – just as connecting and health have become core to our movement here.
As it turns out, you never actually get there anyway. The only real goal is to do what excites you right now. And then tomorrow do what excites you right then. That is surely going to change over time. I certainly know it will for me and it already has since I first started Live Your Legend. And that’s the point. That’s the invigorating part!
You have no idea where it’s going to lead, but if you’re committed to spending your time doing what interests you, that’s a life well lived.
The Endless Winding Path towards a Dream – in Action…
Claire first asked her question (of which path to choose) to my wife before she posed it to me. Chelsea’s answer was simple and perfect…
“You don’t have to have a crystal clear vision, as long as you don’t give up.”
Chelsea quit her job in corporate PR about five years ago. She didn’t know exactly what she wanted to do but she knew it wasn’t desk jockeying with a phone glued to her ear. She knew she loved health and fitness and somehow that was going to be a part of the impact she made. So she quit.
She got her yoga certification and began to teach. She noticed she felt at home running group classes. She also became a personal trainer, but quickly realized the one-on-one atmosphere wasn’t where she thrived, so she continued exploring. She also applied and was accepted to do a Masters in Public Health, but thought an expensive degree in an unknown field wasn’t the best way to answer her big questions, so she decided to turn it down. The real-life education continues…
She even worked as a waitress on Sunday nights to help with cash flow. She then found The Dailey Method and quickly fell in love with their combo of ballet barre, yoga, alignment and conditioning. She got to know the founder and the managers, and noticed the admiration she had for the work they did – she wanted some of what they had. A spark was lit, so she got her certification and began to teach.
Today she works along-side the founder, trains the studio owners and teachers, and co-manages the studios. Oh and along the way she created her mostly-vegan recipe blog, Food-Life Balance, to round out her love for food.
This all happened over four years.
She could not have better scripted her dream job. Yet she had no idea what it looked like the day she quit or even a couple years ago. She just continued to follow the path, pursuing what was interesting and learning how to help people in ways that made her happy.
If she would have waited to know exactly where she was going, she’d still be pushing papers in a cube.
If you asked her if it was hard, she’d say “yes.”
If you asked her if it was scary, she’d say “absolutely.”
If you asked her if it was worth it, she’d say “no question.”
Steve Jobs put it perfectly…
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something: your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path.”
But the dots can’t connect unless you begin walking the path. It’s the walking that makes it all possible.
Stop worrying about whether you’ll get there, or where there really is.
It’s endless. And that’s the best part of all.
Here’s to wandering with intention,
For the comments: What’s your biggest challenge keeping you from choosing a path? Your answers will dictate our future articles! (email readers please leave a comment here)
The Most Challenging Choice: 6 Steps to Ensure You Don’t Pick the Wrong Path | Internet Biz ListPosted at 13:24h, 26 June
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Gail WildPosted at 05:12h, 27 June
Thank you Scott. Very well put “wandering with intention”. Just the image it takes to make the journey light hearted and focused. Great tips.
here’s to the journey!
krisPosted at 22:02h, 27 June
The biggest challenge for me is that my husband and I cannot afford to have me quit my job. I wait tables, which I have done forever because it has given me flexibility and freedom as a mother. However, now I am in my mid forties and I HATE my job with such a passion that I live in a constant state of depression. This becomes a vicious cycle because the depression colors my thoughts, my energy, and my ability to even know what else I might do. I also feel too old to do anything new. Most of my time is spent taking care of my home and children and just “surviving.” My job sucks my energy and I feel like there is “no way out.” I hear stories of people quitting their jobs and changing their lives. In most cases these people are single and have no kids or if they do have kids, they are in a financial position that allows them to quit their jobs for a time. This is absolutely not a choice for me. We would go under very quickly if I quit my job. This leaves me feeling depressed and hopeless.
Phil MoufarregePosted at 22:34h, 28 June
I feel for you. I didn’t have the confidence to quit and pursue my dream until I had a lot of savings.
What I would suggest to you is to work on trying to switch jobs, so that the new job is a bit more fresh and easier to tolerate.
Then start working on ways to save money. Opening up a second bank account really really helps. Eating healthier is cheaper as well, like potatoes, rice, getting some spices from indian grocery stores and beans etc.
Once you start saving money, you can relax a little and not have to just “survive”. From here, you start investing more time and energy into things you love to do.
That is how I started my journey. I remember when I was very poor. Once I learned how to save money properly, it didn’t even feel like I made much of a change but suddenly I was saving a lot more money. I would just change jobs whenever I couldn’t tolerate it anymore and continue to save money to fund my passion.
When you have a passion to work on, it makes working a day job easier because you have something to look forward to.
Stay in touch,
DagnaPosted at 04:12h, 29 June
In the end of the article you asked a question:
What’s your biggest challenge keeping you from choosing a path?
And the funny thing is that 3 weeks ago, I’d say “it’s my boyfriend”, cause in a relationship you always have to have a compromise. But since we broke up recently, I feel that nothing can stop me now, not even my inside fears. I’m from Middle Europe, and I’m thinking about going to Australia.
ArushiPosted at 23:56h, 01 July
I just graduated from my masters in Product design in November of 2012. I KNEW well before my graduation, that a typical desk and computer designing job was not my cup of tea.
With lots of inspiration (from LYL amongst others), and a lot of support from my family – I have taken a chance to do something I’m passionate about. Handcrafted products.
There are days when I question whether it was a good decision or whether I should just get secure in a job. But I keep going. I do believe with all my heart that the dots will make sense in the future.
I think my biggest challenge in taking this decision however, was overcoming criticism from adults (45+ age group) who are still stuck in jobs that they hate, but that pay them well.
MeganPosted at 13:43h, 26 June
My biggest challenged has been the opposite of having too many passions. I have yet to find even one thing I can sustain passion for! All I’ve been able to find are things I don’t like to do or can’t do long term, but I know I won’t live long enough for the process-of-elimination route to passion!
Mari HonaaPosted at 07:15h, 27 June
I hear you. I only realized I was in this space quite recently when I stumbled upon Barbara Sher’s book ‘I could do anything if I just knew what I wanted’. It really shook me out of a period of not feeling connected to myself and kicked back some excitement in my life. If the title speaks to you – I highly recommend it 🙂
Mari HonaaPosted at 07:17h, 27 June
Oh and Scott – thank you for an excellent article!
I like your suggestion of starting small, 10-30 min more per week of the things that feels right.
Jeffrey A.Posted at 13:47h, 26 June
Thanks for the article Scott. I’m at this point right now…I’ve bootstrapped a business with my girlfriend and it’s really growing now. It’s something I’m passionate about and excited about, and I’m considering leaving my job.
But I just got a significant pay raise and stock options. Haha. I have enough set aside to last for 6 months. But still I hesitate leaving (it is a good job, I love the people I work with).
So my question is, how much set aside is enough? When do I make the jump? Should my business be able to support me fully (it’s about 1/3 of the way there right now) before I leave? This is my struggle.
BenPosted at 13:48h, 26 June
Thanks for this post, Scott. It took me the longest to get going on what I cared about most because my closes friends and family members came from a corporate environment and that was all I’d really known. Taking risks was ok for someone else but I didn’t really see that as something that I would do. It took me proactively finding and getting to know a few new role models living and working on their own terms. Still seeking more though!
JustinPosted at 13:54h, 26 June
Great read Scott! Comes at a well needed time. Thanks for the lift. I feel the most challenging thing I’m struggling with is being able to hone my focus to better differentiate myself. Maybe it’s just finding that overlap, but it’s been a struggle for sure.
BeccaPosted at 13:58h, 26 June
I think Chelsea’s story is great and inspiring….but how do you do that and stay flexible if you still need a full income, to pay rent, etc (and don’t have another income to survive off of) while you find your path? Seems unreasonable for a “regular” person….
Kathy DonchakPosted at 13:58h, 26 June
This is a very timely post for me as I continue building my business, and have found a way that truly helps people and brings me so much joy. It is a post that will be printed out as a reminder for this creative soul that focus is the key to be able to see the correct changes to make and when to evolve. As a creative person I have always struggled with understanding that focus in itself is a creative process, and your blog has helped me see that and embrace it.
Thank you – Kathy
Karen Paulina Saldaña GarciaPosted at 14:09h, 26 June
Hello Scott. Thanks for writing this article.
I share Megan’s comment about not having even one passion to hold on to. This is why I want to wake up, to find something that I am passionate about, something that makes me unique. Currently, I am doing exactly that, I am looking for a path to follow and to grab to so that my life can make more sense. Like you mention in your article, it is better to start doing something without thinking on connecting the dots, the dots will connect later and that will be priceless.
I am feeling inspired by your article! It’s as you can read my mind and know exactly what to say to light the road ahead of me. Thanks.
cindy big yu chanPosted at 14:19h, 26 June
I don’t think you should look for it…not externally….I believe you have to ‘still the chatter’ for the message of heart to be heard.
VincentPosted at 14:16h, 26 June
The road is always a very scary one. The way I view it is that all the actions and goals I am setting for myself is like blowing bubbles into the wild. Some of them may never find a partner and will pop on their own, but others will form together and grow larger bubbles. I’m just hoping that a bubble big enough will form, but until then, I keep on going.
cindy big yu chanPosted at 14:17h, 26 June
I’m in a full time job as a copywriter for a British retailer. Been there 7 years…but have wanted to leave many times.
I recently got a side freelance writing job for very technical products as it surprisingly really excites me. My day job is writing frivolous fashion and beauty.
I got a call from an agent today about a 6month freelance contract that pays pretty well…and is interesting. Do I make the hump?
Also I just bought a house with my sister and we’re planning to rent 2 rooms out to pay help with the montage….our roommates will be paying most of it. We’re just left with the extra bills.
My hear is telling JUMP, Dive in…I need a break to myself and it’s a 3 day a week freelance that will eventually go for 5 days….i’m crying out for a break….it makes me happy I do my own thing and focus on myself…and my health and while making money
Ngoc KhongPosted at 15:19h, 26 June
Thank you for this post, Scott, and thanks for sharing Chelsea’s story. It’s so inspiring. I’ve been hesitating for a long time. Now that I know I should do. I’ll take a leap of faith and just continue walking on the path I’ve chosen!
JacquePosted at 16:04h, 26 June
Hi Scott & LYL friends,
Still quietly reading you from the sidelines. My biggest challenge: I’m the breadwinner. I have little mouths to feed, and health insurance to provide for them. Simply stated, now that I know what I know, I could take risks all day with my own life. But, I am highly risk averse when it comes to providing the basics for my children. I read a lot of inspirational stories like yours and Chelsea’s on the web, but I have yet to see one from someone who is the main provider for little dependents. Still hoping that I will be the example for others to come after me…
krisPosted at 22:09h, 27 June
I hear you. I just posted something similar. I am not the main bread winner but my job is crucial to our survival. We have two kids and without my part time job we would go under very quickly. Not to mention the puzzle of having a flexible job that allows for the demands of full time childcare. I agree that all the stories I read about people changing their lives and quitting their jobs don’t really apply to me. I don’t have that option. I am a working mother and we do not have any childcare help nor can we afford to pay for it. So my children are either in school or with my husband and I or a friend here and there. I wish I could just “quit my job” and pursue my passions, but not really an option here.
LesPosted at 16:27h, 26 June
It’s took me many years to figure out what path to take, which passion out of many and I came to the most simple answer. Firstly, passion is not a thing or activity. Passion is a feeling…a cocktail of love, excitement and mystery. Whatever you want or need is only to feel a particular way, for example…..if you received a million pound, you would feel a particular way, you may then buy a super car and feel a particular way. Ultimately, the feeling that’s desired is a big sense of freedom to have fun. Sustainable freedom comes from completely being yourself and not identifying yourself with external conditions. You can feel passionate about anything and happiness is only real if you stay in the present. In order to make a compelling and authentic choice of what interest to follow and grow within, focus on having a fun lifestyle today, if your lifestyle currently is non inspiring, stop identifying yourself with it, embrace the belief that its perfect right now….a necessary phase of nurture and self discovery. Know that your perfect also and don’t need to change. This will set you free, now go and enjoy your freedom and I guarantee that loads of blocks, fears and anxiety disappears. Anchor this experience as your true self and know that life is an adventure and become passionate about the mystery of the future. Now, when your feel free and living a fun lifestyle, then ask yourself “what projects would really excite me that would compliment my freedom in the present”. Remember guys, if your unsure what interest to follow now, its because your living in fear…fear of the unknown. You have to become excited about the unknown first and foremost and the excitement comes from living a lifestyle that you decide is exciting. If your wanting more in your current lifestyle than you have now, you will never feel free. Accept, love it, see it from the perspective of beauty and magicalness. Then work on projects that excite you. That is how you have a stress free, fulfilling, successful life.
CarliePosted at 18:43h, 28 June
“Passion is not a thing or activity. Passion is a feeling”
Thank you – a good reminder.
Brittany DealPosted at 16:59h, 26 June
Tina Seelig, a professor at Stanford makes a great point on this subject in her book “What I wish I knew when I was 20.”
She suggests finding the sweet spot between your interests, your skills, and the market.
Simply finding your passion isn’t enough. For example, just because you may love surfing doesn’t mean you can create a career or a business from it. Even if you are good at surfing the market for that talent is limited.
Tina Seelig explains it best in this video on Stanford’s website: http://ecorner.stanford.edu/authorMaterialInfo.html?mid=1467
bryanPosted at 18:01h, 26 June
That was a really great message, thank you! My biggest challenge is a blend of fear and laziness, I seem to be afraid of the hard work that is required for me to pursue my dreams. I keep telling myself, “Now’s not the best time, wait a few months” And I feel like I have a pretty good idea of what these first steps should be I just can’t seem to push myself.
dorenePosted at 19:41h, 26 June
Hi Scott, I just tendered my resignation at a job I started out loving but had come to hate because of the constant harassment from two of our bosses. I work in an advertising agency by the way. It ought to be the most exciting place to work you would think. Not in the least. Everybody is on tenterhooks, putting in enough hours just to earn a living and a mirthful laugh never rings through the workplace. So I decided to leave before it killed me. Problem is I did not plan ahead. As such I have zero savings and barely hatched a plan of survival. I am a good writer and I would like to earn from that, but I never want to go back to the newsroom, the pay there was and still is terrible. I have been reading up on blogging for a living but nothing concrete has formed yet as I am unable to find any helpful resources. Do you have some tips to share on this topic? By the way, I am from Uganda.
TalPosted at 19:55h, 26 June
Wow, this post could not have come at a better time. Reading this literally brought tears to my eyes! Lately I have really been stuck, knowing I have to put one foot forward in a direction, but paralyzed with the fear of choosing the wrong one. Months have gone by like this, and just this morning I was trying to reach out in a direction but REALLY not feeling it. Reading this post immediately made me feel like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. You’re absolutely right, no one knows really where they’re heading, but if we just always choose what excites us and move in that direction we will be heading in the right direction. Thank you so much for this reminder, Scott!
JunyiPosted at 20:54h, 26 June
Hey Scott, great article! I’m currently at this point right now and trying to explore some option. I got a small computer building venture going out of the college apartment but ultimately I want something to do with the anime industry. Experience first!
Speaking of Live off Your Passion, did you ever get to updating it? I can’t wait to see the results.
Nitul OjhaPosted at 21:21h, 26 June
I feel the block for me is thinking all the time whether the choice i am making is THE RIGHT one for me . Too much analysis is leading to paralysis. The best thing i guess is to keep trying out various paths which feel good. And its good to know that the path is endless. So there is no fear of not reaching your destination!
ChristinePosted at 23:15h, 26 June
Thanks for the post Scott! My biggest challenge is similar to Jacque’s – I have a mortgage to contribute to as well as ensuring my little boy and another on the way are provided for and given quality time. Jacque makes a good point that when there’s no-one else relying on you, focussing on yourself and what you really want to do is a lot easier. Luckily I’m in a position where my husband and I both work and we can afford for me to drop in wage slightly if need be (but certainly not drastically or altogether!). So I’m starting to think about my options and the LYL materials are proving very useful (thank you!). I guess my main challenge is finding the time to properly focus on myself and make what I want happen, now and into the future, given I have kids to take into consideration too. The last thing I want is what I want to come at the expense of my children or their happiness.
ReiPosted at 00:20h, 27 June
thanks for the post! 😀
i think,I’ve heard about this more than once,..when I was in primary i have the multiple passion i want to go for,.. but my biggest problem now is due to many reason i dont know what is my passion when my parents,esp my mother alway talk about what she said is the best for me or what i want, then gradually,.. i lost it all, my dreams D:
Miami HeatPosted at 02:30h, 27 June
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Ben OpiyoPosted at 04:38h, 27 June
You have indeed helped many to begin their journey of intetional wandering! I like that parting shot in this post so much! That was my challenge that slowly is crumbling. Exciting life is all about wandering with intent! Here indeed is to wandering with intetion.
Secondly, am trying to organize a meet-up in kisumu kenya. Will see where this intetional wandering will take us.
Kevin ColePosted at 06:38h, 27 June
This is so true. I think about the Steve Jobs quote all the time. It’s completely impossible to know exactly how things are going to work out a year or two down the line. We can set goals and have visions in our mind but at the end of the day we have to be malleable.
We don’t know where the winding road is going to take us. All we know is that we have to go down that road. As long as we continue to move forward, work at it and listen to ourselves – we will get to the point we desire. It’s inevitable.
EtiennePosted at 07:32h, 27 June
This advice is so profound and actionable I had to write it down on paper:
“Be aware of what you enjoy doing and the things you enjoy helping others with. Notice the things that might seem interesting. Slowly start to spend more of your time that way. Start with an extra 10-30 minutes a week. Grow from there.”
MartinePosted at 08:29h, 27 June
Like Chelsea, I knew I wanted to do something more than what I was doing, but didn’t know what *it* was. Ironically, I do have a Masters in Public Health and had a successful career working at an international non-profit. After about two years, I knew I wanted something else, but had no idea what. I didn’t want the job of my boss (or anyone else in my FIELD – huge red flag), but I didn’t know what else to do. So I did nothing for another two years. I finally realized that for me, I needed to leave my job to make the space to figure out what I was meant to do. I saved up for six months so I could take time off and reconnected with my passions and myself. Now I’m living my dream, and haven’t been happier! I would never have found this path if I’d stayed in my own job, nor if I’d jumped right away into consulting in Public Health to just pay the bills. I needed the space to try things out, reflect about what I wanted, and observe where I shine and where I am happiest.
Dan SullivanPosted at 09:46h, 27 June
I love the articles but to be honest I am in a rut and stuck. I recently left the military (I loved being in, just not my job) and since separating I am completely stuck. I do not know how to “shadow someone” most internships are just for students and my financial situation is becoming a train wreck. I have my GI bill but I also have a Masters and Bachelors and neither have got me anywhere near the fields I am interested.
I am very happy to see so many people on the site finding their dream but I feel like my dreams are sand falling between my fingers. I’ll keep trying though. Just had to rant.
Thank you for the article.
JanaPosted at 10:38h, 27 June
Thanks Scott, loved the article. Just sent the link out to some friends. Your words keep me on my path and I’m so happy I found your blog 🙂
SJ ScottPosted at 12:02h, 27 June
Great read Scott! I think it is easy to be paralyzed in action by the fear of going it alone. But anyone who has had success through hard work and effort within the face the fear of the unknown. I love your tips for making sure the your passion is the right path.
6 STEPS TO ENSURE YOU DON’T PICK THE WRONG PATH | ListologyPosted at 17:42h, 28 June
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Tom ReberPosted at 20:08h, 30 June
Great post! About 4 years ago I knew things needed to change in my career. I built a million dollar painting company and a great brand but wasn’t totally happy. As we built the company I was offered opportunities to speak and coach others and that opened my eyes to another world.
Summer 2010…I made a logo…didn’t know what I did, but I had a name & a logo…MOTOR was born
Fall 2010…made shirts and stuff…thought I’d be in apparel promoting the MOTOR mindset
Spring 2011…built a blog…still not sure what I did
Summer 2011…hired a video dude to make 3 video of the company I made (telling stories of other people doing cool stuff)… but still had no idea what I did!
Winter 2011…was still blogging some really bad and pointless content…got invited to speak at a High School about the MOTOR mindset
Spring 2012…sold my painting company to my partner and decided I would speak and consult/coach (personal development and marketing/business) full time…
Winter 2012…started to ‘see’ my big vision…what this could be in the years to come..falling in love with writing and producing content
Winter 2012…picking up more speaking gigs, coaching clients, etc…
Spring 2013…momentum is creating some cool opportunities…BUT…I know I’m still only scratching the surface of where we’re going…
Your points about doing more of what feels right and embracing the grit really resonated. It takes action, throwing something against the wall and seeing how it goes. Then, find your way…like Chelsea said, “You don’t have to have a crystal clear vision, as long as you don’t give up.”
Thank for this post and for LYL. I’ve been a fan for some time now and look forward to living men!
LeiPosted at 20:09h, 30 June
Thank you for such passionate and practical suggestions. It speaks to me deeply and came to me right at the time when I’m pondering on the same question. I’ve recommended it to my friends (mostly in China) through Chinese social media.
I’m in the Bay Area right now, and maybe someday I’ll run into you by chance. Look forward to that.
DanielPosted at 06:22h, 02 July
I loved the article, and lived it…
#6 Revel in leaving some stones unturned…
I put everything else in my life on hold 20 years ago to pursue what I loved to do, and was exceptionally good at. A fateful act of compassion about the same time was financially disastrous, though I didn’t know that until about 5 years later.
About 5 years ago, my career path came to an end because I could no longer afford to follow it. After 15 years of pursuing something, I was still living in survival-mode in terms of housing, food, etc. Having put everything on hold for so long, there was nowhere to turn once my career path hit a stopping point.
I had also done everything else on the list. Looking back, maybe that was the problem. I knew what those successful in the field had done. I knew what I had to do. The problem was that financially, I could only give about 20% of what I was capable of giving. I could only do about 20% of what they had done to get where they were now. I had to work several jobs just to exist, and even then there wasn’t enough money to do what I needed to do, let along time when you’re working 90+ hours a week at a “pay the bills” job.
I’m looking to find an alternate path. Something that cost’s ZERO dollars to pursue and start.
Nathan HanakPosted at 15:28h, 16 November
Just venturing a guess, were you an artist of some sort? Sounds a lot like the problem I’m having being a musician.
Scott Dinsmore: Change The World By Doing Work You Love - The Positive SpiritPosted at 10:00h, 04 July
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maxPosted at 21:45h, 21 July
Thanks for this article. It got really “juicy” for me at the end, personally.
I wish I could’ve read something like this a year ago, or even earlier of course 🙂
My blocks, which I’ve begun to work on now with more awareness and traction than ever before, are: fear of making the wrong choice… wanting the dots to look connected FOR me long before “pulling the trigger”.
Recently I’ve given notice at my job and begun preparing a trip overseas to pursue other interests, with nothing planned after. Not only have I never been so thorough in shedding secure things like work and living setup, but I’ve also never been so calm about it. I don’t feel anxious to fill in this blank I’ve made. That’s the part of me I think has most changed, so far 🙂
A visual came into my head some weeks ago that echoes Jobs’ quote: before I’d looked at life like billiards. Aiming and making one shot, hoping it all bounces and ricochets according to plan from here on out. Now I look at life like driving. I can’t set my coordinates from home and be zapped to point B. I don’t have to perfect the coordinates from the start. I just need to focus on each light, each lane change—I need to be present for every moment, rather than “get it right” before even setting foot on the path.
This was a great read, thanks.
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PhD student looking for advicePosted at 14:45h, 17 January
this is an inspiring article 🙂 I discovered it because I have some questions and I am hoping for some additional advice from the LYL community and staff.
I am a PhD student at a Canadian University (originally from Germany) and I am currently a member of my department’s student council. Many students I talked to have voiced their fear to make the wrong career choices after they finish their degree. Some of those fears are based on an insecurity about whether or not to stay in academia, what other options are out there and not really being sure about one personally wants. Even when you are doing research that you are passionate about it is not a guarantee that you can do something with that later, and so on…
Because of that we want to organize a two-part workshop for our graduate students, that is supposed to help them with the following:
– find out what kind of daily life, personal life, life and work conditions they want
– find out what kind of topics and work they are passionate about
– being able to talk to people (alumni) who are doing jobs that fascinate them and ask them honestly about how their lifes look like and what daily tasks their jobs include etc.
So these are our aims, and even though they seem pretty straightforward, I am wondering how to get there. Are there free tools (we are a poor student council) that can help our students find out these things within maybe 1-2 hours (or at least start with that)? We have no idea yet how big the group will be but we want them to become more aware of what they want so that they can ask our alumni the right questions.
I have already signed up with LYL and started for myself to work with the free materials. However, I am wondering whether they are any sources available without signing up and more for groups and less for individual work. I am thankful for any suggestions, advice, or tips about homepages and such.
Thanks from a PhD student that is very happy to have found LYL 🙂
I really loved the TED talk that started everything.
MiaPosted at 16:15h, 09 May
What an inspiring piece, thank you. They most challenging part to me, is the fear of the unknown self that will become once I choose a new path. I’m sometimes afraid of giving up safety and predictability for a path with little to no guarantees.
World travelPosted at 04:50h, 27 November
in my opinion this blog must be read by everyone .. Great advises..!
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