My How to Guide On Scaring the Shit Out of Yourself and Pursuing Your Dream

From an interview with Jhumpa Lahiri in the March/April 2016 Issue of  Poets & Writers  magazine (p41). I found this interview so awe-inspiring. Lahiri is truly a remarkable author and person.

From an interview with Jhumpa Lahiri in the March/April 2016 Issue of Poets & Writers magazine (p41). I found this interview so awe-inspiring. Lahiri is truly a remarkable author and person.

I quit my traditional full-time job to pursue my creative and freelance writing. It feels crazy, and risky, and good! I worked hard to get here and I am excited to make it work. It won’t be easy and I will have to work harder than I’ve ever had to work at a traditional job but I'm ready for the challenge. I only half know what I’m doing, but I suspect that's how most people feel all the time anyway (I know I do) so there is comfort in knowing I am in no way alone. 

When I paid off my student loan, we reevaluated our priorities and came up with some ideas for what we would like to save for. We marked down some adult things like traveling, retirement, and a three month in case shit happens emergency fund. But the larger goal was prioritizing our spending so I could take the leap to pursue my writing. That is, after all, why I accumulated that loan to begin with...to immerse myself in the study of writing and actually do it. I had been letting fear and uncertainty hold me back.

After some deep thought about how I want to spend my time and talents, what I want to accomplish, identifying what’s important to me, and deciding what I am willing to sacrifice to make that happen, here I am pushing myself into my dream career. I’ve shared some of my self-motivation talk below. No matter what it is you are going after, these little reminders can be a big help.

  1. Start! Make the decision that you won’t make any more excuses to not go after what you want. Recommendation—start small. I got a little carried away at first and got so overwhelmed that I became paralyzed. 
  2. A little re-prioritization for when you get knocked off track by old habits.
  3. Make the commitment to yourself that you are going after that dream, that job, that love, whatever it is. If you never try, you can never succeed.
  4. Get out of your head space and get away from negativity. Get your head clear. This is a unique process for everyone and I can’t tell you how to do it, just that it needs to be done.
  5. Surround yourself with support. Even if it’s that one person in your life that says “yes you can!” Listen to that voice. Make that the loudest voice you hear. 
  6. Change the way you view your situation. Make it better one small step at a time. You are in charge of your own happiness. No one else is responsible for your happiness. 
  7. Don't waste your energy resenting others you view as happier or more successful than you, and instead make one small change that gets you closer to what you're after. We all have our own journey and comparing yours to someone else’s is craziness—you do you.

The biggest thing that’s stopping you is you. So silence that fear monster and get to work!