How to overcome your fears and live of your dream job?
Updated: Mar 10
Since I was a little child, I have always needed to understand the big picture of life. So I used to ask deep metaphysical questions to grown-ups. Sounds unreal? Ask my parents. By the time I was 5 years old, I would compel my olds to give me detailed answers on such topics as:
“Why are we here?”
“Why is there a moon?”
“What’s the strongest between a scorpion and a tarantula?” …
As I grew up, these very existential questions remained in me. To some degree. As much as I got some of my questions answered (I now have a better idea what the moon is about), or lost interest in finding out about some of them (scorpion vs tarantula, may the smartest win!), I have always kept one in mind: “Why are we here?”. Over the years, this question evolved into “what makes one truly feel alive?” and “shouldn’t everyone aim at making a living from their dream job?”
I read many articles and I watched a handful of TedTalks about what it takes to live from your dream job. Some argue that taking a leap of faith and listening to your heart is the best thing to do, because ...well… it feels good! Others warn against the disastrous results of mixing passion and work, or aiming to live from your dream job is a naïve thing to do.
This whole host of arguments had left me somewhat perplexed and without a clear answer. Finally, after a time of reflection though, it hit me. What better response could I ever get than one coming from the only people that objectively reflect on the whole meaning of their life, for the very reason that they are about to leave it behind them?
Going after your dreams is of utmost importance, according to the dying
I made some research, and I came across an article referring to the main regrets of dying people. Bronnie Ware, a palliative nurse from Australia and author of the book “Regrets of the dying," spent several years sharing her patients' last three to twelve weeks. When questioned about any regrets they had about their life, several themes surfaced repeatedly, the main one being: I wish I had dared to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
She writes specifically: “Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.”
I finally had my answer.
Why aren’t more people living their dream job?
According to Simon Sinek (“Start with Why”), studies show that over 80 percent of Americans do not have their dream job. Let me emphasize this a little more… 80% of the US population will spend about 90,000 hours (about a third of their life), doing something that does not truly fulfill them.
One might ask: Why?
Why do so many people choose to perform a work that does not fulfill them? Having been there myself in previous years, I can summarize it in one word: fear.
Most people run in autopilot mode, driven by the narrative they have created about their life. This narrative is made of deeply embedded values, beliefs, memories, past decisions, metaprograms, and a bunch of other things that are in their heads, and conditions their vision of life.
When they are young, they get a job, start adopting a lifestyle according to how much money they make, get a house, have children, spend most of their weekends and vacation time enjoying not being at work. Later, they grow in their functions, or change their jobs, and look for a position that requires fairly similar skills than the ones they grew in their previous role(s), relying on the high level of certainty they have built concerning their capacity to perform tasks they have been performing for years.
Seldom will they take the time to sit and ask themselves, “Am I fulfilled in my life, or is there more to it? What do I FEEL would bring me the most joy in my life, and how can I make this happen?”
Seldom do they do it because fear stops them before.
Fear of change…
Fear of losing part of their current comfort...
Fear of not being able to pay the house…
Fear of not being skilled enough…
Fear of being criticized or ridiculed, should they ‘fail’ to change their life…
But they also fear the act of sitting down and asking themselves the very question about what they feel would bring them the most joy.
Because we all fear how the answer to this question will make us feel.
Because deep down, we know the answer might not support our current narrative or what we currently believe about our life and ourselves. Deep down, we know that the answer we will get contrasts with the narrative we have created for our life and threatens the core belief we have about ourselves.
You see, I have recently come to realize that all of the above-listed fears are simply rationalizations of our mind...because the mind does not like to let go of what it believes to be best for us. It does not want to let go, so to preserve us from hurt.
Whereas the heart’s main fear is regret, the mind’s main fear is rejection. And rejection takes many forms. At the personal level, it starts with questioning the legitimacy of the story we have been telling ourselves for so long.
What we fear most is realizing that the beliefs we have been holding to for so long in our mind are NOT aligned with the main desire of our heart… this same heart whose desire we have been shutting down for an equally long time. It can be years. Or decades. Sometimes more. And acknowledging that we have let our mind-driven narrative keep us away from our heart'