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Don’t Sabotage Your Dreams with ‘Buts’

How many times have you said to yourself?

“I would like to find a new job, BUT I am too old.”

“I would really like a pay raise, BUT my boss will just say no.”

“I would like to change careers, BUT I am afraid it might not work out.”

“I hate my job, BUT if I leave it I won’t be able to make the same amount of money.”

“I would like to start my own business, BUT I don’t have the money.”

“I would like to … BUT my (friends, coworkers, family, spouse, kids) keep telling me I would be crazy to do such a thing.”

Can you relate to any of those? What’s getting in the way? The big ‘BUTs’ – no pun intended. Everywhere you turn, there’s a ‘but’ that stops you in your tracks. These ‘buts’ are your fears that tell you that you don’t have the time, the money, the education, the nerve, or the skills. These ‘buts’ tell you that you should stick to the evil you know of and not venture into the unknown. These ‘buts’ cripple you and prevent you from going after your dreams.

The biggest of these ‘buts’ is F.E.A.R. – False Evidence Appearing Real. Eleanor Roosevelt said “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” You are afraid of what people might say. You are afraid to put one foot in front of the other just in case you might reach somewhere. You are afraid to take a leap of faith in your endeavours. You are afraid to fail, and in some cases, you might be afraid to succeed! Do you see the power that fear has? It has gripped you so fiercely that you hang on to the same job day after day even though it no longer gives you the satisfaction it once did.

The other big ‘but’ is the negative self-talk you engage in. Have you ever listened to some of the things you say to yourself? “Duh … what a ditz I am. I can’t do it. I’ll never be able to have that. I don’t deserve a raise. It’s my fault. Here I go again, making a fool of myself. They didn’t like me. I didn’t get the job because I am too old.” and on and on it goes. While you are wallowing in self-pity, you meet another negative person who agrees with every word you are saying about yourself. That’s destructive behaviour!

One of these days when you are having such a conversation with yourself, try this little exercise. Write down everything you are saying or thinking. At the end, pretend you are telling your friend what you told yourself. “Duh … what a ditz you are! You can’t do it. You’ll never be able to make it. You don’t deserve the raise. It’s your fault. Here you go again, making a fool of yourself. They don’t like you. You didn’t get the job because you are too old.” Wow! Would you really say those things to your friend? If not, why are you saying them to yourself?

You need to change that mindset. You cannot allow fear and negative self-talk to cripple you and prevent you from moving forward with an idea or a decision. If you set your heart on engaging in negative self-talk, consistently allowing the ‘buts’ to get in the way of your dreams, you are destined to remain where you are. Instead, ask yourself, “What if I moved forward in spite of my fears? What if I take a chance?” You could surprise yourself and succeed!

I have known many people (including me) who have been able to clear some of the ‘buts’ out of our way and move forward in spite of our fears. We were once where you are. At every turn we saw the ‘buts’, but never allowed them to thwart our progress. It took faith; it took belief in self and it took encouragement from positive-minded people.

Surround yourself with positive-minded people who will encourage you to follow your dreams. It’s okay to listen to the naysayers, but continue moving confidently in the direction of your dreams, anyway.

I hope you have gained some food for thought from this article. It doesn’t matter where you are in your career or your life, if you want to make a move, forget the ‘buts’ and JUST DO IT!