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October 29, 2017

A Small Change in Mindset can help us make Peace with that Fear: “What the hell am I doing?!”

I am currently participating in Elephant Journal’s Elephant Academy, a three-month social media, journalism ethics, writing, and editing apprenticeship.

Looking back, I can see that the path that got me here began a long time ago.

I guess the “seed was planted” when I first started listening to Rachel Brathen’s podcast, “From the Heart: Conversations with Yoga Girl.” These talks inspired me in so many ways, but the topics that stuck with me most were her discussions about how she began and grew her many businesses.

She started by posting yoga pictures on Instagram and now she has more than two million followers, a podcast, a non-profit, her own yoga studio—the list goes on and on. I admire that she uses all of this fame for good: she empowers women and girls, she connects people, she inspires people. And most importantly, she is doing something she loves.

Listening to her made me believe that I too can make a living doing what I love. I can use my passions and talents to inspire positive change. And even if I do not have an exact plan, I can trust that things will work out.

Once these seeds were planted, my mindset began to change. I stopped worrying so much about my future plans, or lack thereof, and instead focused more on doing what I truly loved—in this moment. I wasn’t sure where this would take me, but I was content because I was doing something that made me happy. Eventually, the universe revealed the next step to me: Elephant Academy.

After enrolling in the program, the fear and doubt kicked in:

What the hell am I doing?
What if it doesn’t work out?
Who am I to think I can do something like this?

Even though I’m a few weeks in, these feelings of doubt still exist. However, I am proud of myself for doing something different and unknown. I am proud of myself for deciding what I wanted and making an investment in that choice. For making sacrifices. For taking a step in a new direction.

What I want others to know is twofold:

1. We can make a living doing what we truly love. There is no one “right” path to follow. We can invent and create our lives and our careers as we go. Once we start believing this, we open our eyes to the possibilities. We take the chances the universe presents us with. And even if we can’t see exactly where these changes will take us, we trust that we will end up where we need to be.

Doing this isn’t easy. If we’ve spent years listening to and doing what society tells us, it can start to feel like we have no other choice but to be stuck in a job we hate just to make a living. Instead of accepting this as reality, let’s make more time and space for our real passions. Once we start making time for the things we truly love and allowing ourselves to consider the possibility of turning these activities into a career, we’ll start to think more creatively about how to make this happen.

This change in mindset can lead to new, previously unimaginable possibilities, and maybe eventually we can make a career out of our passions.

2. Making these changes and taking chances will cause fear. Of course entering new and uncharted territory causes fear. Maybe with time that fear will start to go away—or maybe it won’t and we’ll continue to be bombarded with questions like, “What the hell am I doing?” and “Why on earth do I think I can do something like this?”

When I start thinking like this I remind myself of all the difficulties I have already overcome in my life. I remind myself that I am doing something I am passionate about, and that because of this, I can make it work. Or I remind myself that I’ll thank myself later when I’m making a living doing something I love instead of trapped at a job I hate just because it was more comfortable.

I hope my words inspire someone to take a chance or make a change. Or at the very least, I hope they plant a seed in someone’s mind (just as Yoga Girl’s podcast did for me)— a seed that says we can follow our passions and make a living at the same time.

I hope this seed grows and eventually starts changing how we think, leading us to become more open and receptive to possibilities. And sooner or later, even though we feel the fear, we will take that chance we’ve been waiting for.

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Author: Natalie Kirkpatrick
Image: Author’s own; @natcardss/Instagram
Editor: Nicole Cameron
Copy Editor: Callie Rushton
Social Editor: Waylon Lewis

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