The title is a direct quote from Barbara Sher’s I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was, an excellent read if you’re trying to figure out what you want from life. I highlighted it as a reminder to myself. Unless I’m willing to step outside of my comfort zone, I have no hope of living the life I seek.
I spend a lot of time with older people. They are keenly aware that all we have in life is time. Looking back over a long life, people regret misusing their time, not pursuing their dreams. No one says, “I tried to be a (fill in your dream) and I wish I hadn’t”. Nope, because the simple act of taking a step to make your wish real changes your life. Merely stepping on to the path gives your life purpose and makes it meaningful.
Two important take aways from I Could Do Anything…
1) You don’t have to bet everything on a big change to follow your dream. Take the easy first steps without giving up your day job and selling the house. If you would love a different career, learn about the entry requirements, take a class, join a group, get to know people who are doing what you want to do.
2) The outcome doesn’t really matter. What?!? Overcoming fear and discomfort to take steps to realize your dream will make your life more exciting and give it meaning, regardless of whether that particular goal is ever achieved. There’s nothing like living a meaningful life to open your eyes to opportunities you would never have imagined otherwise. Dreams morph and change over time…and that’s not a bad thing.
Let those two points reassure you—the decision isn’t no risk or all risk. Loosening our grip on safety is the path to a purposeful life.