We've all been there. The dream seems so unrealistic and far away that it's probably best to not even try. Or better still, why should you even find out what the dream could be. Sounds way too complicated and risky!
We are shocked how many beautiful and smart women around us have managed to convince themselves that their dream is not worth chasing, no matter how miserable and unsatisfying their current lives might be.
And I guess, if you think about it, there are so many good reasons not to chase your dreams. So we thought we'd make it easier for you! Here it is, the ultimate list of 'Why try!'. Follow these 5 easy steps to stay stuck where you are right now.
1) Compare yourself
Comparing yourself to someone really successful works every time.
'Hah, it is so easy for her to say, she is so beautiful. Better still, she was born into such a wealthy family. She has such an amazing education and she is so smart. And she has all these people working for her... nannies, gardeners, drivers. It is so easy for her to be successful! And I'm not like her...'
There is always somebody smarter and more successful, somebody thinner and more confident. Somebody who is better at exactly what you wanted to do. And yes, some people come from wealthy families and have gone to super-schools. However, even those people have other struggles in their lives (which you don't know about) It can be arrogant or naive to believe that it's all roses for them.
Secondly, many 'fortunate' people don't still get off their asses to do anything meaningful, so a large bank account hardly makes them 'successful'. There are also tons of successful people who are less than great looking, had no money when they started and did not go to school at all.
Either way, do any of these people have anything to do with you or your life or what you want to do? ... No. Nothing. Nada. But it's good to compare.
2) Blame your circumstances
Your life is so busy that there is no time to make any changes. The kids, the school run and the husband. Takes all day. There simply is NO time! Or the fact is that you are divorced. Or perhaps you are single so you shouldn't plan for anything until you meet 'the man' so best keep everything on hold for the time being.
And you have to take care of your old mother. And all those extra curricular activities you got yourself into, no time. The office takes all your juices. And on top of that you have just moved to a new flat so how could anyone think you could possibly do anything about following your dreams and creating that bigger life?
And there is never enough money. And the mortgage is so big (who wanted that big house anyway?). There simply is no money to do anything else than struggle. Right?
The world is never going to be perfect, the stars won't be aligned. And they have not been for anyone else either, even if it might look like it from the outside. Everyone who has created something for themselves has done so regardless of the imperfect universe around them.
The good news is that you can quickly see small positive changes when you start asking people kindly and start working really hard. Worth a try. (And sorry about the hard work bit. Compulsory.)
3) Blame your history
This is such a classic. A bullet proof way to talk yourself out of anything. Because you are not worth it.
Something terrible happened when you were a teenager. (Yes, something very terrible has happened to many of us.) Or your parents got divorced. Or died. You lost your job. Your husband left you for a 22 year old blond. Your car got stolen. It's bad. I know.
And you are the only person on this planet that bad stuff has happened to. You deserve a medal!
It is best to carry all negative things with you for the rest of your life. It is too painful to start working on lightening the load.
This excuse works really well combined with the first one 'Compare yourself' as you can double the effects by putting someone perfect next to you to highlight how impossible it is to do anything because of your baggage. But don't forget, most people have had to deal with loss, defeat, death, failure or even violence. All of those 'successful' people have had too, I can assure you. At the end of the day life is about dealing with stuff, not about sticking your head in the sand.
Success may not come overnight, but small steps of forgiveness and gratitude could work wonders. There is no need to live in the 'prison' of the past!
4) Wait until...
'I will start working on my happiness, I will start looking for my passion, I will start living my own life the way I want to... as soon as I have a) lost 10kg, b) earned more money, c) found a husband, d) kids have left home, e) all of the above.'
Go on, procrastinate until you are 99 years old! You can't possibly take even a tiniest step towards the life you want until the world around you is absolutely perfect.
Or could you? Perhaps a baby step? Just an inspirational afternoon.. meet new people? Perhaps read a book that wasn't the type of book you normally read or that your husband would approve..?
But then again...
5) You have too much to lose
Just as you thought you might start something new... we have this last one for you to make sure you don't. It's too risky! Don't do it! Look at everything you could lose.
You are completely miserable in your golden cage, but the lifestyle is too comfortable and you are used to it. You have convinced yourself that you can't get what you have now, even if you'd succeed. And the appearances, what would other people say!? Or your job, it's so secure, it's such a respectable firm. Looks great on your CV (the CV you don't want!). How about digging yourself deeper into the career you don't want. That's exciting isn't it!
This is the most powerful one of excuses. Losing it all. You will lose it all. For sure. There is either this or that. There is no grey area. Why push your luck!
Personally, I have to say that every time I have 'lost it all' - whether it was leaving my 'secure job', moving countries or divorcing husbands (only one so far) - I have always ended up so much better off after changing everything. I have ended up in a situation which I couldn't have imagined before because I didn't know such great things existed. I would still be selling butter to the arabs (my first job after university) if I didn't keep moving towards the direction that exited me more.
At the end of the day, what we are afraid of losing, we don't even have. It's all false security. You can get hit by a bus tomorrow and nothing of this will matter.
We women need to wake up to the reality that this life is not a rehearsal. There is no second act! We will still sit in the same spot in five years time if we choose to let the 'no' mantra fill our heads.
And soon we will have a new good reason not to try.... 'Oh, I'm too old now!'