Have you ever experienced a lightbulb moment and immediately abandoned the idea for fear of the unknown? Maybe you’ve invested so much into your current career and you’re scared of what might happen if you choose a new path.
You’re not alone.
The sunk-cost fallacy is a key factor that often gets in the way of people achieving their true purpose and potential. Oxford Languages describes it as a situation “whereby a person is reluctant to abandon a course of action because they have invested heavily in it, even when it is clear that abandonment would be more beneficial.”
Many people remain stuck in limbo because they’re scared that pivoting will cost them everything they’ve worked for so far. Is this something you’re guilty of? Perhaps it’s time to go beyond fear and start considering what you truly want to do with your life.
The search for fulfilment
Recently, on my Goals Do Come True podcast, I had the pleasure of speaking to Trang Nova, a speaker and business mentor. Her ultimate goal is to help entrepreneurs achieve their purpose and create a life of freedom and fulfilment.
For Trang, her own search for fulfilment began at the young age of 24.
Trang: “I used to be a physiotherapist, working full-time in the health and sports industry. However, in my mid-20s, I went through a full quarter-life crisis where I began to question the purpose of my existence. I was asking myself questions like: what’s the meaning of my life on this planet? How can I use my existence to serve myself and the world as best as possible?
And obviously, that led me to where I am now.”
I understand what it’s like to have an existential crisis – I’ve experienced my own fair share of them over the years. That’s why I’m a big believer in using the time you’ve got efficiently by finding your passion and following it through to the very end. However, as Trang points out, most people never make this move due to their fear of striking out.
Follow your dreams
Trang: “I talk to different people of all ages and the common theme, no matter what age these people are, is: I’m scared. I’m going to waste everything that I’ve worked for if I pivot and follow my dreams and passion. I’m scared to start from scratch again.
But I often ask: what’s more of a waste? The four to ten years that you’ve invested into your current pathway in life or the remaining years of your life that you’re yet to live? Bear in mind that the years you’ve spent so far are never a waste because everything [the experiences and skills you’ve garnered during this period] is transferable. So, what’s more important? The past or the future?”
Trang’s idea that nothing is ever a waste is inspiring. It’s all too easy to get caught up in “what ifs” when in reality, every experience we’ve had – whether they worked out or not – is incredibly valuable.
I recently spoke to my personal coach about some negative thoughts and experiences I was having and what she shared was on par with Trang’s idea. Even if certain things didn’t work out, they weren’t failures. They got me to where I am today which is a success in itself.
And that’s something you should hold onto whenever you find yourself plagued with doubt as to whether to follow your passion.
Why you’re more resilient than you think
Certain obstacles often get in the way of us reaching our true potential. You might be relieved to know that these hindrances are often a mere product of our imagination.
Trang: “There’s an incredible quote by Lucius Seneca (a Roman philosopher) that has really made an impression on me. It says: we suffer more often in our imagination than in reality. The human mind can go wild – it can create every single scenario under the sun that we allow it to. So, we create these scenarios in our heads. But in reality, as we live one day at a time, we adapt, get stronger, and learn along the way.
As humans, we may be physically fragile, but in many other ways, we are capable of so much. From an evolutionary perspective, really think about how resilient humans are and what we must be capable of to still be here today on this planet.
I’ve had clients who have quit their jobs, sold their houses, and moved countries to pursue their dreams. In theory, that sounds terrifying. But as they go through the process, it just unfolds one step at a time. And at the end of the day, they still have a roof over their head, food to feed themselves, and they’re still very much okay.”
We’re so much more powerful and creative than we think. If you can manage to shift your mindset towards a positive outlook, you’ll be well on your way to living your full potential!
Setting systems in place
If you’ve been reading my blogs for a while, you’ll know that I love to ask my guests about their big, hairy, audacious goals. Trang was kind enough to share not only her BHAG but the system she has in place to make sure it actually comes true!
I think her approach would be beneficial for anyone looking to overcome fear and overwhelm and simply take action.
Trang: “One big vision I’m currently focusing on is to start giving keynote speeches in front of thousands of people. Visions like these often seem so intimidating and far away. So, I developed a system where I work backwards from my goals. Each week, I sit down, and I mentally and emotionally reconnect to where I’m going in life, starting with my ultimate purpose and mission. And then I work backwards from there. In order to be on track to achieve that ultimate purpose, what are my desired outcomes over the next year? 12 months from now, what will I be doing that’s going to have me feeling completely stoked and proud?
So, at any point in time, I’m clear on a set number of tangible 12-month outcomes and that reduces the overwhelm. Because if you’re standing at the bottom of Mount Everest and staring at the summit, it’s easy to just turn around and walk in the other direction. But if we look at a smaller milestone such as the basecamp (which could be a ten-day hike), it becomes a little bit more doable.”
In my experience, compartmentalising your big goals and dreams is one of the best ways to move past the overwhelm and actually start taking action. As I always say, the best way to eat an elephant is to consume it chunk by chunk. Hopefully, you’ll never find yourself in this literal scenario!
I hope you’ve found this blog insightful and can recognise just how easy it is to go beyond fear and start living your true potential. Even if you take just one step a day, it will certainly make a difference over time.
If you’d love professional support to achieve your life and business goals, get in touch by emailing me at email@example.com. And if you’d love an accountability group with free access to a weekly dose of inspiration, join The Wealth Tribe today.