One of the reasons I became a coach is because I just love helping people break through imaginary limits they’ve placed on themselves. And yes, when I earned my coaching certification it was very much a case of ‘physician, heal thyself’. See, my whole life I knew I was supposed to be in a ‘helping’ profession that did not include a traditional 9-5 corporate office job. I imagined a life of coaching, writing, and the flexibility to accommodate my obsessive-compulsive approach to work and play as well as my desire to have kids some day and be present in their lives.
So of course, I became an HR Director (huh?). Now, to some, this is a wonderful career option and fortunately for me I served at an amazing company that actually did allow me a lot of flexibility and opportunity to help people in non-traditional ways. But for me, this was not what I was being called to do. I knew I was supposed to broaden my sphere of influence and use my gift of ‘being a catalyst’ as a coach/consultant. And yet I stayed in the corporate world for nine more years after becoming a certified coach. Why?
It’s simple, and most stuck people I encounter are stuck for the same reasons.
1) Fear of the unknown
This is definitely the biggest obstacle for most of us. It’s so easy to convince ourselves that we are ‘safe’ in our current gig and that if we go ‘out there’ it will be less money, less flexible, less secure, less….you name it. I know for me, being a single person at the time with no one to help me with my bills, the thought of diving into a new career was terrifying. But you know what’s more terrifying? Not following your dream. I was lucky because at least as a coach I had learned to look more deeply into things and was aware of what I was doing. And I knew that every time I encouraged someone to follow their dream that that pang of regret about my own choices to play it ‘safe’ was telling me something. And, not to burst your bubble, but your corporate gig is NOT safe. A company can tell you seven ways from Sunday about how much they value their employees but chances are you are just a line item in the budget that they will cross off if your salary threatens the year-end profitability/C-level bonus.
2) Lack of confidence
I’ve lost track of the number of people I’ve met who have a dream that is unrelated to their current profession. A lot of people tell me they want to be a writer or an entrepreneur and you know what? Most of these people have the skill and/or knowledge to do it. The ones that aren’t held back by fear are hampered by this sense of disqualification. They feel like they’re not ‘real’ writers, (or business owners, or you name it). I went through this when I was becoming a coach and with my writing. I remember my coach at the time telling me “You already ARE a coach”, or my writing group telling me ‘writers write’. So many times we are waiting for the world to give us permission to grab that gold ring, but the world is most definitely not going to do that. The difference between success and status quo is the willingness to just start.
3) Lack of knowledge
Becoming educated on what it takes to achieve your dream is what will take you from hobbyist to success story. Michael Hyatt explains it best when he talks about the 3 P’s of Proficiency, Passion and Profitability. It’s not enough to just have a dream and a passion. There is a lot of legwork involved in building a successful business. You need to have a plan and you need to have realistic expectations about the financial requirements of your plan. When we launched our gym, it was after a full year of researching locations, building a realistic financial plan and ensuring we had the savings to bridge from point A to point B, and securing trusted advisers in areas outside our core strengths. We also had to learn how to use social media, what marketing strategies were effective in our geographic location and a myriad of other things. Without the willingness to be teachable, and the understanding of the time frame that was required, we would probably have quit or failed within a year. Instead, we hung in there and stuck to the plan and are now seeing the rewards of that.
So if you have a dream and are not actively pursuing that dream, ask yourself if fear, lack of confidence or lack of knowledge is holding you back. If they are, the good news is you can overcome all of those and start the road to living your best life today!
Carrie Maldonado is the founder of Limitless HR Solutions, a Seattle-based management consulting firm devoted to helping business owners fall back in love with their businesses. A certified executive coach, seasoned Organizational Behavior Management Practitioner and Senior HR professional, Carrie can be reached for consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org