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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

How to Do What You Love Successfully

How to Do What You Love Successfully

These days, we are becoming more aware of the importance of self-care and pursuing what makes us happy, leading many to create the lives they want. However, we can still see the culturally ingrained image of the individual who is stuck in a life that they don’t want simply because they need to do certain things to survive.

In fact, you may know people who do exactly this or you may lead a life like this yourself. You may feel the pull of rewarding activities that bring a smile to your face while doing the things that provide little spiritual value to your life.

In all of the intricacies of society, we tend to forget one simple truth: life is meant for living. We only have so much time on this planet and we should waste as little time as possible on things that don’t make us happy. But how does one get started in their search for unbridled happiness?

If you feel relatively unsatisfied with your life and want to start doing more of what makes you happy, you will find the tips you need to do what you love and develop the life you dream of in this article.

1. Understand That Life Is All About Balance

The first major misconception that comes with building a positive life is that everything has to be positive. People are very quick to throw out the things that are negative and unenjoyable but learn just as quickly that this is simply not a realistic or sustainable way of living.

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Why? Life is about balance. You can’t just do what you love because it is not possible. You are going to have to tackle things that aren’t fun in order to do what you love, and there are also aspects of that you love but are probably not fun as well. You are going to have to deal with things that are unpleasant while you seek out the positive.

To enjoy the sweet fruits of your labor, you have to do the labor first.

The overall goal is to create a life in which you can do as much of what you love as possible. However, it is important to know that there are still going to be things you have to do that are not so fun and that is absolutely okay.

2. Know That You Can’t Be Positive All the Time

Another misconception is that one can be positive all the time. We see a lot of people promoting this lifestyle that is all happiness. A life void of sadness, darkness, and pain.

The truth? Life can be dark. You are going to deal with things that are painful, trying, and difficult. It is an unavoidable part of living life. You have to open your heart and soul to live a life worth living and this means opening it up for everything that could come its way.

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Rather than trying to escape, you need to build resilience to help you deal with these things and you need to learn to cultivate a positive mindset that helps you see the light in the darkness. You can’t avoid the dark aspects of life but you can embrace them and turn them into a learning experience that contributes to your personal growth.

Building a life you love is an extensive process but one that is extremely rewarding. Here are some ways you can start working towards that higher standard of living.

3. Learn What You Love Personally and Professionally

You can’t build a life you love if you aren’t completely aware of what you love and driven towards that passion. The first aspect of life that you will need to focus on is what you want to do during your leisure time, as this will be the easiest part of your life to change.

Make a list of things that you want to do more of during your free time. Whether that involves spending more time with certain people, engaging in hobbies that make you lose track of time when you are doing them, or focusing on improving different aspects of your life such as your fitness or your financial situation, there are plenty of ways you can better utilize your free time by focusing on doing things you enjoy.[1]

The second area of life that will take longer to build but is just as important is the professional part of your life. More often than not, we end up in career paths because of the money or security that they provide rather than because we love doing them. Does this hold true for you?

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If it does, you are going to have to ask yourself, what do you want to be doing? What is something that people would pay you for that also brings you joy? What is something that you could do for the rest of your life that you wouldn’t tire of? Regardless of what that may be, it is important to keep that in mind as you work towards making the transition from your current employment to your desired career path.

Here’s a guide to help you find what you love in life: How to Find Your Passion and Live a Fulfilling Life

4. Set Goals That Lead You Towards Your Best Life

Part of being human is wanting to have everything now. We all want to have the lives we want at the snap of our fingers. While there are some things we can incorporate into our lives in the moment, we are going to have to work hard for the other, bigger things.

One invaluable skill that will take you far in life is learning how to properly set goals. If you have things you want in life, you are going to need to track your progress and continually move forward and accomplish things to carry you to your end goal and keep you there.

Although there are a myriad of tools and resources out in the world that will help you build upon this skill and become more productive and efficient in your day-to-day life, the concept of goal-setting is quite simple. All you have to do is develop a clear, specific picture of what you want, learn what you have to do to get there, break your goal down into small, achievable steps, and set a deadline for your goal. Learn more about goal setting here: How to Makes Lasting Changes with Smart Goal Setting

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Of course, goals are only as effective as you are. You will have to make sure that you are following through on what you say you are going to do. Otherwise, creating the life you want can become a longer, more painful process!

5. Live Your Life With Intent

Part of the reason why we end up in lives that we aren’t excited about is not that we are necessarily okay with the lives we are leading but, because we have fallen into certain habits. Once we are accustomed to doing things a certain way, we continue engaging in those activities. The only way to get out of them is to realize that these habits are present in our lives and break free of them.

Living a happy life means living a life with purpose and intent. Every decision that you make should ultimately be what you want and help you work towards the things that you are searching for.[2] This means that you are going to need to create a life that allows you to break these cycles and help you develop healthier habits that are beneficial to you. You can do this by making simple changes such as eliminating distractions and setting up simple reminders and motivators that drive you to change.

Once you’ve developed new habits, you can then become more mindful of the habits you are engaging in, so that you can begin taking on that which only serves your growth and happiness. When you start living your day-to-day in the way you want, you are going to get much more out of what life has to offer.

Bottom Line

Doing what you love means living a life you love and when you think about it, shouldn’t that be everyone’s goal?

Getting started is as simple as realizing what you want, getting rid of what you don’t, and setting yourself up for success, three tips that you can learn more about with the guide above!

More About Living Your Dream Life

Featured photo credit: Štefan Štefančík via unsplash.com

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Dylan Buckley

Dylan is Lifehack's Motivation Expert specializing in self-development, with extensive experience working for life coaches and startups.

How to Break Free From Negative Thinking for Good 13 Things to Do When You Feel Uninspired and Stuck How to Get Out of a Rut and Start Living the Life You Desire 10 Reasons Why You’re Demotivated and How to Overcome It 9 Types of Motivation That Make It Possible to Reach Your Dreams

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Last Updated on November 12, 2020

How to Fight Your Irrational Fears and Stay Strong

How to Fight Your Irrational Fears and Stay Strong

I could hear my baby crying but was frozen in the doorway, unable to move. The crying got worse and I knew that unless I comforted the infant soon the baby would be inconsolable, and yet my feet wouldn’t move. I didn’t look at the crib but the floor in front, where the venomous hairy monster sat….okay it was a UK spider so very unlikely to kill me at all, and yet still my body was frozen as the tears fell down my face. “What a useless mother you are,” I berated myself as I faced these irrational fears.

My fear of spiders had not been controlled for years, and I was at the stage where I wouldn’t open a newspaper until my husband had read it and removed the images of spiders. I hated houses that had wooden floors or skirting boards because every knot in the wood could be a spider about to crawl across me.

At the height of my fear, I tried to get out of a moving car. Clearly this harmless 8-legged creature had massive levels of power over me, but now that the fear is gone, I’m never going to love spiders, but I’m not going to leave the room because of one, and I can read the word without freaking out and sobbing.

If you think that fear is irrational, what about the fear of going to airports? Or the fear of not asking for help?

Today I want to look at how our irrational fears impact us, and how they can destroy our success. They can damage our health and even stop us from living our lives. And then I’ll share the benefits of fighting that fear and, most importantly, how you can fight your fears, too.

How Irrational Fears Impact Your Life

The thing about irrational fears is that we are not keen to look at the particular object or situation causing them as it causes a great deal of distress. It makes us feel inadequate, weak, and silly because we can’t do things that it seems everyone else can. That gives the fear power.

Fear loves negative emotions and saps up yours, making your fear bigger and uglier and even more powerful. Not ideal to say the least. Fears can cause us to do any of the following:

Avoid Certain Situations

If you know you may have to face your fear, you can find yourself dodging parties, new jobs, or new experiences where you aren’t sure you will be able to protect yourself.

Hinder Sleep

We may have trouble falling asleep, thinking the thing we fear will “get us in the night.” For me this was massive, and I stopped sleeping, which had massive implications when my job was to look after a toddler and a baby. I felt half dead most of the time!

Experience High Levels of Stress and Anxiety

Stress can be the cause of unhealthy decisions. Drinking alcohol when we shouldn’t, eating chocolate because it makes us feel better…the list of excuses that we hold on to is long so that we can avoid the cause of our stress. These high levels of anxiety can even lead to panic attacks or a long-term anxiety disorder.

If we experience long-term stress and anxiety from our fears, it can cause health issues that may extend far beyond the times we are actually feeling fear[1].

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Irrational fears can cause long-term stress effects

     

    Negative Thinking and Mental Distress

    Having irrational fears can damage our confidence. Having coached thousands, I know that a lack of confidence is usually the underlining impactor on most people’s success across all areas of their lives.

    Seeming Aloof

    We risk looking aloof or arrogant because we won’t participate like other people. Our fears can even isolate us in our personal and professional lives, too.

    Feeling Debilitated

    Needless to say, these fears may look irrational and shouldn’t exist to the outside world, but to the sufferer they are debilitating. They can ultimately impact their earning potential, love life, hobbies, travels and personal and professional success.

    Why Bother Fighting the Fear?

    Couldn’t you just ensure you live your life in a way that you don’t have to deal with your fear?

    I had a client that was so scared of flying that they couldn’t even take their partner to the airport. I had another who had avoided public speaking for over 20 years and yet now, at the height of their profession, they had no choice. There was another who could never ask for help, and another who feared people finding out who they really were.

    All these fears and many more can be fixed, but only if we can appreciate the benefits of fighting the fear.

    If you’re going to change the way you do something that has impacted your life, thoughts, and actions for years, it can be hard to believe change is possible.

    The first thing you must do is give yourself a big enough reason why. Go back through your life and remember all the occasions that this fear was there.

    Remember the feelings, the actions, the negative feelings you felt afterwards. Really experience the fear. Make it so painful that you probably notice your heart racing, your shoulders drawing up, and your breath changing. That fear is causing physical change in your body; doesn’t feel good, does it?

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    When the irrational fear is challenged and destroyed, it can’t have power over you. New opportunities can come your way, and instead of fearing them, you can be open to new hobbies, more travel, or expanded job opportunities. You can plan on being happier, healthier, and more confident.

    How to Stop Irrational Fears

    In my book Fight the Fear: How to Beat Your Negative Mindset and Win in Life, I cover 12 of the biggest fears that I see impact success and happiness. Not all of these are obvious, but they all have far-reaching consequences.

    Here are some of those ideas to help you fight your fear and get more of what you want out of life:

    1. “Why I’m Awesome”

    Creating a 2-page handwritten document of why you are awesome can help. This document will be packed with achievements, successes, overcoming adversity, and all of those will be full of positive emotions, actions, and feelings. It is not easy to write; however, it is a powerful reminder that you can stand up and accomplish something.

    2. Draw out Your Emotions

    Earlier, we looked at how irrational fears can damage every aspect of our lives. If you were to follow the negative spiral down, you can follow the positive spiral up again.

    I draw these individually for clients, and with each action, thought, or feeling, we put an arrow between them. Each arrow is an opportunity to do something different. If we know that irrational fear is an automatic thought process, then we can start to see that we need to think, do or feel something different.

    3. Acknowledge That You Need to Change

    It’s not easy to change, and that is a belief that many hold. Remember that when you want to do, think, or feel differently, you’ve already achieved the first step, and that is recognizing something must change (you don’t need to know what).

    Then, it’s about acknowledging it. That means not only accepting it, but feeling that it is yours to take on and change.

    There will be times when you fail. Instead of berating yourself, just start again and take a look at the list you made in step 1. 

    4. Choose Your Words Carefully

    Any thought that gives power to your fear takes away power from you to fight it. Therefore, choose how you word your goal to overcome your fear carefully[2].

    Think thoughts like “I remember when I achieved X, and that reminds me I’m far tougher and more capable than I give myself credit for.”

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    Talk yourself up to overcome fears

      You can practice cultivating positive self-talk with this article.

      5. Believe That You Have the Control

      The only person that can control what we think and feel is us.

      If you really think about that for a moment, can you see that you have the right to think and feel anything you want right now? I’m certain you wouldn’t choose pain, fear or anxiety. So, what would you choose to think about your fear?

      6. Put up Physical Reminders

      Physical reminders or visuals can be great for reorienting the mind toward overcoming irrational fears.

      For example, the CEO who was petrified of public speaking but could handle a conference call with 300 without a second thought imagined the microphone was a phone when they spoke in front of 400 people to help reinforce the positive thoughts and ideas we’d created.

      The client that always worried that they were an imposter and “someone else can do this better” pinned on their office wall a tag cloud of all the words that made up their “Why I’m awesome” document.

      They had a daily reminder. They were the right one for the job, and they could do it.

      What would be your visual clues to remind you that you can overcome this?

      7. Change Your Environment

      Music, natural environment, and even smells can impact the way we think and feel. Know the music that makes you feel alive, calm, and ready for anything. Try aromatherapy oils to feel positive and energized. Even choose your work environment or clothing to empower you.

      Giving yourself physical reminders toward action can help power up your emotional state, too.

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      8. Don’t Go It Alone

      The fear to ask for help is very real (and has a whole chapter in my book), so I know people really struggle with this. The fact is we all need people. We are not insular by design, and as such it can be tough to admit that you have irrational fears that you need help with.

      However, sharing your intense fear with a trusted friend, colleague, loved one, or mental health professional can mean that when you are feeling the fear, you can talk to someone. It could be that you share with them the contents of your tool kit and ask their permission to be added to it. That way they know what works for you and how to best support you.

      It’s not a sign of weakness to tell people about your specific phobia. It takes massive levels of strength to say, “I have this fear, and I want to get rid of it.”

      9. Pay Attention to Your Body

      One of the reasons that a fear can escalate is because we have come to accept that response. Our body reacted in a certain way, repeated the behavior, and formed a habit that was accepted.

      Challenging a fear can be done using our body when we appreciate that fear is actually a reaction inside our bodies. We don’t need to understand where in our brains or what chemicals are racing through us to use our physicality to help us challenge our fears.

      When I was writing my book, the Cuddy Superhero pose[3] was proved and disproved by various researchers around the world 3 times. Whether it’s real or not, the fact is the way we stand, the way we breathe, and even the speed at which we speak can impact us, as well as those around us.

      If you have a fear of public speaking, or a fear of people thinking you are stupid, or a fear of what people are thinking, you can look at how you speak, stand, and move. If you compare these with people you deem confident and happy in these situations, how do you look? What can you learn?

      The research around placebos reinforces the idea that if it feels like it’s working, then keep doing it! What could you use to help reinforce your power and fearlessness?

      Final Thoughts

      A little fear can be good. However, when irrational fears become debilitating, it’s time to take a long look at what you can do to undermine their power over your life.

      Despite having an absolute hatred of public speaking 10 years ago, I now love an audience, and yet I have a healthy level of fear. That level of fear ensures that I prepare well, do my best to understand my audience, and push myself to deliver a great speech. Those thoughts are all sensible.

      As you aim to reduce your irrational fears, cultivate a healthy sense of fear to help you achieve success.

      More About Fighting Fears

      Featured photo credit: Isaiah Rustad via unsplash.com

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