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Life Potential

Why You Should Follow Your Heart (And Signs You Aren’t)

Written by Mark Lynch
Featured Life-Balance, & Personal Development Author
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It’s never too late to follow your heart and start something you’ve always wanted to do. It doesn’t matter what you think is holding you back; let’s just call them what they are: excuses. It shouldn’t matter if other people are doing it already or nobody is doing it.

The only question that matters is whether or not doing it would make you happy—do you follow your heart and live the life you want? Everyone has a different personality and is drawn to different things. And the more you allow yourself to pursue those things and follow your heart, the happier you will be in life.

However, you still have to be willing to work for them because dreams don’t come easily. If you want something, you have to earn it!

Why You Should Follow Your Heart

Here are 5 reasons why you need to follow your heart to live the life you want.

1. The World Needs Your Voice

We all see the world differently because we all came from different places, had different upbringings, overcame different challenges, etc. So, what you have to say and how you say it will differ from the next person.

Your values, core beliefs, and how you share that with the world will be what sets you apart. Those are the things about you that are going to make someone say, “That’s them. They’re my person, and I really appreciate the work they’re bringing into the world.”

Just imagine how many podcasts there are; they all have their own tribe of listeners. The same goes for YouTube, blogs, etc. That goes to show that we all consume content differently, too. So, if you’re a writer, write. If you’re a speaker, speak. If you’re a photographer, take photographs.


We need to stop becoming more like others and start being more of ourselves.

2. People Want Your Unique Work

There will always be people who love to consume more than they want to create because creating something of your own is hard. Even when it’s something as simple as writing an Instagram caption or a blog post, people are hesitant to create their own content because they wonder if anyone is going to find it helpful if they’re adding more value to the world or just more noise, or if they’re writing is any good.

It’s scary to put yourself out there for the world to judge. It’s more comfortable to judge others for putting themselves out there than to put yourself out there to potentially be judged.

But do it anyway. If you want to paint, then paint. If you want to start a DIY blog, start a DIY blog. Express yourself. Share your story with the world. Be vulnerable. The world needs more of it. So, be brave and follow your heart.

3. Know Where Your Heart Is

I’ve always wanted to have a blog, and I’ve always wanted to work at a magazine company and/or start my magazine. While I have not worked at a magazine company yet, I choose to do the other two this year.

I started creating content about three years ago, and the feeling was amazing. I’m so glad I did it because if I didn’t, I would still be playing the “what if” game.

But now, I play the “What’s next?” game, which is much better. And trust me when I say this journey hasn’t been easy. There have been (and still are) so many times when I cringe and think, “I did that? Is that good enough?” and the good old, “Who do I think I am to do this? What if someone reveals what a fraud I am one day?”


But how will you improve if you never try or don’t at least start? Sure, you might fail and fall flat on your face. But you can always, always get up again and keep going. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but you do have to be present and consistent.

You have to ride the rollercoaster and overcome the challenges along the way. No path to success is completely smooth. Just follow your heart, and you’ll be ready to face the challenges along the way.

4. There’s a Whole World to Explore

If I had never started to follow my heart, I wouldn’t have had the chance to meet some of the most amazing people I’ve met.

If I didn’t follow my heart, I wouldn’t have pushed myself out of my comfort zone, I wouldn’t have met people who helped me push myself out of my comfort zone, and I would’ve never known how truly encouraging and supportive the people around me are—and I’m so grateful for every one of them.

If it weren’t for me taking a leap of faith and starting, I wouldn’t have realized how hard other people have worked to make their dreams come true. I would’ve continued chalking it up to “luck.” I would’ve continued making excuses and wouldn’t be the type of person to take accountability for my actions. As harsh as it may sound, I would still be like the rest of the world.

But now, I have so many more ideas and projects I want to do to build on what I’ve already accomplished. I want to start a podcast and maybe a book.


There is so much out there for you—but you have to be willing to show up, take the first step, and keep going. It’s not enough to just start. You have to continue what you started, too. It’s not easy to take that first step, but it’s even tougher to keep stepping when things get tough.

But if you’re strong and follow your heart, you will open yourself up to an entirely new and exciting world.

5. You Will Inspire Others

When you share your story with others, it sends a message. It shows others what’s possible when they apply the lessons to themselves. And if that doesn’t seem inspiring, then I don’t know what is.

Whenever I wonder if this journey is for me, I listen to podcasts, read books, and watch interviews. These things remind me that the people I admire the most did not get to where they are overnight or even in a matter of months. It took them years, and they’re still showing up.

They weren’t the person they are today when they first started, just like I’m not going to be the person I am today five years or five months from now.

We’re always growing and learning along the way, so share your story with others because regardless of where you are in your journey, someone out there needs to hear it. Inspire others, and you’ll also end up inspiring yourself.


8 Signs You’re Not Following Your Heart

Here are 8 signs that you are not following your heart and need to start again.

1. You Have Others Make Important Decisions for You

If you don’t know or don’t like what your heart is telling you, you designate someone else to make important decisions for you. Should I go on a second date with Ella? Should I go to law school or join this not-for-profit? This way, you don’t need to deal with your heart and can always blame the other person if things go wrong. The only problem here is that you are no longer the master engineer of your life.

Ultimately, it is far more fulfilling to make all of your own choices, ‘right’ or ‘wrong,’ and take whatever consequences come your way. That is what it means to be alive. Plus, when we make our own decisions, we can evaluate them and assess their impact on our lives so we can make good decisions and have a better outcome.[1]

2. You Are ‘Succeeding,’ but Feel Nothing

You have worked for months to get that project, engagement, or club membership. But now that you have it, you don’t feel the wave of joy you had predicted. You are on to the next project. This likely means one of two things: your heart wasn’t in the project, or your inner do-a-holic took over.

Regardless, take a minute to savor a project when you complete it. Ask yourself, “Does this make me happy? Why?” Give your heart a chance to share its opinion. And be okay with the answer if it’s, “I just am not that excited about it!”

3. You Think in Terms of Pros and Cons Lists

The mind loves to make lists. The heart does not: it just feels. So if you find yourself making or justifying a decision with a pros and cons list, consider that you have not consulted your heart. Making these lists is okay, but they must be used in partnership with your heart’s gut feeling.

4. You Are a Chameleon

You are proud of your ability to fit in anywhere and get along with anyone, which is a talent. But in masterfully adapting to new environments, you lose sight of who you are. Consider that if you fit in everywhere, maybe it’s time you didn’t.


5. You Have to Drag Yourself Out of Bed Every Morning

The old cliché is usually true. If you are not looking forward to what the day holds in store for you, then the odds are that something is blocking your heart from getting excited about it. This could be something as simple as an issue that needs to be resolved before your heart can sing again or something as all-encompassing as your job is not the right one for you.

Start to investigate. Ask your heart what you are dreading about your day, and take action. The underlying factors can also be the cause of depression. Depression made even simple everyday tasks feel impossible and it’s best to talk with a professional if this may be the case.[2]

6. You Are Always Thinking About What You Really Want

You are dating John but thinking about Ted. You are working at a bank but wish you were advising in Washington. You need to figure out if these thoughts are a ‘grass is always greener mentality or if these thoughts really are your heart trying to tell you that you need to make different choices.

You can do this by taking three weekly actions to investigate what you really want. Pay attention to your heart. If the more you learn, the more you want the new path, and your heart will likely tell you to make a change.

7. You’re Afraid to Stand Out

You know what your heart is telling you to do, but you are afraid of being wrong, looking bad, or being rejected. So you zip up and don’t say anything. This may be a safe approach to life, but it sure won’t win you any happiness awards. Consider that to follow your heart, you will have to stand out.

8. You Are Not Using Your Natural Passions

You may be good at what you do, but being good at something doesn’t necessarily mean you are passionate about it. Think back on the 20 happiest moments of your life. What do they have in common? In there, you will find your passions. Are those passions present in your current job? In your relationship?


The first step to finding your heart is to admit that you are not listening to it in a certain aspect of your life. Then you can get curious and start giving your heart the air time it needs because, according to research, when you perform activities that you are passionate about, it improves your physiological well-being.[3]

Final Thoughts

You don’t have to be perfect or feel ready to start; you just have to follow your heart and be willing to put yourself out there.—and continue putting yourself out there.

Permit yourself to be imperfect, flawed, messy, and beautiful. Give yourself space to learn, fall, make mistakes, and do better. Give yourself credit where credit is due, and celebrate your wins.

Find and surround yourself with people who support you and understand your journey—ideally with people who are on the same journey as you, so you can encourage each other to keep going. Friends who grow together stay together.

So, get out there and follow your heart. Find out where it will take you: How to Do What You Love and Love What You Do to Achieve More.


Don't have time for the full article? Read this.

Why You Should Follow Your Heart (And Signs You Aren’t)

We all see the world differently – your values, your core beliefs, and how you share that with the world are what set you apart.

By inspiring others, you’ll end up inspiring yourself. No path to success is completely smooth. Just follow your heart, and you’ll be ready to face the challenges along the way.

The first step to finding your heart is to admit that you are not listening to it in a certain aspect of your life. Then you can get curious and start giving your heart the air time it needs.

Take a minute to savor your successes.

Don’t neglect the ‘gut’ feeling from your heart.

Featured photo credit: Aziz Acharki via unsplash.com


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