Seventeen years ago, I was so afraid to let go of my law practice and pursue something I loved, that I’d convinced myself that I didn’t even know what I loved anymore.
This is the condition in which many of my clients come to me.
“What would you be doing if you weren’t doing this?” I asked Frank, an engineer who was recently laid off for the fifth time and very unhappy in his profession. He said he didn’t know. “Is it possible that you have some idea but you’re simply afraid to take a good look at it?”
“It’s not about being afraid of anything,” Frank responded quickly. But the likelihood is that long ago Frank banished his ideas about what would constitute a great career and a great life. He hid them away and “forgot” about them.
What is so dreadful about having a dream career or a dream life—not necessarily acting on those dreams but just having them? After years of studying my own fears and those of my clients, I’ve learned that the simple act of acknowledging a dream gives rise to tremendous fear—the fear that you might be lured away from your “safe neighborhood.”
Your safe neighborhood is the life you’ve created for yourself and it includes the people you know, the places you go and the security and familiarity of your daily routine.
If we were to pursue our dreams, we believe, these things might be altered in some way. So it’s best not to even consider it.