Follow Your Passions in 4 Steps
Following your passions sounds incredibly exciting and enticing. “Leave behind this soul-sucking job? Yes, please!” Wouldn’t you want to spend your days and nights doing the things you are most passionate about?
As you prepare to make the leap, suddenly Steve Jobs quotes fill your social feed and Katy Perry’s song “Firework” is on your playlist 24/7; it’s great. Then you have to take that first uncomfortable step and you’re face to face with a major fear. Eventually things get uncomfortable on the passion path. You will inevitably rub up against limitations and things won’t always go exactly as expected. In these moments it is vital be able to access your confidence and be courageous.
Dee: Four years ago I made that leap. A lot was happening in my life at that time. I had just got back into recovery again after being clean and sober for 13-1/2 years. But when I made the move to Hawaii three years prior, I failed to get back into meetings and fellowship and sharing my Experience, Strength and Hope. I failed to be around newcomers. I failed to remember who and what I was and where I came from. I failed…
My husband had recently made the move from the Mainland to join me in Hawaii. I was here over two years on my own. It was the first time in our 30+ years of marriage that we were together as man and wife without children and without drugs and alcohol. Did we even know each other? Did we like each other?
The negativity in my head was becoming apparent. It started to spew from my mouth to customers in Self-Check Out where I worked at a grocery store. I failed to use the Serenity Prayer. I failed to use my Higher Power. I failed to use my toolbox for living. I failed…
So rather than getting fired having spent the last 20 years with this company, I chose to make the leap into an early retirement to live my passion. Of course, I was fearful. My Higher Power was just being allowed back into my life. I was told not to make any major changes during the first year of my sobriety. It had been only six months. But I made the leap and never looked back. Steve Jobs’ quote is still on my vision board…”Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know what you find it”.
The word confidence comes from the Latin word confidere which means to have full trust. Psychologist Albert Bandura, who devoted his life to the science of confidence, created a term related to this confidence and trust called “self-efficacy.” Self-efficacy is your belief that you will succeed and create whatever you intend to in life. Your sense of self-efficacy can play a major role in how you approach goals, tasks, and challenges. When you are confident you have a sense of self-efficacy and your actions align with that. So, then, how do you create self-efficacy?
Dee: For me confidence and self-efficacy came from working Steps 4 and 5 in Alcoholics Anonymous. It was by taking my own inventory and sharing it with a trusted person that I was able to be set free from my fear. I found myself getting more comfortable in my own skin and to finally start loving myself for who and what I am.
Trust and hope and faith comes from reuniting with a Power Greater Than Myself and turning over everything! That includes turning over my thinking and reactions, my business and my family life, my past and my future, my everything. And each day I find more gifts being bestowed upon me without my pursuit. Just by turning it over, having faith, sharing with others, I get to follow my passion.
Bandura found the following four strategies to be the building blocks of self-efficacy.
When you don’t consistently live up to your highest standards or potential and continually shrink back into safety you begin to lose trust in yourself. Mastery experiences are simply past experiences of success and these past experiences give you a sense of confidence. You can begin to cultivate mastery experiences by setting up little wins for yourself and getting incrementally better at something.
Don’t try to take on too much at once or take giant leaps forward. Mastery experiences are all about getting slightly better day by day. If you get 1 percent better at something every day, in one year you will be 365 percent better—that is the essence of creating mastery experiences!
Dee: Just like the AA slogans state, “One day at a time”, “Progress, not perfection”, “Let go, let God”, “No expectations, no disappointments”, I get to experience little wins for myself with my business and with my life.
ACTION STEP: Embrace Uncertainty and Lean into Fear (in Reasonable Doses)
Write down a list of what you need to do in order to follow your passions, then break that list down into small actionable tasks you can complete each day. It’s important to recognize that by embracing a new level of uncertainty and leaning into a healthy level of fear, you are inviting in desired change. Doing small things that feel a little scary will help you on your path to creating mastery experiences and increased self-efficacy.
Dee: Fear is where I spent most of my life before getting to AA and working the steps. I didn’t believe in myself. I did not have a Higher Power. I did not have a toolbox for living. I had no self-worth and definitely no self-love. But slowly as I learned to shed my fear-based living did I find that delving into fear was for my highest good. I could either win or lose, but I would always win for the fact that I tried helped me to grow and taught me life lessons. “Better an oops than a ‘what if’”.
This idea relies upon the fact that if someone else achieves what you want to achieve you can live through them, and you can learn by seeing what they do to achieve their goals. If someone else has done it, so can you! You have to be careful with this one because there is a tendency to compare yourself with these people as well and that will create the opposite effect of confidence—doubt. It is important that whenever you think about the person who is doing what you want to do that you celebrate their successes or find a way to serve their successes. Learning vicariously through someone you look up to is a great way to build confidence.
Dee: So hard to not compare myself with others. Again, I did this throughout most of my life, living in fear and worthlessness. But being a work in progress as a result of AA’s 12 Step Program helps me to stop comparing and accept myself for who and what I am, right now at this very moment. It also helps me to grow strong relationships with those around me, rather than compare. To be of service. Look for the similarities and not the differences. So with that I move forward trudging the road to happy destiny.
ACTION STEP: Find a Mentor and Make a Plan
Find a mentor or teacher who can help you confidently make a plan to follow your passions.
The concept of social persuasion takes vicarious learning one step further. This is getting verbal guidance or inspiration from someone you look up to. Hiring someone like a coach who is encouraging you to become better can be a form of social persuasion. But more than anything YOU are in your head all day long and it’s important to learn how to become your own best coach and learn to persuade yourself in positive ways. To be fully confident you must convince yourself that you have what it takes and also practice giving other people that persuasion.
Dee: Since I started my business, Deesigns by Harris, four years ago, I have studied greatly how to make my business a success. With the internet there is a wealth of coaching and valuable information at our fingertips. “But I don’t want to do the business part, I just want to create”. Well, it’s taken four long years to come to the acceptance that most of my business comes from the administrative part. No admin…no creativity…no fun. So when the student was ready, the master appeared. What I’ve been learning for four years I was ready to apply. It’s a long and slow process, but I feel the baby steps are moving me in the direction I want to be going.
ACTION STEP: Learn How to Flip Your Limiting Beliefs
Think about what you want to achieve, write down all the reasons you believe that you CAN’T achieve it, then write down the opposite of each of those beliefs to create affirmation statements—use these as fuel for your confidence! You are going to have to get very good at managing your own mindset. Life coach and entrepreneur Anthony Robbins is quoted as saying “80 percent of success is due to psychology—mindset, beliefs, and emotions—and only 20 percent is due to strategy—the specific steps needed to accomplish a result.” That is applicable here as well!
Dee: This reminds me of Drop the Rock, a recovery/addiction book aimed at helping to remove character defects (Steps 6 and 7 in AA). At the back of the book is a list of Character Defects/Shortcomings and another list of Program Principles. The pluses and minuses. The pros and cons. How to turn those defects, fears I believe I cannot overcome, into positive beliefs. This works with recovery; this works with business; this works with life! Let’s change our mindsets.
The last concept from Bandura is that your physiology plays a crucial role in your self-efficacy. In order to feel confident, it’s important that you feel good in your physical body. Generally, this comes back to the basics. Make sure each day you are eating well, getting enough sleep, and getting some form of movement. Do the things that feed a healthy body.
Dee: This has been slow to come to me as well. Being the obsessive-compulsive being that I am, I struggle to find moderation. So when I get in the work mode I stay there until I crash. Forget eating, resting or exercise. When I think I am too busy to go to a meeting, I now get up and go. When eating is the last thing I want to do, I do it. The seed has been planted to get up and move for 10 minutes every hour or two (still a seed). And I have joined a gym where I can work out and do Yoga a few times a week. And I get even more and better work done in the end!
ACTION STEP: Practice Meditation and Yoga
Use the strategies above that Bandura suggests to set up your own “confidence gym.” The action steps above will help you get started. Intentionally practice these four strategies day in and day out, just like you would go to the gym to get in physical shape; this is how you can get your confidence “in shape.” Start with the action steps here and then make your own unique list for each category. Today, what can you do to create your own mastery experiences, learn vicariously, be socially persuaded, or care for your physiology as you follow your unique passions?
By intentionally practicing these strategies and taking your own action steps, your challenges will begin to inspire you to grow instead of hold you back. The next time you come face to face with your fear it won’t seem so intimidating and it won’t stop you or detour you on your passion path. What will you do today to build your self-efficacy?
Dee: Just do it! If you’re not happy or don’t like it, then go back to your old ways knowing you tried! What do you have to lose?
For those interested in Inspirational Gifts with a Message, please visit my shop at www.DeesignsByHarris.com. Mahalo and have a great day!
About the Author, Nicolette Stinson
Certified Coach, Yoga Instructor and Perfect Health Instructor
Nicolette is an online personal brand strategist for coaches and wellness professionals. She is also a Certified Coach, Chopra Center Perfect Health Instructor, and Yoga Teacher as well as an avid student of mindfulness, creativity, personal development, and spirituality. Visit www.nicolettestinson.com to learn more.
From the Chopra Center.