4 Ways to Combat Doubt and Achieve Your Dreams
Words by Catherine Lanser
I have never flown a kite. I love the way their tails flop and sail through the air without a care. But when it comes to actually flying one, it seems too hard. I just don’t think I’d ever get mine up in the air.
If you’ve ever flown a kite, you may think I’m crazy. How could anyone not know how to fly a kite? But what about the kite of your dreams? We all have things we’d love to do, but that are too overwhelming. They sit on the ground like a kite that can’t fly.
Why Dreaming and Doing is So Hard
It has been said that doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will. Doubts keep us grounded, holding us down, like anchors to the kites of dreams. But when I first came upon this quote, I had no idea how true it was for me.
I found those words scrawled on a board outside a karate studio near the coffee shop I would escape to during work. I had always loved my work, but a few years into my job, I just felt so empty. I found myself escaping the office more and more, just to get out of an environment that felt suffocating. But when I thought about looking for a new job, I talked myself out of it. It was a good job. I had a lot of responsibility. I wouldn’t be able to find a job this good anywhere else.
But seeing that quote that day, I began to wonder if it was doubt that was keeping me from making a move. Though I liked what I did in theory, I found that the day-to-day work wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. After all, I shouldn’t have to escape the office to make it through the day.
I needed to face my doubt head on. If I didn’t I was letting my fear of failure win. I had to at least try to look for a new job that would be a better fit. I had to fail before I could give up.
Turning Doubts into Dreams
What is your metaphorical kite? What is the thing you wish you could do, but don’t, not because you’ve failed, but because doubt has kept you from your dream? Here are four ways to combat your doubts and move toward your dreams:
1. Learn what you don’t know.
Fear can be loud and bossy. Once you set your mind on your dream fear might tell you that you don’t have what it takes to do what you want to do. Don’t bother arguing with fear. Instead, take a few steps toward your dream. Learn more about your dream or the first steps you need to take.
If you want to fly a kite, the first step is to buy a kite. But there may be a lot of other small steps you need to take before you do that, such as finding out where to buy kites and finding out how much kites cost. Research can be a first step that will quiet the voice inside that tells you that you don’t know what you are doing.
For me, my first step was updating my resume. I looked at all I accomplished in my current position and looked back at what I had done in previous positions. This helped me to think about what I wanted to focus on in my next position. When I thought about it, I realized what I really wanted to do was work more from home and focus on a smaller skill set.
2. Look for opportunities.
Once you know what you want to do and a little bit about how to do it, start to think about the opportunities that are available to help you achieve your dream. Have the mindset that the world is that ready to provide you with the all chances you need to bring you closer to your dream. If you take a chance and it doesn’t pan out, you don’t have to get discouraged that it’s your last chance. All you have to do is to be ready for your next chance, and the next.
Don’t give up too soon. You can’t fly a kite by throwing it up in the air inside your apartment. You need to find a park and you need to have the right wind. Dreams take time, persistence, and sometimes the right conditions.
For my job search, that meant sending out my resume for jobs I never got interviews for and going on interviews where I didn’t get offered a job. Assuming that there is only one chance to make your dream come true will limit your options, make you want to quit, and can keep your dream from becoming a reality.
3. Get comfortable with adventure.
When you think about making changes toward your dream, you might start seeing your old routine as comforting. But don’t take boredom for comfort. Making changes can seem risky, but sometimes change can be just the adventure we need. It is easier to sit and watch others fly their kite, but usually more fun to fly our own if that’s our dream.
Trying to find my new position meant I had to leave something very familiar and jump into the unknown. I would go from working in an office with others to working alone at home. It was scary to think about and I thought about not doing it, but that was doubt speaking. Taking a risk can lead to failure, but if you never try you’ll always fail.
4. Get help when you need it.
Sometimes when we have a dream, we are afraid to talk about it. We may think that saying it out loud will make others think poorly of us for having a dream. Or that if we talk about our dream, someone will come and snatch it away. But talking about your dream gives it air. We may find others who know more about flying kites than we do and who can help us.
It is important to share our dreams with supportive people who will lift our dreams up and not tear them down. When I was looking for another position, I found support from my closest friends and family since I determined that I wanted to find a new position outside my company. But if I wanted to move within my company, I may have chosen a trusted mentor there to help me reposition myself.
In the end, I was able to make the switch to a new job and a new type of position where I am much happier. I hope these tips will help you launch your dream and sail your kite too. Build your kite and be where others are flying theirs. When the wind comes, or even if you need to make your own, you’ll be ready. As for me, I’m going to go and try to fly a real kite one of these days.
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About the Author:
Catherine Lanser is a writer from Madison, Wis. who has lived in the Midwest her whole life. She writes blogs, essays, and narrative nonfiction about her life there and growing up as the baby of a family of nine. Catherine is looking for a home for her first full-length memoir about how she reevaluates her brain tumor - and definition as the sick one - after her dad’s stroke. Sometimes our brain changes and we must follow.