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Where Are You Headed?

By Linda Sapadin, Ph.D

To make your life more vibrant, shift your focus away from what you can’t do to what you can do.

“But I have no idea what I can do or even what I want to do,” bemoaned Tatiana.

“None at all?” I inquired.

“Well, I have a few things I’d like to do, but nothing I can pour my heart and soul into.”

“Like what?” I prodded.

“Well, I like fashion. And I like art. But I have no real talent in any area. So, what could I do?”

“What are you doing to develop any talent you may have,” I asked.

“I told you I don’t have any talent.” Tatiana was getting a bit annoyed with me.

Rather than backing off, I pushed her a bit further. “Okay, so you’re not a natural talent. But how would you know how much you can learn, if you aren’t putting time into developing your skills?”

“But there’s nothing that I could do!”

Tatiana’s stubborn body language was loud and clear. She was telling me to back off. So I did. For now. But, that didn’t stop me from thinking about how many others are so fearful of not measuring up, that they do nothing to develop their interests, enhance their careers or improve their lives.

So, if you fit into that genre, here’s what to do to move ahead:

  1. Quit comparing yourself to the best. You’re a beginner. Let yourself be one. Take a beginning course in your field of interest, or read a “Dummy” book, or talk to someone who is, or was, working in the field who might give you a new perspective.
  2. Be kind to yourself. Don’t ridicule your heart’s desire. Don’t belittle yourself. Sure, you can laugh good-naturedly at your naiveté, but no derogatory name-calling, please.
  3. Persist in pursuing your interest. As long as you’re involved in your area of interest, you’re increasing your skill level. Sitting on the sidelines, thinking about you want to do but doing nothing, will get you nowhere.
  4. Tolerate feelings of inadequacy. Yes, there will be times when you will feel unequal to the task. Think of this as a “down day,” not a life position.
  5. Notice how your interest develops. Do not strive to make your interest fit in the box you originally thought it belonged. Maybe you believed an interest in fashion meant you should be a clothes designer. Now, you notice that you’re moving toward being a personal shopper. Appreciate your new direction! Rather than fight it, celebrate it!
  6. Don’t let other people’s judgments steer you away from what you believe is right for you. Yes, others may offer their opinions. And you may evaluate these options. Useful or not? You decide. Just make sure you’re keeping your focus on the right road.
  7. Take heart, late bloomers. Perhaps you’ve been too busy raising a family or working at a ho-hum job. Maybe your interests have withered; your talents have wilted. But, don’t let anybody convince you it’s too late. Now is the time to marshal those talents you’ve been sitting on all these years. It’s time to shift your focus away from what you can’t do to what you can do. Take a risk. Do something crazy that others will say, “WHAT???” Go ahead. Stop thinking about it. Do it!

Want to lead a more enriched life? Begin by changing the way you think. Then, change what you do. Then, rejoice in watching yourself grow. Now, get going!!!

Copyright © 2017: Linda Sapadin, Ph.D
Linda Sapadin is a psychologist and personal coach in private practice who specializes in helping people enrich their lives, enhance their relationships and overcome self-defeating patterns of behavior. For more information about her work, contact her by email or visit her website at PsychWisdom.
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