Meet Daniel, who holds a full-time job at an IT Company as a Senior Development Engineer. Though he earns a paycheck which pays for a decent living, his heart does not seem content. He feels a part of him wishes he could chase his dream of running a yummy dessert food outlet chain.
Though he has the plan to start this own venture of his from years, he has never been able to do so. In fact, he has never taken a step beyond the idea of starting his own dessert chain. In his mind, he has given on the hope of being able to dare take the risk of chasing his dream.
Do you fear chasing your dreams?
Does the story of Daniel seem like your story? If so, welcome to the gang of millions who are tied within the straitjacket of their 9-5 jobs. As much as you would like to break free from this straitjacket, the strong grip of bills to pay and commitments to take care of preventing you from breaking free.
But take another look at it. Do you believe the problem behind chasing your dream is your commitments? Or is it your inner fear?
Well, the quote “Fear has killed more dreams than failure” summarizes the situation well. Our fear of losing a stable income holds us back from taking the risk.
What if my business fails and I end up losing money? What if my business does not make a profit and I cannot find another job? What if I try and fail, and my next job does not pay me as well? What if I am not able to live the current lifestyle?
Fear, fear, fear. All these questions have fear screaming out loud. All these questions are valid and scary to think about. But have you even given a thought about what if you succeed?
What if you can live the life of your dreams? What if your daily job does not seem like work but feels like your romance? What if you could make way more than what you earn right now following your dream?
But unfortunately, the questions on fear come to your mind more often than the answers to success. Such fear has been studied by psychologists and is called Loss Aversion.
In simple words, loss aversion states that the pain of loss is greater than the joy of gain.
Let’s get back to Daniel and find out his reasons for not chasing his dream.
Daniel’s reasons for not following his dream
I had the opportunity to talk to Daniel to ask him why doesn’t he follow his dream. In a long discussion which ensued, he summarized 3 reasons.
Fear of Missing Out
I asked Daniel what was his biggest fear of starting a venture. Daniel said “It’s like moving to a new city. I worry I may not get accustomed to the new things. I am scared of losing the current benefits and lifestyle I have. My paycheck is important to me. If my paycheck does not come in this month, I do not have the money to pay my bills and the installments for my house and car mortgage.”
Daniel enjoys a deep comfort in his so-called unsatisfied job. While a part of him wants to enjoy more luxurious living, the other part does not want to lose what he currently enjoys either. He wants more but not at the risk of losing some of what he has.
Fear of not being good enough
I asked Daniel, why is he not willing to take a risk? Since the Food industry is an evergreen market, I asked him why does he hesitate to start? He replied “I am not sure if my menu and desserts will be good enough. I know my family, relatives, neighbors, and friends like the desserts I prepare over the weekends. I do get orders from friends sometimes too, but I do not know if they will sell in the market.”
As much as Daniel was passionate about preparing desserts, he fears his skills are not good enough. The thought of his customers hating the desserts haunts him more than the thought of his customers loving the ice creams. Even if his desserts work, he is worried he will not be able to manage the other parts of the business such as billing, budgets, inventory, employees and so on.
Daniel thinks the successful businessmen possessed amazing entrepreneur skills when they started. He thinks he is not capable and not cut for it.
Fear of lost effort and money
Since the answer was around loss, I asked Daniel, why doesn’t he start on a small scale without investing a huge lump sum? Daniel answered “Well, if I start small, it may or may not succeed. I will need to put in a lot of effort. All the time and energy will go down the drain if I fail. Even if the invested money is small, I can instead invest it on safe bonds or mutual funds which will provide me guaranteed returns.”
Daniel was not willing to put in effort without a guarantee of success. His desire to see his effort turn into tangible results quickly prevents him from even taking the first step. He wants to make sure his effort and money pay off a big return without willing to bear the risk of a loss.
How can Daniel overcome his fear?
Do you have the same fear as Daniel? Do you wish you could get over them and follow your dreams with courage? Here is what Daniel can do to get started.
Overcoming the fear of missing out
Your fear is your mind playing games with you. If you haven’t realized, your mind keeps bothering you with what could go wrong. Your mind is replaying the same fear in different ways.
Your fear of losing your current comfort is replayed as fear of your business not making enough income, fear of not finding a job or finding one that pays a lower salary. The same fear manifests itself in various ways and makes one fear of yours seem like 10 different problems.
Identify the deep-rooted fear. It can be the fear of losing comfort, the fear of people talking about you, the fear of losing respect and so on. Once you identify your fear, level set your expectations and prepare for contingencies.
Whatever your fear is, try to think about what could do to avoid the pain of the fear.
For example, if you are worried about losing the investment and having no money left, start saving some more. Cut down on your expenses. Do not buy that fancy watch. Reduce dining out in fancy restaurants. Stop splurging on expensive cars. You have to ask yourself if the satisfaction of achieving your dream is more important to you in the long run or these materialistic things whose glow fades away in a few weeks.
Donald Trump has said “Every time I have to make a difficult decision, I ask myself what is the worst possible consequence? If I can handle it, I go ahead with it.”
Your worst consequences are not as bad as they seem. Think about it.
Overcoming the fear of not being good enough
The internet has filled the wrong notion in your head saying all successful entrepreneurs are born with an extraordinary talent. The successful people started off like you and me. They had the desire to succeed, the patience to put in hard work and the courage to take a few calculated risks.
Most billionaires you know started their business without knowing everything. Sam Walton started with a small store which he had no idea would turn into Walmart. Sylvester Stallone had no acting or writing experience before he wrote and starred in the Rocky movies.
Behind every famous success story is an unknown story of sacrifice, effort, and learning. No one started as an expert. Each one of them honed their skill over time. Just like you cannot learn swimming without being willing to get your feet wet, you cannot master a skill without being willing to challenge yourself to learn.
You do not have to be good to start but to be good, you have to start. Believe in your efforts and you will turn out an expert in your field over time.
Fear of lost effort and money
Just like you only win the chips you bet on a poker table, you cannot expect to gain some without taking a risk. You can make a calculated risk no doubt. But if you are sitting on a poker table expecting chips to fall onto your lap without putting any chips in, you will end up waiting forever.
Ask yourself if losing the portion of your savings makes you homeless? I guess not. Will the 2 hours of effort spent every day cause you to lose your job? I doubt it.
Over the long term, those savings may not even matter to you and the time you spent on your venture would be far more valuable than the time spent on binge-watching Netflix, browsing social media news feeds and reading irrelevant text messages.
Think of ideas of chasing your dream alongside your full time job until it generates some revenue. Save a portion every month which you consider a reasonable amount for your venture, which is neither losing it all nor trying to save it all safely. Also, the chances of your business failing completely are not as high as you think if you prepare well enough with the research.
Set aside a few hours a day based on your schedule and set SMART Goals to follow your dream. They are very effective to keep your goals on track with continuous progress.
If you have trouble making more time in the day follow these tips to save time. Saving time requires some conscious thought and effort.
You can start today without losing it all. You do not have to quit your job today but you can take the first baby step today.
If you are not chasing your dream like Daniel, it is because of the fear within you. In all likelihood, you do not fear your business failing as much as you fear losing your current comfort.
Even if your business fails, you can always get back to where you were. It shouldn’t be as difficult as you think to get a similar job in the worst case you fail. In fact, your experience in your venture would teach you a cartload of lessons and fill you to the brim with valuable experience that you will become a more desirable employee even if you fail.
After another 20 years, you will not remember the comfort you enjoyed today. You will, however, remember in the future that, at this point today, you had the opportunity of following your dream, but you did not. The most common regret on the deathbed is not having the courage to live the life one wanted.
There is no doubt that you can prevent your future regret today. The question is, will you?
Disclaimer: Daniel is not a real person but an aggregation of various people who have never tried to chase their dream.