There is a feeling of frustration women feel trying to figure out what they are passionate about. You want to find that one thing that makes you jump out of bed with excitement every morning. That one thing that keeps you eternally motivated to work long hours. That one thing called ‘purpose’.
This is something many women struggle with. We read self-development books. We listen to Tony Robbins and Oprah. We attend talent analysis sessions. We mediate. We go for long yoga retreats. We dedicate a lot of time and effort to discover what would make us more fulfilled in our work.
Unfortunately it’s not enough to discover what you are passionate about and what you enjoy doing. You also need to say out loud how ambitious are you. You need to be ready to define what your success dream looks like?
Want your own limousine with a driver? Want to be financially independent? Do you see yourself as a successful business owner? A celebrity? Living in a big house? Speaking at TED conference? Known as the expert in your industry? What ever it is, it’s important to visualise it.
Here’s my story.
I’ve always eagerly read all ‘How I Did It’ stories by women entrepreneurs and ripped out those pages from magazines. I never thought I had a role model, but all these years I’ve looked up to women who have build remarkable, branded consumer businesses. Marcia Kilgore (Bliss Spa, FitFlop), Chrissie Rucker (The White Company), Sarah Blakely (Spanx) .. and the list goes on.
I always had this desire inside of me, I just wasn’t brave enough to admit it. I had been building my career for external validation, but not for my own success dream. I used to filter my choices through the eyes of others because I wasn’t ready to look carefully enough to discover what I really wanted for myself.
Saying out loud what you want is like a turbo engine to your goals. It’s important to know what you are passionate about and what your core talents are to start working on something you actually care for. But unless you are able to imagine what success looks like for you there is a risk you will not be moving forwards. And when you know your level of ambition, you can pick any of your interest areas to focus on, and build something really successful.
Sounds simple. Well, it isn’t. Figuring out your talents and values is much easier than saying out loud what you want.
Because with announcing your dreams comes a risk. What if you don’t make it?
What made our ‘aha’ moment to start DrivenWoman so powerful was that two components came together: a full understanding of what we were passionate about and clear articulation of our ‘success dreams’. Simply discovering what we were passionate about wouldn’t have been enough. Admitting what we actually wanted in terms of success was the catalyst for unstoppable motivation to make things happen.
Saying out loud what you want your success to look like is the scariest thing you can ever do. Why?
It makes you extremely vulnerable. By exposing our dreams we take the risk of being ridiculed and criticised by others. What if we don’t make it? And what if our dream sounds silly to others?
This is the biggest obstacle that holds women back. We are scared to expose our dreams!
You want to be validated. You want to belong. You want to conform. You don’t want to hurt other people’s feelings. (Yes, having big dreams often hurts those who strive for nothing.) You want your husband to agree with you. You don’t want people to think you have lost your mind.
But if you will expose your dreams, they will.
There will be people who will say you can’t do it. People who don’t think you have deserved to be successful. And there will be people who will think your idea is crazy. And people who will judge you for dreaming so big. The fact is, there will always be people who will disagree with what ever it is you say you want.
It’s the shame that stops you in your tracks. You know it’s well possible you won’t reach your goal. But the devastating thing is the fact you choose to feel the shame before even trying!
Every woman has the answer inside of them. Deep down we know what we want but we are too ashamed to say it out loud.
No yoga retreat or talent analysis is going to deliver the answers. We must find the courage to look inside and find what it is we are looking for. It’s ok to be ambitious! Once you articulate your success dream you will be surprised how much easier it is to start prioritising your work. Which one of your talents is most likely to get you there?
Understanding what you love doing is great, but it’s not enough. It’s more important to understand what success looks like as there will be many alternative routes to get there!