“I shall be telling this with a sighSomewhere ages and ages hence:Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,I took the one less traveled by,And that has made all the difference.”
When you take the road less traveled, you are bound to run into some rough patches, heavy underbrush and get some bumps and bruises. That doesn't mean that it isn't worth the effort. Following your dreams is tough work and falling a few times is just how you learn. Along the way, you will experience some amazing views, soaring heights and you are bound to meet fellow travelers like yourself. You aren't alone out there, even though it may seem like it at times. It is called “the road less traveled”, not the “none shall pass (unless you bring us a shrubbery) road never traveled”. Many before you have followed their dreams and made success happen for them, on their own terms.
Here is some collected wisdom from fellow travelers on how to keep your focus while pursuing your dreams:
- Leave room for growth – You don't have to have it all figured out right now. If you get lost along the way or take a detour, try to learn something before you catch up with the trail again. Sometimes taking a detour can lead you to find out some amazing things about yourself and your life. If you feel like you have lost you way, don't worry, because these are the times when you learn the most about what is important and grow. If you don't have room to get lost and grow, you might as well be in a cage.
- Embrace fear – Fear is what lets you know that you are still alive and still being challenged. If you are playing it safe, you won't be scared but you will miss out on the elation that comes when you accomplish your goals. And if you aren't growing, then you aren't doing something that matters. Use the fear to fuel your creativity. It is when we are terrified and afraid to lose that we can open up and be authentic, real and vulnerable. These are powerful emotions and they can fuel some of the most honest, authentic work we are capable of.
- Ask for advice – Look for others who are farther along on the path and ask them for their advice. Cultivate friendships and be open to learning from them. Do whatever it takes to get the chance to meet with them and find out where they have had pitfalls. Most of the time, if they feel that you are genuine, they will want to help. The important part is to stop and introduce yourself and listen with an open mind and heart.
- Anticipate the speed bumps – Plan ahead and build resources that can help you through the speed bumps along the way. There will always be another mountain, so after relishing the victory of climbing the first one, start planning and building to get over the next one.
- Get in touch with yourself – When you are on the road less traveled, there will be times when the path isn't as clear as you would like. When you aren't certain where to go from here. Take the time to get in touch with yourself and ask “what's next?”. Meditation, exercise and any sort of time that you can be quiet with yourself will help you hear the soft whisper telling you where you need to go. It is only at times when I think that I have completely lost my way that I find out that where I want to be is just around the next curve. Trust yourself and the journey.
- Stop doing things that don't help you along the way – This one is hard. You have to look at your life and assess the things you are doing that don't matter and don't help you get where you want to go. Self destructive behaviors can be difficult to spot, but we all have them. Ask yourself what it is that takes up a great deal of your time and isn't helping you get where you want to go. Take a look at your schedule and start deleting the things that don't matter and don't add value to your life.
The path isn't always clear, it isn't safe and it isn't free from risk. The thing is, doing it your own way, on your own terms and letting go of things that don't make sense for you, can bring more joy and success into your life than you could ever imagine. And after you have been on your path a little while, you won't even be able to remember what it was like to not do it your way.
Good luck and happy travels!
Have you spent any amount of time following your own path? I would love to hear your thoughts.
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By Melissa Kennedy- Melissa is a 9 year blog veteran and a freelance writer, along with helping others find the job of their dreams, she enjoys computer geekery, raising a teenager, supporting her local library, writing about herself in the third person and working on her next novel.