What to do when you follow your heart but start to doubt yourself?

Career Choice

When you follow your heart, you are going against the stream. Because majority of the people that you know have long since learnt to numb the voice in their hearts- due to childhood conditioning or due to their belief that they could never earn a living doing what they love. And you become the minority of the people on earth that does what you know inside you that feels right.

Sometimes you feel that you have hit a brick wall and you want to give up because everyone’s telling you “no, you shouldn’t do that” and when you initially face one roadblock after the next, you start to seriously doubt yourself. “Maybe they’re right,” you say and went back living the life that you have once loathed.

But at this point, instead of feeling resentful, you need to know one thing- your family and friends love you, but they may not share your dreams and unconventional life direction. Don’t get upset with them.

Exactly 10 years ago I left my first corporate job and somehow, through a series of circumstances ended up in a remote place in Thailand. After a year, I came back and took a paycut as a personal assistant so that I have the mental energy to work on my blogs while having a job that help pays the bills.

During that time, most corporate ‘friends’ seemed to disappear in the woodwork. Then there are those who meant well who asked me to go back to the corporate world and earn my living, save for that retirement nest and have enough to spend. I know my family and my friends meant well- and they see that I am selling myself short for not earning a living capitalizing on the skills that I’ve acquired throughout the years.

At that stage of my life, I knew I am moving at the right direction. I may not be successful at the corporate ladder- but I have energy and time to do the things that I love and help others. My mind seemed to get clearer and clearer as I research into areas of healing, in which I publish in my Health Blog. I am following my heart’s voice to move towards healing… a nudging so strong and consistent over the years that I left my job for it. And now, with a non stressful job that pays my bills, I use my extra time to learn more about healing.

It felt right. But you are still against the stream and while you are moving against the strong current, you may feel overwhelmed or as if you might be drowning. There will be many people would tell you to give it up and take the ‘safer route’. Sometimes the current gets to strong and when you are about to be washed down….. you need a motivational boost.

Note: After about a year of going for the paycut job, I did change my mind and went back to the corporate world. Reason is because I find that it is challenging to try to make a full time living as a blogger. The second reason is because the way I was treated by these agents who had the mentality that ‘my salary is paid by them so that they can treat me how they wanted’. I told myself since I am unable to avoid such situation, I might as well get scolded by VPs and GMs but at least my pay was at few times higher.

So, follow your heart?

I discovered a great book written by Andrew Matthews call “Follow Your Heart”

The book is a great booster- I almost finished reading the book at a single sitting. What he said make so much of sense- put in a simple language with illustrations. And because I am a visual learner, meaning I learn most effectively when I see pictures- the cartoons that he drew in his writings helped the lessons to sink in. Some notable lessons:

1. A lot of people are afraid of doing what they love because they worry that they will earn less and hence not able to support themselves. But the thing they may not realize is that by doing what they love, they get by happily with less. They need not resort to owning ‘toys’ to numb the pain of being in the life that they do not want

2. If you follow your heart and are true to yourself, as well as changing your attitudes and outlook of the world, things around you will change- your health, your marriage, money, luck, success

3. Most of us tend to have our own ‘sob story’ and make our own rules. We wear it around like a medal- and get angry at people for breaking their own rules. These are the things that continue to drag us down and make us unhappy. It’s really simple- just disbelief the sob stories and don’t set any rules- and we’re well on our way to happiness.

4. For those who have the courage to jump straight into the unknown and uncertainty- like quitting a secured job- it’s often as simple as asking oneself- ‘What’s the worst that could happen if I were to do it?’. They answered the questions, feel the fear and do it anyway. Life is never the same- it’s meaningful and no longer mediocre.

The lessons and the boost that I’ve gotten from the author is worth much more than the value of the book that I piad for. He does not psychoanalyse like what a lot of authors of thick self help books today are doing. He just put forward simple facts with examples and illustrations that are practical and works if the reader is willing to put it to use.

I am already applying a number of the lessons that he wrote about in my life- and they worked. But it is interesting to see some facts being placed at a refreshing perspective that makes me think, ‘hey, why I have not thought about that before?’.

So the next time you feel uncertain or simply down in the dumps, buy positive books like those written by Andrew Matthews.


Note: This book is the Bahasa Malaysia version, translated by a local well-known author, Adibah Amin. I bough the English one, though.

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