There’s no shame in having ever-evolving goals in life — we need to stop beating ourselves up for dreaming big.
I’ve been in a place of confliction for some time now.
I run a social media marketing business fulltime. But I’ve also been pursuing my career as a creative writer this year, which has been my dream career since I was a kid.
Recently, I’ve been taking deliberate steps to further my creative writing career.
I finished my debut novel, and sent queries to literary agents to see what could come of that. I’ve been writing on platforms like this one, crafting multiple personal essays a day, and supplementing a large portion of my income through this vehicle.
And yet, despite all of this growth and success, I find myself dealing with a substantial amount of shame and guilt.
While writing this article, I’m processing a conversation I had over coffee with a friend of mine that really opened my eyes to where all of this confliction is coming from.
I’m finally ready to let go of all of this shame and guilt.
It’s no longer serving me, and all it’s doing is holding me back.
And I’m here to give you permission to let it go as well, and move forward towards exactly what you want.
It’s time to stop sabotaging ourselves.
3 years ago, I started a social media marketing company straight out of school.
I thought there was no better time than now to give it a try, and if it failed, well, at least I would know.
My business succeeded fairly early on.
My dream back then was to make a full-time income off of my own company, and also have time to do some creative writing on the side.
I was also hoping that by that point I would own a house, and have all the freedom and flexibility I could ever want.
Fast forward to today, and that’s exactly where I’m at. I am beyond grateful for the life I have now.
But, lo and behold, I feel guilty for the fact that I’ve arrived and seen my goal through.
Because now that I’m here, and it’s three years later, my dream has shifted somewhat.
All of a sudden, I’m no longer satisfied with this being as good as it gets.
And because of these conflicting feelings of guilt and shame and beating myself up for being ungrateful for what I have, I’ve been holding myself back from pursuing my newer, bigger more brilliant goals.
Too many people are in this exact same spot. It’s time for us to get ourselves out.
We’re not the same people we were back then.
Years ago, when we made those goals to begin with, we were different people.
A lot of change can happen to a person in just a few years. That’s only natural.
But in recent months, I’ve been experiencing an overwhelming amount guilt for feeling restless and unsatisfied with this being the extent of where my career goes.
Since writing on this platform, and supplementing a decent chunk of my income from the earnings I make here, my dream for my career in the years to come has shifted from what it looked like 3 years ago.
Back when I didn’t even know that something like this existed, or that I can make a full-time income (possibly) from writing personal essays online.
And now that I’m doing it, I don’t want to stop.
And on top of that, my passion for social media has been dwindling more and more as the years go on.
My passion for creative writing, on the other hand, is on fire.
But still, I haven’t been giving myself permission to dream big.
I haven’t been giving myself permission to actually imagine making a fulltime income from my own creative writing and dropping my social media clients and my business.
Every time I think of doing that, I smack myself on the wrist.
I make myself feel ashamed for even thinking that to begin with.
Goals are meant to grow and change with us.
The biggest realization from my coffee date with S is that goals are not meant to be stagnant.
Just as we grow and change, our goals are supposed to do the exact same thing.
And actually, the way a goal is truly supposed to work is that by the time we actually achieve it, we already have a new one that’s developed and is waiting up ahead for us to begin pursuing.
Goals are not meant to exist in a solid, solitary way. They’re not meant to stand as singular structures, and they do not expect for us to reach them and then fall into complete inactivity.
The point of a goal is not to work towards it and then, once we reach it, remain in the exact same spot.
The point of a goal is the journey — it’s the path that we take to continue moving forward on to the next thing, which then opens more possibility and opportunity to continue further down a path, much farther than we ever imagined we could go before.
But without achieving that original goal, the rest of that path is not within our eyesight.
Until we reach our goal, our original goal, it’s not possible for us to see what else we could achieve and what else is waiting for us.
If only we gave ourselves the permission to dream as big as possible and go as far as our dreams could take us.
The nature of goals is that they are meant to be ever-changing.
And we need to stop shaming ourselves for letting that natural process happen.
Despite the fact that I identify as a confident, successful, powerful woman, I am absolutely guilty of sabotaging myself.
I’m painfully skilled at this, and have subconsciously made it an everyday practice in my life.
But that changes today. Mark my damn words.
Because I’m f*cking done with being the thing that’s holding me back from being the best version of myself.
I have so much further to go than this.
I am only 26-years-old. I have a whole damn life ahead of me.
The world has yet to see anything close to what I can achieve.
I have yet to see anything close to what I can achieve. And I need to give myself the space, and permission, to get there.
S gave me a really powerful visual that I will leave you with:
From my words, she was picturing a tree.
A tree growing and thriving and blossoming flowers.
But there was a cage encasing that tree.
And as it continued to grow, and the branches continued to stretch, they were only ever met with a chain-link cage.
We are the tree. But we are also the cage.
We’re meant to grow and thrive, but we’re holding ourselves back from doing so.
We need to be done being our own worst enemy. If we don’t believe in ourselves, then there’s no chance we’re going to get to where we want to be.
So I’m removing that fence today. I’m letting my branches stretch out and grow. I’m ready to see just exactly what I can become.
And I’m done feeling guilty for it.
I’m letting go of my shame, and I’m embracing the possibilities of what I can do.
And that all starts today.