Here recently, I was taking a rest from my usual daily grind and reading a bit of nonsensical celebrity gossip (don’t judge, it’s not a regular thing for me! Haha!) when I ran across an interview that caught my eye….a young lady (with a fairly public job) was asked what the worst advice she ever got was, to which she replied “follow your heart”.
Wow. THAT is the worst advice ever? Follow your heart? I could’ve sworn that this is what you’re “supposed” to do! Follow your heart, chase your dreams, do what you love and the money will follow, all that stuff! And this is bad advice?
Then I gave it another thought. And I can admit that in a way, I could see why that was said. Sometimes when you take a chance, it doesn’t happen. Sometimes everything falls apart. And you can find yourself hurt, heartbroken, defeated, and all-around mad at the world…and also might feel like punching the next airy-fairy new-age-hippie positive person in the face who tells you to “follow your heart” and “it’ll all work out”. Right in the middle of the face. Hard.
At that point, I almost had to laugh at the idea. Counter-intuitively funny, the prospect of clocking the person who’s trying to help you. Ha. Take that, you New-Age know-it-all!!
Yeah, we’ve all been told to follow said hearts. Repeatedly. All well and good, but….is it really going to work? That’s what we want to know, right? Will this advice of yours actually work? And everyone ultimately tells you to go after what your heart professes to want, don’t they? So is it really smart to throw caution to the wind and jump in and just follow that heart no matter what that heart might be saying, just because popular positively-positive opinion seems to say so? And What is going to happen if you do? No, what is really going to happen if you do?
There are a lot of grandiose promises out there, a lot of tales people share of taking a chance on something unknown and unproven, breaking away from a normal life, an normal job, an everyday anything. And so many have stories to tell that show them as the ultimate victor, a testimonial to the power of taking a chance for love.
But is it really that easy? And is it the ultimate answer? What could possibly go wrong? It seems to be that when you decide to take that gamble it will always work out as long as you’re true to your heart….according to some, that is!
Well….as far as I’m concerned, if you just asked point-blank for a one-word answer to the question, “should I just follow my heart?”, my answer would be a resounding “yes”.
But here’s the thing: absolutely yes, follow your heart. But I’m also saying that it probably won’t be easy. Following your heart is not for the Faint of Heart.
Folks, whatever it is that you’re planning, dreaming about, wanting to do, keep going after it. Start making some plans and take it seriously. (Let me help you if you don’t know what the plans might be, too!) But just be aware that it isn’t always going to be easy. It’s going to be scary sometimes. And challenging. And you’ll more than likely want to chuck it all and go back to something you know, something familiar, something safe.
It’s going to get difficult to stay with it. It all just might break your heart. All of it. Leave you devastated and humbled. Miserable, maybe even. Are you ready for that? It might flop big time, it might not turn out at all how you expected, it just might (and I say it again) break your heart. But is it worth it?
Going into something new with expectations is normal. Everyone does it. We all have a vision of a job, a business, a relationship, a training program, anything we might be doing–and how we expect the results to be. It’s great to have vision. It’s great to have goals and dreams. It’s amazing and inspiring to see yourself in five years as the you that you are dreaming about being right now.
But here’s another thing: have the vision…..but don’t attach to the outcome. I know that sounds weird. Sure, see what you want in your mind…. but don’t worry if you don’t get it the exactly way you see it, or exactly when you think it should happen.
So then, you might say, what’s the point in even envisioning it at all?
There is a point. Your heart knows what it wants. Trust in it. But it also knows something else–it knows not only what you want but also what is right for you. And the two can work together quite well!
Here’s what I mean: when you trust in what your heart is telling you, it’ll send you on the journey that is and has always been inside of you and just waiting to happen. And there will be surprises along the way–but if you continue to go with it rather than fight it, the chances are really good that it’ll get you to where it is that you both want and need to be, regardless of what the challenges or the detours seem to be. And what’s more, you might experience something that you never even imagined yet along the way when those roadblocks and reroutes show up.
But in order to do that, it is important not only to keep a hold of your vision but also to allow the changes a turns that come up along the way–in other words, keep the vision but don’t worry too much about how the vision shows up down here in the “real” world.
If you don’t let go of a particular iron-clad vision of the way you believe things “ought to be”, things can seem to be going “wrong”. This isn’t what I ordered. I don’t like where this is taking me. My launch flopped. My JV partner let me down. I failed the class. We broke up. None of this would’ve happened had I just stayed smart and never “followed my heart”. Worst.Advice.Ever.
We don’t want you to end up at that unhappy place, folks! And even if you feel like your stuck there at times, you don’t have to stay. Really, sincerely, “follow your heart” couldn’t be better advice. I kid you not. It’s just that when you follow that heart, just remember these things:
-Be prepared for anything, or even if you don’t feel prepared, just try not to hang on to anything for too long, anything that seems like a “setback”. Pay attention to bumps in the road. They always have good information….(and might not really be a “setback at all!).
-If you completely flop–that is, if what you imagined doesn’t happen at all or the result is that you wind up hurt, brokenhearted, and defeated, well, it is NOTHING to be ashamed of! Nothing at all! Honestly, it doesn’t mean you “failed”. It means that you took a chance, you tried, and now it’s time to learn something–something for the HIGHEST good in your life. It means that you’ll be that much more ready for the next endeavor. And may I say again that it means that you took a chance and TRIED–and people, you’re light-years ahead of the person who is stuck in a life of misery and complaint and who is doing nothing to change it.
–Please, don’t stay in cynical-land for too long when something goes awry with your plans. Really. Get mad, be mad, work it out, of course–this is a necessary step. I’m not getting all Pollyanna on you and telling you that everything will “just work out” so be happy about flopping. Not at all. Be mad if you need to be. But when you are able, get yourself to the place inside you that really knows what’s going on and why–and ask what the true purpose of it all was. And what it wants you to to next.
-And in the end, don’t stay too mad either at yourself or those who are trying to help you. The truth is that it is always worth it to take a chance and give something a try. Whether or not it is going to “work out” in the end is not for us to know, necessarily. Nobody–not the greatest coaches and mentors in the world, and not even you–can know exactly how anything will turn out until it is tried. (And honestly, that can be seen as part of the fun of something new!)
Folks, I can’t think of a more important thing to do than to follow your heart. It’s just that it isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do. If it was, everyone would do it. (And the world just might be happier for it in the end, but….) No, it isn’t always effortless and fun. It doesn’t always happen the way we think it should. And that, friends, is completely normal. And completely OK. It means you’re doing something right. And that you’ve got the right stuff to go on.
It isn’t easy. But that’s what makes it great. And that’s what we’re here for, after all, greatness….right?
So how about you? Did you ever go off and “follow your heart” only to have it flop? Did you ever want to punch someone in the face when they gave you that advice? Or did you have a moment where you realized that taking that advice was the only way to go, even though it was a colossal pain at times? I wanna hear all about it!