by Jenna Kutcher
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I want to talk to you about your biggest, juiciest goals for a sec. When you think of that ONE thing you’d love to accomplish if you had all the time, money, resources, and confidence to do it… what would it be?
Okay, now think of that big dream and run through all the excuses you’ve fed yourself as to why you haven’t started yet. I’ll bet five bucks that “time” is at the top of the list. And it’s a big fat lie.
If you’ve been debating with yourself whether it’s too late to start, or whether you have enough resources, or if something else is holding you back from gripping your dream and finally just going for it — I will help convince you otherwise. Think of this as a warm hug paired with tangible advice to launch into your dream, once and for all.
The “Others First” Objection
Let’s talk about those inner voices that are talking you down from your big dream. I want to face those objections head on with you right now. Have you ever thought to yourself: I need to take care of others first.
Before you think I’m going to pat you on the back for being such an empathetic human — let me have some tough love for you. As women, we are naturally nurturers and caretakers. Seriously, it’s in our DNA and our ancestry supports it. Women naturally tend to be better at taking care of others and creating an environment of support and care. It’s why we make impactful leaders and managers, and why many women are good at balancing so much on their plates.
Obviously, I don’t want to generalize and I know every woman and every person, for that matter, is different. But this is actual science, and it just so happens that women are automatically inclined to put others’ desires and happiness before their own. You might just be nodding your head along in agreement to this if you’re a mama or run your own business or have close relationships and friendships. It almost feels as though we gain more purpose and joy to place others before ourselves, right?
It’s admirable and a badge for us, BUT when it starts to affect how you process emotions or plan your life or take action with your goals, when you become a martyr to putting others before you, that’s when it becomes problematic. It is okay to want to help and take care of others. But it doesn’t have to be, and shouldn’t be, your entire identity. Of course, this will ebb and flow throughout your lifetime.
Life is never going to magically slow down, you’re not suddenly going to find yourself with tons of time on your hands, and a year from now, you will wish you had started. Your family can absolutely be your top priority, AND you can work toward your goals, what a cool thing, right? And more than that, your desires and dreams don’t have to come last in the lineup of priorities. It is not selfish to find fulfillment!
The “I Can’t Be Good at Both” Objection
Maybe you believe that you can’t be a good mom and have a good career. This objection is very similar, and it’s near and dear and a little overwhelming to my heart, if I can be honest with ya.
There’s this belief out there among working mamas, mompreneurs, and stay at home moms alike that we can’t do both the mom thing and the work thing, and do them both well. And I have to say, I’ve seen this belief get in the way of my friends’ careers, of people I look up to in business, and even a bit in my own life here and there.
Especially as a new mom, I can see how easy it would be to give into this notion that you have to pick: Either be an impeccable parent and focus your energy there, or be a wonder-woman businesswoman and keep climbing to the next level of success. How can you possibly do both simultaneously? That’s the question I hear again and again.
If I can continue being honest — this is a big reason why I feared becoming a mom. Of course, I was aching to grow my family and start building a legacy with Drew, but I also didn’t want to sacrifice the momentum and energy and time I was able to pour into my work, which I also adored. That’s just the truth. And I’ll keep it real, my work life TOTALLY has changed since having Conley.
I’ve outsourced more, I’ve cut my hours in half, I’ve said no to a million opportunities, and I’ve rebalanced my priorities. But here’s the big thing: having her hasn’t slowed down my dreaming or my desire to impact others in tremendous ways. In fact, having her implanted an even deeper yearning to do all of that, and MORE, because I want her to know that HER dreams are valid and she’s worthy of pursuing them. HER goals are worth digging into and running after. HER aspirations are worthy and beautiful and amazing.
And the best way I can think of to engrain that belief in her is to show her. To walk with her and guide her through life as I navigate my own — career, family, faith, tragedy, growth, imperfect action and all.
So moms out there with big dreams for your careers: Just know that it’s never going to feel 100% perfect and balanced. There IS no balance when you’re a parent, but striving to be present wherever you are — whether that’s working a few hours a day, being a naptime warrior or an evening dream chaser or when spending time with your kids — When you’re present in what the moment you’re in, it will help you to feel less guilty about wanting to do both. Because you can do both, and your kids could use your example of gracefully showing up for your own dreams as much as you show up for theirs, couldn’t they?
The “Selfish” Objection
Have you ever felt selfish for pursuing the things you love? I know these objections are sort of just piggybacking off of one another, compounding into one blob of all the thoughts we have about starting or chasing our dreams but it’s because they’re so engrained in us as ambitious women that they’re all sort of linked together, right?
If there’s a mission on your heart that you want to go after, it’s there for a reason. You weren’t meant to live a mediocre life, and the desires and goals that come to you aren’t by accident. I truly believe that they’re meant to be there, handpicked to be fulfilled by you and in a way only you can do them. You would be doing the world a disservice if you don’t listen to them and follow through on bringing those ideas to life. And trust me, it’s the least selfish thing in the world to use your gifts, talents, and dreams to help others or offer something meaningful to your community.
And on the other side of that spectrum, it doesn’t make you any less selfish if you become a martyr for your dream. Dreams and goals are meant to be chased joyfully. What I mean by that is, sometimes I see busy women with careers and families launching into a new endeavor and then making their journey seem like they are working themselves into the ground just to bring this endeavor to fruition. Like they’re the only ones with a lot on their plate.
They post about their all nighters, glorify busy and share that they spend 80+ hours a week working. Let me tell you, there is nothing praiseworthy, or glamorous for that matter, about working yourself straight into the ground for your goal.
Yes, you’ll need to find new ways to prioritize, and yes you might be taking on more responsibility than before, but selling out to the busyness addiction in our culture is no way to chase your goals, especially if you began by wanting to genuinely help others, share your passions, and make an impact.
So while it’s totally and completely unselfish to prioritize your dreams, don’t mix that up with becoming consumed by the need to become a martyr for your dreams. Go after what you want with confidence, realize it IS going to take work — and really damn hard work sometimes — but also know that nobody great gets anywhere alone.
It’s humble of you to ask for help, not selfish. It’s gracious of you to practice self care, not selfish. It’s practical of you to get enough sleep and take care of your body, not selfish. It’s a positive example and important for you to go after your goals, not selfish. So start believing it, sister.
The “I Don’t Know Where to Start” Objection
Another area I see people getting stuck is when they’re already on this really clear path — they have an established career or audience or routine — and they aren’t sure how to pivot to incorporate their new goal. They don’t know how or what it would look like, and they aren’t sure if pivoting would be a smart move for where they’re currently at in their business or life or family. It’s just this feeling of stuckness, of how do I even begin to get started?
What I say to that is — just start. Anywhere. Literally. Just START. And then keep going. BREADCRUMBS. Because it will never go anywhere if you won’t take the first step. And if you’ve already taken the first step one, two, three, or more times and failed to continue on the path, that is OKAY.
I see it happen all the time — it’s like we carry this shame that because we’ve started and failed, or started and quit, or started and got distracted — that we don’t deserve that goal anymore. Like we shouldn’t even try because it hasn’t worked out before. But, um, do you think Oprah was saying that after she got fired from her reporting job? She very well COULD have, but the difference is, she pushed beyond that fear and her lack of knowing how and just did the damn thing.
I know it’s so much easier said than done to just start. But I am telling you — and begging you to understand — that nothing will be perfect. You WILL mess up. You will have to make changes as you go. You won’t know how to do A LOT OF THINGS. But you will figure it out.
My advice? Start with 30 minutes a day doing something that moves you toward your goal. Maybe it’s emailing 5 people who can provide insight or support. Maybe it’s setting up tours to find office or retail space for your brick and mortar business idea. Maybe it’s reading a book about launching whatever type of business you want to launch. Just do something, big or small, to learn, grow, and move toward your goal each day. You can start anywhere — but just start and then keep on keeping on, day after day, baby step after baby step.
The “Others Will Judge Me” Objection
Maybe your fear in starting lies in the view of others. Ouch, we’ve all been here, afraid to take action, speak up, or follow our hearts because we think we’ll be judged or talked about negatively. And guess what? That might just happen. But please hear me well — nobody can please everybody. You will never be judged by someone who’s doing more than you.
You won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, and that is more than okay. The people who you are meant to attract to your tribe and bring with you on your journey — THEY won’t be the ones judging or tearing you down. They’ll be cheering you on and lifting you up and encouraging you to keep going. And they’re also the only voices that matter when you’re pursuing your dreams.
Of course, you’ll hear some criticism and constructive feedback that you’ll want to listen to in order to become better. In fact, I really respect and appreciate when people come to me with constructive feedback in an attempt to help me become more aware or informed. That is totally different, though, than people belittling or ripping you down because you’re going for what matters to you. You are welcome and encouraged to totally shut those voices out, no matter if they’re close family members or friends or strangers on the internet.
You’re allowed to have boundaries and pursue your dreams with a supportive backing, and if someone in your life is clearly being negative or unsupportive, then I say they’re not really in the relationship to benefit you, anyway. Self-serving, one-sided relationships become veryyy clear when we begin stepping into our purpose and achieving mighty goals. Let those naysayers and haters fall away, and keep on your path with the confidence that you are doing what’s right for you… and you’re the only one who can determine that at the end of the day.
The “Someone else is already doing it” Objection
So you’ve powered through the limiting mindset of feeling selfish, you finally believe that pursuing your dreams isn’t selfish, but worthy, and you’re able to block out the noise from the judging spectators on the sidelines of your dreams. But then you hit the final brick wall — Someone else has already started. Actually, someone else has already done exactly what you want to do and so, what’s the point?
The point here is that if someone else is already doing it, I guarantee they’re not doing it the way you can do it. They won’t have your experience, your reason for starting, your approach or drive. There is space for you to carve out your dream. That is, IF you can begin to think with an abundance mindset instead of scarcity.
I have spoken about abundance versus scarcity on this show endlessly it feels like, because it is something I believe in so deeply. And it’s a key mindset shift that I know will open doors for you where there were only windows, or even just brick walls before. A scarcity mindset will keep you stuck with your shoes nailed to the ground, shrugging off your dream because someone else already did it, so it’s probably too late for you to start, right?
But with an abundance mindset, you have the true anchoring belief that there is always MORE than enough. There is enough space, money, recognition, joy, and opportunity for you to launch your dream all while cheering on those who have launched their dreams before you. As opposed to “scarcity”, clinging tight to the abundance mindset allows you to worry less, genuinely cheer others on, and actually attract the things you want in an organic, natural way.
The Big Picture
I hope you feel encouraged and ready to just start with baby steps, where it feels natural and productive and healthy to start. It looks different for everyone. But the one underlying theme is a persistent belief that your dreams are worth it. They’re worth the bad days and the bad moods, the setbacks and the hardships. They’re worth the incredible mountains you’ll need to climb and mindset shifts you’ll need to make. They’re worth focusing on you a little more in order to set a wonderful example of resilience for your loved ones.
Your dreams are worth your time and your effort and your dedication to continue showing up. Because at the end of the day, that’s what creates legacy. That’s what will make you proud one day, when you’re crinkly and old, of the life well lived that you built and sustained and got every ounce of joy out of that you possibly could. Doesn’t that sound just simply wonderful? You are worth it, friend, so start going for it today. Right now.