Is Your Means To An End Mentality Keeping You In Dream Purgatory?

Means to an end. I loathe those words – they make me feel stuck. And that is, by far, my least favorite feeling. My father used to preach “means to an end” and it drove me crazy.

I’d rather find ways to fall in love with process. I’d rather find little things that make the journey pleasant because, if I’m honest, I don’t want it if it’s all strictly blood, sweat, and tears.

So often we start out full steam ahead and fizzle out slowly (sometimes not so slowly). If you’re like me, it’s frustrating. When you’re just not “there” it can be difficult to be honest about it. People think you’re lazy or complacent; you constantly mumble to yourself about being such a dumbass. Excuses, write-offs, unrealized dreams, and pink slips ensue.

But why? Where does the complacency and self shit talking come from?

It doesn’t matter if you’re pursuing your soul passions or biding time at a stepping stone. It doesn’t matter how in love you are with the end game. If you can’t fall in love with every bit of the process, you’re just going through motions until eventually you’re motionless.

I fell out of love with the process.

I like writing… I don’t love it. What I love is sharing my love with as many people as possible. What I love is rallying others toward passionate pursuits. What I love is inspiring people to be their most awesome, authentic selves.

Once upon a time I was in love with the process. When it was all new to me I could churn out content in rapid succession. I was all about keeping up with blogging and marketing trends to extend Live Hard Love Hard’s reach even further. I may have been far from the bloggers I admire, but the feedback was good and the content helped at least a few people.

Somehow, at some point, this became a means to an end. It’s a nice hobby, but what are you going to DO? Fear and self-doubt disguised as practicality. Yay.

I was stuck.

I found other things to do so I “never had the time”. Readership fell with the intermittent posting and, in turn,  the feedback. Everyone says it shouldn’t be about the feedback,  but it can be so nourishing when you’re growing and trying to get dreams off the ground. I whined. A lot. I threw my hands up in harumph. I gave my fearful projections breathing room and they just grew to fill the space.

So then what happens? Awareness means little without action.

Three not so little things are helping me to revive my dream.
  1. Clarify. Rediscover your end game and get very honest with yourself. Maybe,  just,  maybe you didn’t want it as much as you thought you did. Perhaps when you got what you wanted, it turned out to not be what you wanted after all. Things never quite clicked or that certain sense of ease everyone goes on about never set in. If it’s making you miserable, if it’s not where your heart is at, if you truly can’t find anything that makes it worth the hustle, then it’s not throwing in the towel, it’s closing up shop. There’s no shame in changing your mind. If you still get butterflies when you daydream about it then it’s time to play with your plan.
  2. Revise. Your plan needs some shaking up. The what if game gets a bad rap,  but used correctly it can be a powerful brainstorming tool. What if you tweaked this? What if you took that out entirely? What if you outsourced the things you couldn’t make peace with? What if you could make completing the most tedious tasks more like a game? How does the process look after you play with some things? Write it down, sketch it out, do whatever you need to do to get your plan on some paper, the computer, or hell even your wall.
  3. Do. Your game plan means nil if you won’t get off your ass to put it in motion. Now it’s time to begin… or start again. You can only plan so much before it becomes counterproductive. It seems we spend a lot of time waiting for the “right time”, but often we never really quite feel ready. Don’t spend your days waiting in dream purgatory. Begin with the smallest, easiest, or most desirable task.

Now you’re in the thick of it again. Take stock of things – How do you feel going through your to-dos? Is your plan moving you in the right direction? Are you moving at all? Is this still what gives you butterflies?

Wash, rinse, and repeat.

All of the best motivational seminars and self-help books won’t get you anywhere if you aren’t honest with yourself about what you do and don’t want AND about what you are and aren’t willing to do.
Please share with me what you do when you’re feeling stuck.
Love Always,
Me
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