03/31/2015 09:23 EDT | Updated 05/31/2015 05:59 EDT

5 Things Stopping You From Pursuing Your Dreams

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Dreams, dreams, dreams. We all have them. As we're beavering away in our office jobs, caught up in the rush of the day-to-day, it's easy to ignore that voice in the back of our minds. That dream we have, that one thing we would absolutely love to do. That thought, "Wouldn't it be great if...?"

Working as a certified life coach, I've been fortunate enough to witness people's dreams come to fruition and it's one of the most gratifying feelings in the world. On a personal level, last year I watched two of my friends retire at 40 to go travel the world on their mountain bikes. And in my own life, I decided to immigrate to a country where I knew nobody. Five years later I made the leap and left a stable career in public relations to start a coaching practice and help others pursue their dreams. Fairly risky endeavours, you might think.

So why is it that some of us take the leap and others keep wishing? It's not a magic trick and it's not a personality trait only gifted to a fortunate few. The good news is, we can all do it.

Here are some of the things that often get in the way -- see them as tips towards making your dreams a reality.

1. Fear

Fear is one of the reasons why we don't go after what we really want in life. And it can be the small, everyday things that prevent us from moving forward in the long-term, whether it's giving a career-boosting presentation at work, approaching the guy/girl of our dreams or attending an important networking event on our own. It can be fear of different things -- fear of failure, fear of rejection, or even fear of success. But no matter what you're afraid of, here's the bottom line. Fear is a survival mechanism designed to keep us safe. So next time you feel those nerves kicking in ask yourself, "Am I in real danger right now?" Chances are, unless you're trying to outrun a mountain lion, you're probably okay. So go for it!

2. Lack of Resources

"I would love to but I can't, I don't have the time/money/expertise to do it." Now don't get me wrong, you may have a legitimate barrier that stands between you and what you want. But the question is, are you finding a solution to the problem or are you using it as an excuse for not pursuing it? Research your dream job, ideal home or perfect vacation -- maybe it doesn't take as much as you think. Then create a plan and make it happen. Which brings us to our next point.

3. No Goal or Action Plan

Think about that one thing you have always dreamed of and ask yourself this, "Do I have a goal or a wish?" If you're saying, "I wish I could quit my day job and bake cupcakes all day," you have a wish. On the other hand, perhaps you are writing your business plan for opening your own bakery while ferreting away 10 per cent of your corporate salary and simultaneously working towards your goal of quitting your job by March 2016 before launching your business the following month. This is a solid goal with action steps and measurable results. See the difference?

4. Potential Objections

This is a big one for many of us. It's basically the modern-day version of "What will the neighbours say?" Translation -- it's when we are afraid of doing what we really want because other people might object to it, not understand, or just be a full-on Debbie Downer. Here's the deal. Does it matter? If you're concerned about the reaction of your friends and family, then yes you may need to address those concerns. These people are your support network and they will encourage you when things get tough when you're making a big change. But that girl from accounting who gives everyone a side-eye, does it matter what she says? It shouldn't.

5. Your Upper Limit Problem

Gay Hendricks, author of The Big Leap, has a theory -- we all have an 'Upper Limit Problem.' Hendricks theorizes that we have an inner thermostat that sets how much happiness, success and love we think we deserve. His theory is that when we move beyond this self-imposed limit, we do something to sabotage ourselves (think, picking a fight with your spouse after that big promotion) to bring ourselves back down to that old and familiar level. This is a tricky one to unravel and you might need a coach or a counsellor for this. But as they always say, admitting to the problem is part of the solution.

What else is holding you back for really going for it and pursuing your dreams? Is there anything we should add to this list? Let me know in the comments section below.


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