Finding Courage to Follow Your Dreams
By Anne-Sophie Reinhardt
Finding courage to follow your dreams. I always knew I was going to be a doctor — a neonatal surgeon, in fact. I knew I was going to spend my life rescuing little babies and working on medical breakthroughs. Not that I wanted to — not at all.
My dream life looked completely different and it certainly didn’t involve working in a hospital. Yet, I wanted to make my daddy, a general physician, proud. I wanted to show him that I had what it took to succeed. So, off I went to the US to study nursing. And I was miserable. Fortunately, I hit the breaks after a short few months and I corrected my life’s course.
Most people don’t. Most people will spend their lives chasing somebody else’s dream, somebody else’s goals. They get the degree their teachers wanted them to get. They work their way up the career ladder their parents wanted them to climb. They settle, because that’s what everybody else does. That’s why many of us end up feeling frustrated and trapped in life, work or our relationships; destined to soon look back at life feeling like we’ve missed it all.
But that’s not what you want, right?
So, instead of continuing to walk down a road that you don’t want to travel, stop, take a breath and do some deep soul-searching and maybe even some course-correcting. Sit down and make a list of what it is you want. Where do you want to go? Who do you want to be? What are your dreams and hopes, aspirations and goals? Silence the shoulds and buts, the restrictions and noise of family and friends, and instead listen to yourself.
Dig deep and really get a grasp of the fears you have around the concept of not living a life that others want you to live. What happens if you go a different route? What’s the worst-case scenario? Does your fear really hold true? As cheesy as it sounds, the truth is that life is short and too precious to be wasted on other people’s dreams. Your path might be different than most; more difficult, easier or less linear. It doesn’t matter, as long as you stay true to who you are.
I turned out to be a writer; certainly a different path than a neonatal surgeon. But you know what? My dad is more proud of me than I could have ever wished for, which goes to show: You just never know where the unconventional path might take you.