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What Is Stopping You From Pursuing Your Passion?

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by David Garland in David's Blog

No big article or video. Just a simple question for you:

What is stopping you from pursuing your passion and/or something that excites you that you want to pursue?

And if you ARE pursuing your passion/exciting/meaningful work, what advice would you give to those that are a bit stuck?

(Side note: This is why I do what I do and core mission of The Rise To The Top. I want more people to wake up every day and pinch themselves because they are so freakin’ excited about what they do for a living and life in general).

  1. LynetteRadio says:

    I can answer this one – the need to be perfect every time cripples me from ‘shipping’ anything. I’m not happy with ‘good enough’ and fear (**FEAR**) that I will be seen as not valuable.

    1. David Siteman Garland says:

      Very good one. I might touch on this in an upcoming episode. I have an idea 🙂

      1. Ivan Bickett says:

        LYNETTE! I’ve been there! I LIVED there for most of my life. My friend Justin Lukasavige (also a friend of David’s) over at has some great advice that REALLY hit home with me.

        Don’t ruin good with perfect.

        You can spend the REST OF YOUR LIFE trying to be perfect. And do you want to know the honest truth? You won’t get there. It will NEVER be perfect.

        But I’m willing to bet what you have to present to the world RIGHT NOW is good enough to help a lot of folks out there that NEED what you have to offer!

  2. Luke Ryan says:

    In a word – MONEY.  I really like what I do full-time working in TV and making good money but it takes a good chuck of money socked away to make the leap without freaking out.  I’m making moves to get things in place for that day but gotta build up the emergency funds now

    1. David Siteman Garland says:

      Luke – Very fair point. Want me to address it in an upcoming episode?

      1. Luke Ryan says:

        absolutely – maybe a case study of like 3-5 professionals who took the leap and their 3 months leading up to it and after it – that would be really helpful – cheers!

        1. David Siteman Garland says:

          I’m working on a big ass passion episode 🙂

          1. Luke Ryan says:

            well you better interview Sir Mix-A-Lot then

    2. Jeremy White says:

      I don’t think you will ever have enough money to feel completely comfortable starting something new. If you had that much, there’d be no point in starting something new! The risk is what makes it fun!

      I know what you mean though, because you definitely need to have a survival plan for those first few years of the startup. That is where I am at right now, living on noodles and working 100 hr weeks. I quit my accounting job, and the very nice salary, to launch my new brand and it is definitely scary but it is worth it!

      My advice is to save some money, come up with a steady side income, even if it’s small, then just dive in because the best time to do something is now!

      1. Luke Ryan says:

        Thanks Jeremy!  Great advice.

  3. I’m already pursuing my passion.

    For those that feel overwhelmed or that they are spinning their tires through mud trying to press forward, you will get there. 

    If you’re as determined on day 365 as you were on day 1, you will get there. 

    If you’re passion still exists, you will get there. 

    Stop looking at where you should be 5, 10, 20 years from now. Look where you want to be tomorrow or the weekend. 

    Don’t overwhelm yourself with the BIG picture. Don’t ignore it either. 

    Focus on the core of this passion that made you jump into it in the first place. That’s the carrot on the end of the stick. Reach for it. 

    1. David Siteman Garland says:

      Well said, Matt.

  4. Adarsh Menon says:

    I would say that in addition to passion, you also need the drive and determination to get you through that first 1-2 years where you may not be making any significant money. This is where most people drop out of the race and go back to doing what they don’t love for the money, rather than following their dream.

    If you can persevere and get to the level where you’re doing what you love AND are getting paid for it, then life becomes a beach (which seems to be where David is right now, hence the giddy, schoolgirl attitude we’ve been seeing from him lately…)

    1. David Siteman Garland says:

      Absolutely, I totally agree. It isn’t just about passion/excitement. It is also about action, drive, overcoming stuff and what not.

      Haha, I’m always a work in progress Adarsh 🙂

  5. For me it’s been lack of clarity in my vision and not knowing what exactly it is that I’m passionate about. Other things: current financial obligations, perfectionism and fear of failure. I’m working on it 🙂 . Any thoughts?

    1. David Siteman Garland says:

      Let me ponder this. I’m working on a big passion episode of the show over the next few weeks to discuss things like this 🙂

      1. Looking forward to David!

      2. L J says:

        is there a link to the show, specifically this episode?

    2. Eric Boyd says:

      In the same boat here. I want my life’s direction to be on my terms; but cannot seem to discover my true passion and thus I feel stuck in a pointless J-O-B that my 9 yr. old could do, at a company I have no confidence in, and feel forced into it due to a need to provide for the family.

      Any advice for Sepehr and I from someone(s) who’s been there, and was able to overcome?

      1. Sheila Viers says:

        “The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.” -Jessica Hische

        I recently read this quote and I think there’s a lot of truth in it.
        What if your work could be somehow tied to the things you daydream
        about, the things you research and learn about because you want to, not
        because you have to. Sometimes the answer isn’t obvious right now, but
        if you think about it a bit to really figure out what you are passionate
        about, and become clear about that, then an idea or circumstance will come
        to you that will allow it to all come together when you least expect it.

        1. “The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.” -Jessica HischeLove this quote, very true. Thanks Sheila!

  6. Danielle says:

    I have a fear that if I actually realize all my goals…I still won’t be happy. It’s much easier to live in the fantasy and when I take the steps to pursue my passions and live my dream life, I get scared that if I achieve everything, I will still be unfulfilled. It’s such a scary thought to me that I get crippled!

    1. David Siteman Garland says:

      Wow, Danielle. Such an awesome comment. And that IS definitely something that can be crippling. I think one piece of advice I heard is focus on process and at the end, heck you can start all over and try something else 🙂

      1. Agreed! Need to learn to live in the moment more. Today’s interview with Steve Chou was helpful when he said the exciting part is the business itself, even you aren’t 100% passionate about the product/service, and I’m thinking about that comment going forward. Great topic, I love reading the comments.

        1. Jeremy White says:

          I’ve realized as I accomplish 1 goal, 4 more seem to pop up! Anyone who owns a business can agree that there is always more that can be done, or be improved on, and I don’t think it’d be possible to ever reach all of my goals! I believe the key to happiness in life is actively pursuing your goals though; that seems to be what makes me that happiest.

  7. Don’t wait for the details. Just start.

    1. David Siteman Garland says:

      Details later on, eh?

  8. Ivan Bickett says:

    David, GREAT question. I LOVE IT!

    Here’s my two cents.

    I’ve allowed TONS of things to stop me from pursuing my dream of self employment. To name a few:

    -Strive for perfection.
    -Fear of failure.
    -Money (or the perceived lack there of if I start my own business)
    -Fear of letting my wife and son down
    -Fear of being ridiculed by my friends who just want to be “good” employees and don’t understand my drive for employments.

    I’m not “there” yet, but I am now PROACTIVELY TAKING STEPS to make my dream of self employment become a reality (check out if you have the urge). That being the case, I would still like to offer two pieces of advice, if I may.

    First, don’t wait until you start falling apart to go after you dreams. I’ve stayed in jobs I’ve HATED and that have caused TONS of medical issues for me b/c I hate my job (s) so bad (hopefully they’re just short term med problems, but we’ll see). I call the place in life I’ve been “comfortable discomfort”. I know I was in the wrong place, but I stayed b/c my fear of change was greater than the perceived consequences of not changing. STUPID. Don’t stay where you know you shouldn’t.

    Second, and if you only listen to ONE THING I have to say, PLEASE make it THIS.


    That’s it. If you know you need to make a change in your life, big, small, indifferent sized, DO SOMETHING about it. Take a single small step TODAY.

    Want to start a business? Go get a free blog from wordpress.
    Want to get out of debt? Cut up just a single credit card and don’t use THAT card again.
    Want more friends? Start smiling, even when you don’t want to.

    Small steps, added up over time, lead to BIG results.



    1. David Siteman Garland says:

      GREAT points, Ivan. Especially the small steps. That is where a lot of folks get hung up.

  9. Alawaji Ahmed says:

    Hi there,

    One of the main obstacles I face in my country (Saudi Aabia) is the lack of support from both government and private sector. I have never seen writers and blogers consider exploring other environments and cultures.

    1. David Siteman Garland says:

      Ah interesting.

  10. Justin King says:

    “Too many passions” and “will it really matter?”. I discussed this with a business man that earns $750 million a year and he said it is the same thing with him. He said he too has many passions, but chooses the one that has the potential to earn the most money. This approach allows him to explore the other passions.

    1. David Siteman Garland says:

      Interesting, and I’ve seen that go both ways. People explore all of them (multi-passionate as Marie Forleo likes to say) or just one (singular focus).

  11. Kevin Miller says:

    Beautiful question brother. You know I’m living my passions. So my advice? Whatever you fear probably WILL happen. And it won’t be near as big of a deal as you think. Just go do what you’re supposed to do anyway.

    1. David Siteman Garland says:

      Hah, face it and do it anyway.

  12. Kevin Evans says:

    1. Striking a balance between solving a genuine *need* & doing work that’s meaningful for myself.  (I’ve got hung up on the BIG picture many times or I schizophrenically tried many things, but just spun my wheels)

    2. Clearly Stating what my options are (focusing on the *problem* of passion never helps me)

    3. Eliminating options and picking *one* focus (easier said than done)

    4. Defining “the next step” to take to get going (GTD style)

    1. David Siteman Garland says:

      A good 4, Kev.

  13. Sheila Viers says:

    In 2008, within 6 months of each other, my husband and I both took a leap by negotiating ourselves out of nicely paid positions within (the same) corporation because honestly we were both bored out of our minds. We then proceeded to sell our cutesy starter home, sell the majority of our things, move in with fam for 6 months, and then move across the country from MI to CA… WHILE starting a business. So… one might call us risk takers.

    We faced many obstacles but you know what, like Kevin mentioned in the comments, most of the things that seemed like a really big, scary deal… were not really that big of a deal when they actually happened. I could go on and on with a list of things that worked out far better than we could have ever “planned” them to.

    Fast forward 3 years and we now have a successful business selling high-end fitness and yoga bags (husband works full-time with a different company still though).

    The biggest lesson that I’ve learned as an entrepreneur so far on this adventure is that although having mentors and/or a team of experts to fall back on is
    fantastic, ultimately you’ve got to make the final decision on what’s
    right for you and YOUR business. If you’re going to be a successful business owner, CEO, etc you’ve got to learn how to tap into your intuition.

    If you are interested, you can check out the full article here:

    (I just recently stumbled upon RISE and really love the community here. You guys ROCK!)

  14. Debbie Saviano says:

    Hi David,
    Last night I could not fall asleep even though it was already after 1:00 AM
    Why? Because I get so pumped about what I am doing right now.
    To sum it up, living the Life I Dreamed of and the one I KNEW I was meant to do.
    Following My Passion!
    I call this my 2nd Chapter in my Life and it is SO Invigorating!
    My advice is to do what I did.
    1. Make a List of 5 Things that EXCITE You. Do NOT think just Write!
    2. From that 5 ask yourself what could I do within EACH of the 5 items listed. (Sell Information, How To, a Product, etc.)
    3. Start going to Websites to see what is out there.
    I actually started with The Rise to the Top and from there I was introduced to so many great sources who I have since learned even more. (Lewis Howe, Elizibeth Marshall, Derek Halpern just to name a few.
    4. BELIEVE in yourself and as you gain information and insight from all your New Teachers things will start falling into place.
    I do believe that when we put our Dreams out into the Universe, then information, doors, gateways, etc. start to OPEN.
    WE just have to be ready to Listen.
    My little contribution. :)….have an awesome day to all!

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  16. Tessa says:

     My husband and I have spent 6 years waiting for our online business just to get to ‘the next point’ so that we can do what we would call ‘our dreams’, and the reason we started the online business in the first place…….one thing I discovered is that their will always be a ‘next point’. So we are now on a countdown til we sell up, pack a single suitcase each and dive in head first to the unknown! I am excited and the whole time frame has put us into overdrive with getting other small ‘money makers’ up and running. So I guess my lessons or advice for others:1. If you have a strong enough desire for your dream you will reach a point where you snap and no comfort or excuses will stop you any longer.2. Money lost can be replaced, time lost can never be replaced.3. Start to sign up to sites such as this one, they will be your motivation as most other people (in your normal day to day) will not understand or will leave you in the ‘comfort zone’ for much longer!

    Lets see how I feel in 13 weeks!

    1. David Siteman Garland says:

      Perhaps the waiting is part of the problem…great to see how you are making things happen!

  17. Michael Van Osch says:

    Hi David – yes, pursuing my passion – which is to help other men pursue theirs by becoming successful entrepreneurs through 

    My tip is: Don’t ask for permission, just step up and claim your place. That’s how I was lucky enough to go from marketing vp to professional actor to now marketing mentor helping other men get where they want to go.Great site by the way!  Cheers, Michael

  18. Julie53180 says:

    What do you do if you don’t have a passion for anything? How do you find out what that is when you are interested in very little? I ask this a lot and people ask me to see a therapist. Its truly how I feel though, and i don’t know how to suddenly get excited or passionate about something.

    1. Kevin Miller says:

      You’ve gotta do the hard work of going out and finding it. It won’t find you. Have some experiences, some adventures. Get out of your comfort zone. Change your steps. 100 different pithy statements, but you’re best off to just DO some things. Different things. And…get others involved who can help you see yourself. We can only see ourselves on dimensionally. Most folks go it alone and there just isn’t much discovery possibility in that.

    2. David Siteman Garland says:

       I’m with Kevin on this one for sure.

      You can’t sit there and wonder about it.

      And if you truly don’t have a passion for anything (which I don’t believe) my blunt answer is to go out and become more interesting and pick up a new hobby/skill 🙂

  19. Amy says:

    David,,? I know what my passion is, I’ve known since I was 6 years old when I saw my very first play then I knew Thats what I want to do..I think about when I wake up and when I go to sleep. I am so very passionate about it. I just turned 20 and in my first year in college though it was never what I planned on doing. I did get quite a few opportunities to be in plays but I want to do more I want to make it my life. But my mother has this image painted in her head that in order for me to be an actress I need a degree first,and yes maybe that is a better way but I honestly feel so down knowing I have to school instead pursuing my dream. I just need motivation, advice.

  20. Luis says:

    Great post. Fulfilling your dreams only depends on hard work and you abilities ro see through opportunities. Here is some more info on the subject if anyone is interested: common mistakes when pursuing your dreams

  21. I am chasing my dreams and I don’t think anything is stopping me but I am confident enough to tackle those obstacles. There are lots of factors which stops solopreneurs for an example procrastination.

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