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The Importance of Pressing Pause

We live in a culture that tells us we have to do more, be more, and never ever give up. If you have a dream, fight for it, work for it, and you will get there. That’s all good. I’m not here to contradict any of this. But I feel there is something that this culture is not considering.

What if somewhere along the road of fighting for your dreams, you realize they are not your dreams anymore? That the direction where you’re headed does not suit you anymore? Or maybe you realize you need a break?

Does that make you a failure? Does that mean you give up on what you worked for? Some might say that. Some might even say that you are actually failing. But underneath the “I want a different direction, I need a break,” you are actually saying “I don’t think I can do this”.

Letting go does not mean failing!

If no one told you yet, I will: to let go of something that no longer serves you, does not mean you fail! As humans we grow constantly, we learn new things, whether willingly or not. And with that growth, we change our ideas, our paths, and our dreams. What may have been your greatest dream a year ago might be the complete opposite of what you want and who you are today.

I’ve been there. I started a blog with a vision in mind. As time went by that vision changed, and so did my website and the content there. What came instead was the time to focus on other things that had been on my mind for a while, like design. That had not been a part of my business before because I had never really focused my attention on it. I had tried it here and there but without much success. The moment I let go of the part of my business that no longer served me, I started getting more clients for design.

Maybe you are not a business owner. Maybe you have a stable job and feel crazy for wanting to leave it since it pays well. But you just despise every single day there. If you let that go, what opportunities can arise?

Extend this to anything in life: relationships, places, hobbies. When you let go of what is no longer in alignment, you make space for better things to come in your life. You grow. You DO NOT FAIL!

Find a path and explore it, but don’t get stuck there

One thing I’ve learned from changing my business niche a few times is how important it is to explore everything the path you’re on had to offer. Don’t just start the walk and give up after the first few steps. In other words, don’t give up after the first difficulty or the first disappointment, not without exploring all the possibilities.

But at the same time, don’t allow yourself to get stuck, to get comfortable there. Sure, the comfort zone is great and I believe we should all allow ourselves to spend time there. If you constantly take yourself out of your comfort zone, you risk getting burnt out eventually.

So find a path, explore it and get comfortable for a while. If it works and you never want to leave that niche, that’s great. Keep growing, becoming better, and learning new things that in turn helps you become even better.

But be careful to not get yourself into a mindset where you are stuck in that comfort zone. A place from which you can’t get out anymore. The time and emotions and maybe even money you’ve invested have not been lost. And if you have to move on and get on another path, what you invested on your previous path will help you build something bigger and better.

Pressing pause

In business, work and many other aspects of life, you will be frowned upon when you say you need to take a break. How can you want to take a break when you are successful and all is going well? There’s probably some truth to this question.

The fact that you need to press pause can be a sign that something is not going as it should. Maybe you are on the verge of realizing that what you’re doing is no longer serving you. Or maybe you just need to realize why you started in the first place. Get away for a bit, just enough to realize you miss the old path you were on, but not long enough to lose what you have built.

Taking a break is essential. That’s why we have paid vacations. We need to recharge. But when we’re talking about something you built, whether that’s a business, a hobby or a relationship, things can get a bit blurry. The point is it should not matter why you need to press pause. You need it. So do it.

Let yourself take the time you need and see what happens. No judgment. Just like with meditation, it is important to observe how you feel and let the feelings come. If you end up feeling that pressing pause was actually a way to stop and move on, so be it. And if you realize you still love what you did, go back to it, more passionate and recharged then before.

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