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About finding courage and following my heart (and why you should do so too)

You cannot imagine how free I feel today. During the last months I was reflecting about my life a lot. I was unsatisfied. Deep in my heart I knew there is more I want to achieve and experience in life and cannot sit in an office forever. I struggled with a lot of fears and figuring out what I really wanted to do in my life.

A few days ago, I quit my job. Not because I didn’t like to work there but because I want to finally follow my heart and pursue my dreams. I will work there until the end of July and then leave Germany not knowing for how long.

Because I really had to fight with a lot of fears and felt lost some days, I want to share my story with you in order to maybe help you too in finding your purpose in life and finding the courage to act accordingly.

About finding courage and following my heart

I noticed that there were certain stages I experienced during the whole process. I think these are the stages everyone has to go through while finding her/his own way.

1. There is something missing in my life.

After my seven months in Australia, I moved back to my hometown and thought I was ready to settle down. I rented an apartment, got a “grown-up job” with nice collegues and had a normal routine. The first months were alright as it felt really good to be among my friends and family again and have a bit of quiet.

I have to add that I really travelled a lot during my time in Australia and didn’t stay longer than one week (that was already the exception) in one place during the last three months. I simply rushed through the east coast in about 6 weeks. I now know that it probably was a big fault and I should have taken it more slowly. I was exhausted from travelling and needed a break. An important thing I had to learn after that trip.

Anyway, this rushing is probably the reason I felt like I was ready to settle down and I really enjoyed the first months at home. But the days came I felt that something was missing in my life. I didn’t feel 100% satisfied with my routine and only being able to travel and making new experiences for two to three weeks a year. During the last years I spent months in Spain, Argentina, England and Australia and this was the first time in years I spent more time of a year in Germany than anywhere else.

2. Realisation.

I felt a kind of vacuum in my heart as I wasn’t able to experience and learn from the things the world has to offer. Sometimes I read other travel blogs with tears in my eyes when I realised I cannot continue to live like that. I had to change something. I wanted to learn and grow, see the world and do something that really helps other people.

About finding courage and following my heart

In 2013 I spent all my 24 days off abroad except two days for Christmas. I felt that I was different somewhere else, I was able to satisfy my curiosity of other cultures, food, people, sites, history and so much more. Travelling wasn’t a vacation for me anymore, it was far more.

Travelling is a neverending process of learning and growth.

You try new things, you leave your comfort zone on a regular basis and learn from strangers. I realised it was the way I want to learn and improve myself in consideration of skills but also of personal abilities and characteristics.

Travelling changed my perspective of looking at life, other cultures and happiness. These 24 days weren’t enough to satisfy my itchy feet. I felt like there is a whole world waiting for me. There is so much more to learn, so many more adventures to experience. I sat down and created my personal bucket list to see what I wanted to achieve in my life. Looking at my bucket list made me realise that my dreams simply aren’t able to be fulfilled while having a normal 9-5 job.

About finding courage and following my heart

3. Finding options.

I needed to find a plan to be able to live my life to the fullest and do the things that are on my bucket list. For me, memories and experiences lead to more quality of life and are much more valuable than material goods or money.

I read a lot of blogs to find out how other people were able to travel the world for years and found a great community happy to help and more people of my “tribe”. I found people who quit their job, work seasonal jobs or as digital nomads to finance their travels. I haven’t heard of digial nomadism before but I really got caught by the idea of deciding yourself where you want to work and what you want to do. It was the time I firstly came across the term of lifestyle business.

About finding courage and following my heart

I also liked the idea of teaching English to children or adults, volunteer in Asia or Africa, work in a hostel, hotel or on a cruise ship for a while, having a job in a national park lodge or supporting local projects. I want to make a difference in this world and do not simply want to live one day after the other. And for me the world provides a lot of options and opportunities to achieve that goal.

4. Decision.

I talked to my family and friends about my thoughts and spend a lot of time considering what to do. I made a decision that will probably change my life a lot. I decided to quit my job and follow my heart. It was quite a dreadful process as it is never easy to quit a secure job for what people may call a huge risk.

About finding courage and following my heart

I’ve never been a person who finds it easy to risk something. There was a lot of fear involved. What if I fail? What might other people think of me? What if it doesn’t make me happy? What if I’m lonely? What if I do not make any money?
But on the other hand I had the other what ifs: What if I find the thing that makes me happy? What if I am successful? What if I learn new things which I enjoy a lot? What if I can really help other people? What if I could find my purpose?

About finding courage and following my heart

As a famous quote of John O’Callaghan says:

The what-ifs and should have’s will eat your brain.

And that’s what probably would have happened if I didn’t have made the decision to give it a try. I was able to overcome my fears or at least to live with them and do it anyway. If you never try, you’ll never know. I need to get out of my comfort zone to find the life I want for myself. And if I can do that, I’m convinced you can definitely do it too.

Life is too short to not live it on your terms. Most people only realise this when a person in their environment dies or they themselves make an experience that make them realise that life can end every minute. Please do not waste all your time not following your heart. If there is something that you are passionate about, find it and pursue it. Of course I do not mean laying on the beach all day and doing nothing at all, sure you have to have some income to be able to live, so the best possible thing to do is: make your passion your job.

5. Motivation.

Since I made the decision to give my dreams a go, I was completely motivated. I have spent all my free time to learn new things, to improve some existing skills, to inform myself about opportunities abroad and to work on own projects. I sometimes wake up an hour ealier in order to get things done, I come home from work and do more to achieve my goals. I rarely watch TV and read, write or work on my project instead and I am happy doing so even though it might seem like work for others.  My motivation and will to learn is immense, I simply want my dream to work.

About finding courage and following my heart

And when you feel such a motivation and inspiration inside of you, you simply know that it is the right thing to try.

About finding courage and following my heart

The future?

I still have half a year in this life which is considered to be normal. I do not know what the future will exactly bring. My earlier self would be incredibly scared. But I allowed myself to follow my heart and I’m now totally fine with it.

About finding courage and following my heart

I recently told my boss about my plans. I was bloody afraid to tell her cause we really got along very well and I didn’t want to disappoint her. The result was that all the fear was without substance because she understood me. She has now known me for over two years and probably knows quite well what travelling means to me. This step was probably the hardest one I had to take. I leave security and comfort. But I made it. I am proud of myself that I have had the courage to follow my heart. I think that’s another thing traveling has taught me.

I know it won’t always be easy but I know that it’s worth to try and if one thing doesn’t work out, I won’t give up.

If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try. Do not let your fears determine your life. Most of them will turn out to be without a cause and you’ll be happy to have overcome your fears.

About finding courage and following my heart

My fear of “what if nobody understands my reasons” were such a fear without a real cause. I am so happy that all the people that mean something to me totally support me. I know that my choice isn’t the one many people make and there probably are people who think I’m completely crazy leaving everything behind. But that doesn’t matter to me. The most important thing is that people that are important to me understand my reasons to do this and luckily that’s what happened.

I do not know where my life will guide me but I am now ready to find it out and work on my own projects as well as help others, work seasonal jobs I always wanted to give a try, see the beauty of this world and enjoy life.

About finding courage and following my heart

I thank everyone who has helped me getting through this process and overcoming all my fears. Everyone who had to listen to all my worries and told me I do the right thing. There is still fear of course, but it cannot stop me anymore from trying to do my thing. I’m excited what the future will bring and I will do everything to fulfill my dreams.

If you are in a similar situation, take the courage to give your dreams a try. Seriously, if I am able to do this, you can do it too. And I promise you, you will feel so much better after taking these steps in the right direction.

When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. (Paulo Coelho)

Do you have a dream you pursue? What do you do to overcome your fears? I would be happy if you share your thoughts in the comment section below.

About finding courage and following my heart

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31 thoughts on “About finding courage and following my heart (and why you should do so too)

    1. Stef Post author

      Thanks Kadri! Yes, I’m convinced it’s always worth to try to do what you love and even though you fail you’ll learn a lot from the experience.

  1. Jimmy Dau

    Great post. It’s always daunting especially when we’ve been programmed to conform to some degree on how we should live our lives. At what point did we give up on our “I want to be x when I grow up?” I think having a break helps clears our minds of the distractions and allows us the time to work on how to make certain changes in our lives “to make a difference” whether it be huge or small.
    Jimmy Dau recently posted…The week in photos – “By any means”My Profile

    1. Stef Post author

      True words. Yes I’m still scared of something being able to go wrong. But I had this thought in my mind for ages and at one point it’s just time to take actions and follow your gut. If you think of it every day, you should give it a try and fear might be a signal that it’s worth it. Even if I only make a small difference in this world and can support some people, it’s worth the sacrifice.

  2. Lisa @chickybus

    Nice job on this! I love the quotes you chose and the message behind them and the post. Someday is right now, right? 🙂

    Reading this flashed me back to when I was turning 30 and working in a job I didn’t love and wondering about the rest of the world and what it would be like to see it, etc. I took a trip to Ecuador and after that, I sold everything and picked up and moved. I stayed 1.5 years and my life changed in dramatic ways. It was challenging, but the best thing I’ve ever done.

    Sounds like you’re totally on the right track. It will be exciting to follow you and see where you end up!

    Cheers and nice to meet you here in cyberspace. 🙂
    Lisa @chickybus recently posted…‘Would You Rather…?’ Game for Travelers (Round 2) #ttot #tbex #offbeat #humorMy Profile

    1. Stef Post author

      Thanks for those motivating words Lisa. Did you move to Ecuador or travelled to different countries?

    1. Stef Post author

      Thanks so much Jennifer. Yes it’s really scary sometimes. And I still have days in which I question my decision. Not because I’m not sure that it’s the right one, but simply because of the uncertainty and the fear of failure. But then I think “what would be the worst thing which could happen?”. If I’m not happy or do not make enough money I can still go back home. But till then I will do everything to make it work. I am so motivated as never before. And I’m sure you’ll go your way too. It needs a lot of self-motivation to have a full time job and work so much on a blog as you do.

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  6. Patascha

    Hi Stef! We’re so happy to meet someone with the same fears an doubts that exactely we have for the moment, too. Since we’re back from our Costa Rica trip this May, life isn’t the same anymore for us. We can’t go a day without thinking about leaving Luxembourg to realise our dreams somewhere else. Life here in Luxembourg is safe, the money we earn in our jobs is way enough, we have our own house, car etc, just everything we use to have, but we don’t feel satisfied with this life anymore.Life is too short to spend it at one place only! The last months we planned a lot as well and we’re still discussing about the consequences a step like this could have to us, our families and friends…but we came to the decision to change our life as soon as possible.
    We wish you good luck and hope to read from you and your new life very soon. Maybe this gives us the final courage to do the same 🙂 Tascha & Patrick

    1. Stef Post author

      Hi Tascha! Hi Patrick! Thank you so much for your post. I hope I can help you to find the courage to follow your heart as well. I think most people have to face those fears and it’s totally normal. You worry about not seeing your family and friends, your security and your finances among others. I mean who don’t?! Who tells you that you do not lose your job tomorrow? Or who tells you that you are still alive in 10 years time so you can make use of your retirement pension and live your dream then? Nobody can assure you that and that is why you should spend your life in the way you want and be happy. I wish you all the best for your future and hope to hear from your live updates too!

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