You're Not Confused. You're Scared.
Ep. 171
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This week I talk to you about a hard truth: if you’re telling yourself you don’t know what you want to do, it’s just a lie your brain is telling you. You do know, you’re just scared. Being stuck in I don’t know is safe while actually trying something is terrifying. But if you’re ready to start taking action and get past the I don’t know, I have five tips to help you start uncovering what lights you up.

Show Transcript
No matter what I was doing, I was overwhelmed all the time and I thought it was the job. And then I had kids and I quit my job. And then I was overwhelmed at home and I was overwhelmed with the idea of starting a business. And it wasn't until I realized like oh, it feels natural to me.

Hey, welcome to Lessons From a Quitter where we believe that it is never too late to start over. No matter how much time or energy you spent getting to where you are, if ultimately you are unfulfilled, then it is time to get out. Join me each week for both inspiration and actionable tips so that we can get you on the road to your dreams.

Hello, my friends. Welcome to another episode of Lessons From a Quitter. I am so excited that you are here. I hope you are all well. I am in a very busy season. October is a busy time for me this year. I have lots of exciting things, vacations and then lots of work and my daughter's birthday, Halloween, all that good stuff. But I've noticed I go through like periods of not doing anything and then periods of intense work. And I'm okay with that. I don't mind the balance because I allow myself to have weeks where I literally do nothing. So I think it all works out. That's just an update on me and my life if you wanted to know. I am actually really excited because one of the things I am working on is a free training, like a free webinar Masterclass that I'm going to put on on November 3rd. And it's going to be all about helping you bridge the gap between the career that you have now and the career that you want. I'm going to give you kind of the three steps, the overview of like what you need to be doing, what you need to be thinking about. And, you know, I think from the training you can pinpoint where am I at in this process? What do I need to focus on right now? Instead of worrying about every single step like what is the part that I need to clean up before I can move to the next step? So I can't wait to do that. I hope you all sign up. It's free. There's no reason not to sign up. I'll send out a replay. It's going to be on November 3rd. I'll give you the sign up next week. So stay tuned for that.

And like I've mentioned, if you have been interested in doing the group program, I'm going to open doors in November as well. And the wait list is getting pretty big, which is so super exciting. I do keep it small so that I have a lot of interaction with you. So I can coach you all the time. So you have access to me through Voxer so I can help you through those six months really make some progress. So if that's something that you are interested in, kind of going deeper with this work that I talk about on the podcast, wanting help with your own thoughts and your limiting beliefs, get on the wait list because I'm going to open it up to the wait list first. So yeah, you're going to want to know when those doors open and you can sign up for that at Okay, now that we're done with all the announcements onto the show. I have labeled today's podcast: you're not confused, you're scared. And I want to offer that to you. That there's a possibility that you are not actually confused at all about what you want to do because this is the thing that I hear probably the most. I think most people that find me, they know they're unhappy. They know they don't want to be in this career or they don't want to be doing what they're doing, or they don't want life to be the way that it is, but they have no idea what they want to do. Or that's what they say to me. And I'm calling BS on that. You do know what you want to do deep down, every single one of us knows. And I'm going to challenge you to push yourself to not accept I don't know from your own brain because here's what I see so many of us do. Well, here's the problem or I see so many people stuck in is, you know where you are, that you don't like you know, the career you hate. You start thinking about what it is that you want to do and either you have too many interests or you have completely suppressed any knowing within yourself of what you actually like or who you are so you have no options or you know what you want, but you don't know how, whatever it is. It's like there's a bunch of thoughts that make you feel overwhelmed. So you feel super overwhelmed. You feel confused about what is the right decision. Where do you start? How do you do it? And because you feel that overwhelm feeling or confusion, you give up, right? It just becomes too much. You're like I'll deal with this later. I'll just watch Netflix or whatever the thing is for you.

And then you stay stuck, right? And you feel more frustrated and it starts to grow because you keep cycling through this and then you keep going over and over. And that restlessness, that lack of fulfillment, that frustration, that feeling of like I can't break out of this becomes debilitating. And the reason I say that you do know is because I'll get clients, I'll get people on the free coaching calls, I'll get people in DMs that will say this to me. And with the littlest of prodding, I mean, I'm talking the gentlest push. I literally will say like something like okay, what would you secretly do? Like what do you secretly want to do if you could do anything? And they come up with an answer immediately, right? It's like buried there right under the surface. And they'll say maybe they don't know exactly but they'll have a couple ideas. Well, I've always wanted to try this or I'm super interested in this. Right. And I'm not surprised. I, and that's why I asked these questions. I was like okay. But like if you didn't have to go for it, if you didn't have to tell anyone, if nobody would judge you, what would you try? And they like instantly have something that they love, something that they're interested in. The reason I'm not surprised that this happens and what I really want you to understand from this episode is that your brain wants you to be confused. It wants you to be overwhelmed. Why you might ask? Why would our brain do such a thing? Because then you stay stuck. When you're stuck, you're safe. And that is your brain's only job: to keep you alive. It does not care if you're happy and fulfilled, right? If you're living your best life, your brain doesn't care. Your brain is looking out for danger. And it's constantly going to assess anything that it thinks can lead to harm. And it's going to find ways to get you to stay. And our brains are smart, my friends. They are so tricky because they come up with some real good reasons like we are so good at like fooling ourselves. You know, it's not obvious, or you'd be able to push back. It's like a good, rational reason. It seems responsible. I should engage in this confusion because I don't know what the right answer is. And so many of us indulge in that feeling, right? I want you to think about this. Every one of us does this. We have a feeling, a negative feeling that we are so used to feeling that it almost feels like home when you think about it. No matter what, that's where your brain goes, just instantly it's like. It's either going to be worry or it's going to be confusion or it's going to be overwhelm, kind of one of those types of feelings where you're so practiced in feeling that, where that like neural pathway is so ingrained in your brain, it just automatically goes back to that feeling. Right? For me, for instance, mine was overwhelm. And I didn't realize this until like last year where I was really starting to work on my thoughts, no matter what I was doing, I was overwhelmed all the time. And I thought it was the job. Right. I thought it was my work as a lawyer. I thought I had too much to do. I had too many deadlines. I had too much responsibility and that's what made me overwhelmed. And then I had kids and I quit my job. And then I was overwhelmed at home and I was overwhelmed by my children. And I was overwhelmed with the idea of starting a business. And then when I would like cook dinner, I was overwhelmed with cooking dinner. And it wasn't until I realized like oh, I like like feeling overwhelmed, not like it in the sense of like I take pleasure. It's just that it feels natural to me. Of course, I would feel overwhelmed. Of course, I would make myself so stressed out and think about everything that could go wrong and go through everything that I have to do. And constantly overwhelm myself because it allowed me to play the victim. It allowed me to air my frustrations. It allowed me to not take responsibility for certain things. It allowed me to not take on more, even though I could have just said I don't want to take on more. Right. Like I could've just been like I don't want to do this house project or I don't want to start that business. But in my mind, I couldn't just do that. I needed an excuse. I needed a reason to be able to say like I don't want to be a PTA parent. I don't want to put on a dinner party, whatever it was. So if I was overwhelmed all the time, then I didn't have to because I was like oh my God, there's no possible way I can do this with the kids like no. Making dinner that's more than four ingredients? I can't do it. Whatever the thing was. Right. And it wasn't until I started realizing like oh, I indulge in this a lot, like that's just where my brain loves to go. Right. And for some of us that's confusion. Our brain just loves to go back to there. And I want you to think of like where is it that you're you find your brain? Just notice it for awhile. Notice, like in different scenarios, when you're feeling this negative emotion, what's the negative emotion that you're constantly going back to? Because when you're in that place, then you don't change anything. It's just the same thing. You don't have to figure it out. You don't have to take the first step because you've convinced yourself you can't, you're too overwhelmed or you're too confused. There's nothing else to do here. It's like a dead end. And I think, especially with confusion and especially what I've noticed with people with like their job search is that being confused is such a protection. Because honestly, if you're confused, how can you do anything? You c-, you have to first make the decision in order to start. So if you are confused, the longer you are confused, the less you're required to take a step, because what would happen if you did know what you wanted to do? You would have to start taking action. And that is fricking terrifying. And here's the thing like we all know that there's uncertainty, right? With any action that we take. Like no matter what you do with your career, even in your job, like a lot of what I've talked about on this podcast is like even in your job, there's uncertainty. You have no idea what's going to happen. Right. We've had tons of guests on the podcast who were laid off when they were in their sixties. Right. They didn't see that coming. And obviously, if you're going to change your career, there's a ton of uncertainty. There's doubt. It's scary. Nobody can guarantee you anything, right. I can't guarantee you how your life's going to turn out. You can't either. We've no idea what's going to happen in our future. Right? Like does the economy collapse again? Is there going to be a tragedy in my family? Is there a worldwide pandemic? I mean, there's things that we can never know it's going to happen. Right. And a lot of us are waiting to know before we can deem it okay to like decide what we want to do. Like we have to know that we'll be successful. Like we need that assurance. And so we focus on the confusion of like if I pick the right thing that can assure me that I'll be successful. And until I know whether I'll be successful, I can't decide what it is I want to do. But my little spoiler alert for you today is that that will never happen. Right? There's no way for anybody or yourself to guarantee you that you will be successful at whatever it is you do. I mean, obviously, like I define success very differently now. And I do think that there are some things that you can guarantee, like you can grow and learn and have full human experiences. But I think that's not what most people are defining as success. So we're just going to go with your definition for now. I just think like when you don't know what that guarantee is going to be, when you don't know what's going to happen, your brain goes back to well then I can't know what I should do. Right? Because once I say oh, this is what I want to do then I can't stay in that familiar place anymore. Then I actually have to start working on it. Then I have to deal with all of the negative feelings of comparing to people who have already gone for it, who are, you know, not where I'm at. I have to deal with like not being where I want to be. I have to deal with the overwhelm that comes with all of the steps that it's going to take for me to get there. It is fricking scary to know what you want to do. It is terrifying. And it is so much scarier than just being confused. Like for a lot of us, it's like I know what frustration feels like. I handle frustration every day. Fine. I'm confused. I'm frustrated about my life. Welcome to like the last, how many decades, right? That's a feeling I know. The feeling of fear, of needing courage, of putting myself out there, of going for it, that I can't handle. I don't know how to do that yet. I haven't done that a lot. The feeling of like uncertainty and doubt and feeling judged or rejected, that feels like death to me. Right? If you didn't listen to the episode on getting good at feeling discomfort, those are the feelings that like I now have to get good at, which are really hard. And so saying hey, I know what I want even if I don't know how it will turn out, even when I have doubt, even when I know other people will judge me, right. Even when I know I could fail. That's probably the scariest thing you can do. And a lot of us are not ready to take action and just as an aside that's because you don't know how to manage your mind, but just going to leave that there. But we're not there yet, right? We don't know how am I going to handle all of this negative emotion that's coming in at once. How am I going to going to handle everything that I would have to do now that I faced the fact that I know what I want? And so it seems a little less painful to just tell ourselves that we don't know. I don't know what I want to do because it would feel so much more painful to sit by and watch other people go after the dreams that we have, right. Once you name it and then you have that desire for it and you're sitting in wanting, and you don't have it. That hurts. And part of the hurt of that, and when I say like managing your mind is because we make up stories about what that means. Like when if we're not ready yet, if we're not ready to go after it. iWe don't look at it as like well, this is part of my experience. Like I'll get there. I'm working on building up the courage. I'm learning a new skill. No, no. We're not that kind and or rational. We start making it mean like I'm a coward. Why can't I go for it? What's wrong with me? I knew I wasn't good enough. I'm not as smart as this person or whatever. And those are really painful thoughts. And by the way, they're optional. Like you should not be thinking those thoughts. You can manage that. But because a lot of us don't know how to manage our thoughts, it's just easier to keep thinking the lie that I don't know what I want to do yet. And I just want you to know that that's not true. You do know what you want. You're not confused, you're just scared. And that's okay. I want you to get to the place where you're admitting it to yourself, where you can see like maybe I'm not ready to take action just because I admit it doesn't mean that I need to like jump right now. It doesn't mean I need to like change my career and quit and go after this dream. But until I can admit that this is what I want in my life, then I'll never get there. I'll never work up the courage or figure out a plan or start taking any step. As long as I stay confused, I'll never make progress. And so I want to give you some tips on what you can start doing in order to figure out and get past this confusion, right? And so until you can start making the decision of what it is you want to do. First, I think for a lot of you who tell me you don't know what you want to do. You're very clear about what you don't want. That's a great place to start. Figuring out what you don't want can help you figure out what you do want. Just look at the opposite side of that, right? Like maybe like I don't want to work for somebody else or I don't want to work in an office or I don't want to work alone, I want to be in a team, whatever. Whatever you don't want to do, look at why. Why don't I want that? Like what is it that I don't like about that? Right. I don't like being alone or I don't like relying on other people or whatever it is. You can start figuring out like okay, that's because what I do like is this opposite side to that. So start like mining your past a little bit. What were the things I didn't like in my past jobs? What are the things that I'm looking for in a future job? Tip number two, look at your jealousy. Jealousy is such a beautiful tool. You are not jealous of things that you don't want. Right? You don't look at somebody that's doing something that you have no desire to do and feel super jealous about it. I'm trying to think of an example. Like for me, I'm not a big, like I'm not a big, extreme person. I'm not an extreme sports person at all. Not a big one. I don't like that kind of adrenaline. Right? So I don't look at somebody who's like jumping off cliffs or jumping out of planes and feel jealous about their life. I'm like oh my God, they're traveling. You know, all these places and jumping out of helicopters, that looks so cool. I'm like nope, would never do it. Don't sign me up for that. Even if you gave me the opportunity, I wouldn't do it. Don't want to. I know myself enough. Right. I want you think about this, we all talk about Instagram and comparison, like compare and despair. And that's a really sucky place to live in, where it's like you're constantly looking at other people and comparing but I want you to start using it as kind of like signposts. Just ask yourself like what am I jealous about of this person? What do I think they have? How can this be an example of what's possible for me? Right? What do I want from this? Because it might not even be the thing. Like let's say you're scrolling through Instagram and I don't know, you see like an influencer, like a fashion influencer. You, even when you ask yourself, you might not actually even care about fashion that much. But just seeing that they have freedom in their life maybe, like they're traveling around or they get to work from home and work on their own schedule and get paid to do something that's kind of creative, right? Like look at the parts of it that you're jealous. Like what is making you jealous? It's a great insight into what it is you actually want. Tip number three, don't worry about how yet. What I mean by that is we're also obsessed with how would I do that? How would I get there? I have no idea how to write a book or become a speaker or work 20 hours a week or whatever it is. Obviously you don't because if you did, you would be doing it right now. You would have already done it. Anything that you're doing for the first time, you don't know how to do. And that's normal. And the thing is is that if you're obsessed with the how, like your brain, again, wants to keep you safe. And so your brain is going to start like as soon as you pick a dream and you don't know how to do it, your brains going like yeah, we don't know how to do that. Let's pick something smaller. And I don't want you to do that. You can't figure out the what if you're so obsessed with the how. So like first we have to know like what is it that we want? Like how can we dream so big? How can we pick something that's going to make us so excited to go after this life? And then I'll figure out the how. I'll start working towards the how. I'll pick certain things about this that I can start doing now.

So I want you to just shelve the how for now. We'll figure out the how, we'll get there. And we start figuring that out like step-by-step right. You don't figure out the whole path. There's no way to do that. We start figuring out like what's the first step I can take. But again, we can't take the first step if we don't know where we're going. So we have to stop like putting down this thing of like I need to know the whole path before I can decide if this is something I'm going to do. Tip number four, there isn't just one thing. Part of you guys are so lost and confused because you're after this like one passion or purpose. And I'm going to do another episode on this later about like the fact that there is no passion or purpose that you need to find.
But suffices to say that like we are multifaceted human beings, every single one of us has tons and tons of interests, tons of curiosities. Just follow one of them, right? It doesn't have to be the great love of your life. And I would say that if you don't know what you want to do, like if you have a great love of your life, you would already know by now. If you have that one passion, like you're a singer, a painter, you love photography. You would have already figured it out. So if that hasn't happened, let's just shelve that for a little bit. And I say this from a person who quit and had no idea and literally thought I had zero skills and or zero passions or interests. And now I have so many freaking ideas about what I want to do that I have a hard time constraining. Because part of what was happening was I was just putting a lid on the possibilities. I was putting a lid on my creativity. I was saying like what was allowed and what wasn't based off what I knew how to do or what I thought was reasonable. And when you can remove that and just look at like what is it that I'm interested in? What is a curiosity that I would like to explore? It doesn't have to be my great passion for the rest of my life. As a lot of you who have listened, like know my story of like starting the photo booth company. One of the best decisions I think I've ever made was like knowing that, that I wasn't passionate about it and still doing it. Cause I was just interested in entrepreneurship. So I was like hey I'll learn about building a business by doing this. And then I'll figure it out from there. So I do, I will say that ultimately you're going to have to constraint. My recommendation is always to choose one thing and go after that and know that you have time to do other things later. But if you're stuck in this I'm confused. Just give yourself a little bit of time to brainstorm. Give yourself some time to figure out a couple of things.

And so know that it doesn't have to be one thing. It doesn't have to be the right thing. It doesn't have to be the perfect thing. It just has to be a thing. And then the last one that I will say, the last tip, I think we're on number five is, and you hear this a lot in like self-help stuff or um kind of journaling prompts. And at first, like I used to kind of roll my eyes at this, but I actually see why it's so powerful. So if you didn't have to work, that could be for whatever reason like you win the lottery or you have, you know, you get money or whatever reason, you just don't have to work anymore. What would you do? And the reason I want you to think about this is because again, most of us are thinking like I don't know what I want because you're thinking in terms of jobs. And when you're doing that, you're limiting yourself to only the jobs that you already know about. And I don't have to tell you that the world has changed a lot, right? Part of the whole point of this podcast and how it originated was like to show you how many people have quit traditional jobs and started things and are making, you know, great livings doing something they love that wasn't a job 10 years ago. And so for a lot of us, we have to start thinking outside the box. And that's really difficult when you're live smack dab in the middle of that box. You don't know what you don't know. And so part of that is just opening yourself up to what is it that I just like to fill my time with? And I know a lot of people answer this question with things like oh, I’d just lay on the beach, you know, I’d like move to an island. If that's true, fine, but I would ask you to sit and think about it for a little bit. Because from the vast majority of us, after two weeks of that, you'd get bored. Like the human brain is built for growth. It wants to be working on something. This is why like so many retirees become depressed or even people who sell their companies. You know, they go on that beach for a couple of weeks and then get bored and come back and build another business because we have a need to problem solve and fix and grow and learn. We like that. It's like our natural state. And so when I say what would, if you didn't have to work, what would you do? You might come up with like well, I’d travel the world. Great, that's something to think about. Why do you want to travel the world? What part of that do you like? How can you incorporate that into your life now? Why would you need to like quit your job in order to do that? Is there something that you can do? I mean, there's a whole industry of people who live remotely and work from all over the world. Is that something you'd be interested in? I mean, you can start going down those rabbit holes once you're honest with yourself of like if I wasn't doing it for the money, what would I do? And that doesn't mean that you, you can actually get paid to do pretty much do anything I feel like at this point, but first let's figure out what those things are. Like what's the thing that's going to get you super excited. And again, I will say this because I think a lot of you are still focusing too much on like what can I transfer my skills to? And I just want you to get you to like what is going to light me up? What is the thing I would love to do right now? And before your brain can have that like split second where it goes jumps to but that's not possible or I don't know how to do that, or that's not going to work for me. Just try to catch that dream for a second and hold it for a little bit. Can you find someone that's done that? How did they do it? Why is it that you think you can't do it? Once you start realizing like oh, I do know what I want. There's a lot of things I want to experience. There's a lot of things I want to do. I'm just scared cause I don't know how I would turn that into a career. I don't know how I would incorporate that into my life. I don't know how I would bring that dream to fruition. Then it's something we can work with. We can work with fear and doubt and uncertainty. We can create plans. We can go after it. But as long as you keep yourself stuck in I don't know, there's nowhere else to go. So my friends, do not believe your brain when it tells you I don't know. You do know, you're just scared. I hope this helped. If you need help figuring out what it is you want to do or how to get there, sign up for the group coaching program. This is what we do for six months together. You don't have to do it alone. And I promise you learning how to manage your mind will help you tremendously in this endeavor. So you can sign up for the wait list for the next round that starts in January 2022. So you can hit the ground running next year. You can go to and sign up there. I hope to see you there and I will see you all next week. Bye.

Thank you so much for listening. If you liked this episode, share it with someone else. I promise you know somebody who also hates their job and wants to quit, so why not share the love? And if you want to come follow along for more, come join me on Instagram at LessonsFromAQuitter and make sure you say hi. I'll see you next week for another episode.