Are You Moving Toward Your Dreams or Escaping Your Problems?

Consider the last few decisions you’ve made in your life. Were you going toward a future you were excited to live or was it more about escaping something you didn’t want?  

It’s natural to seek relief from negative experiences or situations, but this can lead to reactive choices. 

Part of living a fulfilling life means creating a vision for what you want and actively moving towards it. It’s about courageously pursuing your dreams and embracing the uncertainty that comes with stepping into the unknown.

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Full Episode Transcript


Lynn Grogan [00:00:00]:

Welcome back to the Courageously Unconventional podcast. I’m your host, Lynn Grogan. And first off, apologies if my voice sounds a little bit froggy today, and I occasionally cough. My husband and I were all geared up to be on vacation this week, and wouldn’t you know it, we got sick, so we’re laying low for a few days. So this episode might sound a little bit hairy due to my voice, so bear with me. So anyway, there is a concept that has been on my mind lately, and it’s been 1 I’ve been bringing up, especially when 1 of my coaching clients is considering making some big changes in their life. But you can also use this for smaller changes in your life. It’s a concept of freedom from and freedom to when it comes to making decisions and planning your life.

Lynn Grogan [00:00:42]:

So I first heard about this concept from Dan Sullivan, who is the founder of the Strategic Coach program. I don’t think he is the only 1 to have covered these topics, but he is definitely the first person I heard this from. Dan Sullivan talks about 2 different ways we can approach making changes in our lives. The first is what he refers to as freedom from. This is when our motivation to make changes are all about escaping negative experiences frustrates you or moving to a new city because you feel bored or lonely in your current 1. So it’s not that you shouldn’t do these things, and in some cases, if your safety or mental health is in danger, it’s necessary. But in a freedom from situation, your primary motivator is getting away from something. You wanna be free from something.

Lynn Grogan [00:01:38]:

The second approach, the freedom to approach is when you’ve created a vision for what you want and you’re going toward it. You’re drumming up the courage to follow your dreams, and you create a life you envision. It’s likely something you’ve never done before, but you’re committed to try. Like, I’m thinking about my client who is following her dream to write a book about her area of expertise, Or I have another client who has started pursuing a role at work that she would love to have, but it doesn’t exist yet. So the emphasis here is that you’re going towards something, not just trying to run away from something else. If you’re looking for a good example of this, my recent podcast with Kricia Palmer is a great example of somebody who created the courage to leave her career in medicine to follow her passion in interior design. I have a few other interview podcast are kinda similar vein, so check those out if you’re looking for some more motivation around this topic. So when many people want to make changes in their lives, what they most often focus on is what they don’t want from what they have already experienced.

Lynn Grogan [00:02:37]:

And that makes sense. Right? You experience something, you live it for a while, you know how it feels, and then you have a lot of information on what to go on for what you want next. I’ve definitely been there, and I’m sure you have too. But the problem with guiding your life this way is that it’s mostly focused on the past. So when you do and don’t do something largely determined by what you’ve already done, then you’re limited by your past experiences. So many times we end up doing the same things in a different environment and wonder why our experience life doesn’t get that much better. And that’s because, again, you’re working from your past when what you’re looking at is what you do and do not want from what you’ve already experienced. So why do so many of us gravitate towards doing it this way? Well, I mean, we largely seek freedom from things in our lives because it’s rooted in our psychology.

Lynn Grogan [00:03:30]:

We are naturally inclined to avoid pain and suffering so we seek immediate relief. And we often find ourselves making choices that provide short-term solutions to escape unpleasant situations rather than thinking long term. You want some immediate relief. You want some immediate gratification rather than spreading it out and having it be long-term. So this can sometimes lead to reactive rather than proactive choices. So if you’re somebody who feel like you have been stagnant or playing small in your life, this could be the reason. It could be the reason for why you’re feeling that way. So what do we do about this? Well, first, I really don’t think this is an all or nothing situation where you only think from your future or you’re only reacting from your past.

Lynn Grogan [00:04:11]:

I think there’s a way to consciously balance both the freedom from and freedom to approaches, but we have to do this intentionally. We have to do this on purpose. So this would look like using our past experiences to inform our future, but not be the only driver for change. So here are a few ways that you can go about this, and I’ll give a personal example along the way of where I was initially motivated from the freedom from mindset, and then shifted to a freedom to mindset. Alright. So the first thing you’d wanna do, number 1, is reflect on your motivations. So one way you can do this is review the most recent decisions you’ve made in your life. Were those decisions mostly driven by fear or by aspiration? Or another way to put this, were those decisions more about you going towards something that you want or escaping something or getting away from something that you didn’t want.

Lynn Grogan [00:05:04]:

I think most of us inherently know the difference, but we just have to be willing to ask that question and admit it to ourselves. So if you checked in, and you were like, oh, no. Most of what I’ve recently done or want to do are motivated by the past and wanting to get away from something, or someone. Know this is just, like, totally normal in human, and I’ve been there too. And, honestly, like, I can’t help but think about during the pandemic when my husband and I decided to get off the road. So when the pandemic started, we were traveling full-time in a very small motor home, And then, of course, you know, things got scary in the world. And, I mean, when we checked in, it really didn’t seem like the best time to be living the way we were, so we started to explore other options.

Lynn Grogan [00:05:48]:

Long, long, long story short, maybe I’ll tell it at some time, but we ended up getting off the road and buying an expensive old house, probably mostly due to my convincing, because it seemed like it would be a safer bet in the long run. I mean, really, what we wanted to do is get away from what was happening in the world, and the house seemed like a safe way to do that. But let’s just say it took us very little time, maybe just a matter of, you know, like, 6 months to realize that we, at this point in our lives, are not house people. And, really, what we wanted was a future filled with travel. So we ended up selling the house after 2 years, and most of that time was spent planning what was next for us versus being present and, you know, experiencing what it was like to live in a house. So reflect on your own motivations. Like, with the thing you wanna do next or 1 of your most recent decisions, were you going toward what you want or trying to escape something you don’t want? Be really honest with yourself. Number 2, set goals that are future oriented.

Lynn Grogan [00:06:46]:

So after you check-in and you notice some of your patterns, consider the next few decisions you wanna make in your life. Why do you want these things? Like, what do you want to achieve? What do you wanna go toward, not just avoid in life? So it can help to intentionally imagine what that decision that you wanna make will look like and feel like in 1, 5, 10 years down the road. Like, what does it actually look like and feel like to live the way you want to do? 

When we decided to sell the house and get back on the road, we were so much more intentional about what we wanted to create. We decided that whatever RV we bought, we wanted something that would support the life we wanted to create over at least the next 5 years. That made us much more intentional about how much we spent on our setup, what features be picked out, what our future travel plans would look like. We were really investing in our future versus just simply getting away from an old house that like to break a lot. So when you’re doing this for yourself, look to set goals that are future oriented. What do you want to create? Spend some time really imagining what it will look like to live in some of the decisions that you wanna make, like, really experience those for yourself.

Lynn Grogan [00:08:05]:

And number 3, be willing to embrace uncertainty. So going toward what you want and creating a future that’s different than what you’ve done before often comes with feelings of uncertainty, doubt, fear, and a whole host of other emotions we often try to avoid. 

And this is honestly why I think most people don’t go toward what they want is because it feels so much better to just, you know, in the short term, escape what they are currently feeling versus feeling what they’re currently feeling and then going towards what they want and feeling fear, doubt, uncertainty, those kinds of things. So part of this is accepting that you won’t know all the details of what’s next, but you can trust trusting that you can figure it out. 

So for us, while we were experienced as nomads and as RVers, what we were doing next after selling a house, it really felt like the first time we were investing in creating our lives on the road. We were going towards something we wanted, and we’re thinking about it long term versus just dabbling with a lifestyle and hoping it worked out. That felt different, at least for me. And, you know, as I considered what I wanted in my long term, it also inspired all sorts of other changes.

Lynn Grogan [00:09:11]:

Like, I ended up, after we got back on the road, quitting my job to start my own business. We started really putting ourselves out there to make new friends and build a community, and we started to learn how to camp off grid. And all of those things were new and different to us, and they brought up all sorts of feelings I mentioned before, like uncertainty, fear, doubt, confusion, anxiety, I could go on and on. So in going in this direction and being willing to go toward what you want, you have to be willing to feel all the feels and know that they’re normal and expected, especially if you’re doing something that you’ve never done before. So I’ll recap that list there. You’d wanna first check-in with your motivations. Ask yourself, is this more about going towards something I want or escaping something I don’t want and being really honest with yourself.

Lynn Grogan [00:09:59]:

And number 2, set goals that are future-oriented. Intentionally spend time exploring what you’re going toward and imagining what it could be like. And so number 3, be willing to embrace uncertainty. You may not always have the details for your entire path. You just have to know that it’s taking you in the direction you wanna go and trust that you’ll figure out and allow all the feelings along the way. 

Alright, my friends. So whatever it is that you’re thinking about, whatever it is you’re seeking, check-in and reflect on your own motivations. Are you going toward what you want or trying to escape something you don’t want? It’s important to know the difference and know it’s probably gonna be a blend of a little bit of both.

Lynn Grogan [00:10:40]:

The path to leading a fulfilling life is one that you’ve designed by considering what you want in the future, not just going by what you don’t like from the past. 

So thank you for listening today, and thank you for bearing with my little froggy voice that I have. 

If you enjoyed this episode of the Courageously Unconventional podcast, please subscribe, leave a review, and share it with a friend. And if you want some additional support from a coach, I offer 1 on 1 coaching packages. You can find more details on or in the show notes for this episode. This has been the Courageously Unconventional podcast with me, Lynn Grogan. See you next time.

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Lynn Grogan host of the Reality Show Life Coach podcast

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Hi! I’m Lynn Grogan. It’s my passion as a life coach to help you escape the status quo and live a fulfilling life on your own terms!

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