How to Stop Killing Your Dreams

One of the reasons we don’t pursue our dreams in  life is that we shut them down before we even let ourselves have them.

Why do we do this? When we don’t go after what we want, it’s often because we want to avoid potentially painful emotions or situations. Staying where we are means we get to feel in control. We don’t have to feel vulnerable, and we don’t put ourselves in new situations where we’re not 100% sure if we can handle what comes at us. 

It’s much easier to stay the same, even if it means we are bored or unfulfilled!  

Today’s episode is all about exploring what you want and catching yourself before you talk yourself out of it. 

Some questions for exploration: 

  1. What’s something you may want in life, but haven’t pursued yet?
  2. What are some reasons you’re telling yourself that you can’t pursue it? 
  3. If those weren’t the real reasons, what else might be going on? What are you afraid of or worried about? 
  4. How could you normalize those fears for yourself?
  5. Why would it be worth it to go forward, even if you might be afraid?

Listen to the Full Episode:

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Full Episode Transcript


Lynn Grogan [00:00:00]:
Alright. Welcome back to the Courageously Unconventional podcast. I’m your host, Lynn Grogan, and today we’re gonna talk about how to stop killing your dreams. And yes, I realize this sounds very dramatic, but let’s go with it. So last week on the podcast, I talked about the idea of creating a road map for your life that’s unique to you. Part of creating that road map is actually allowing yourself to want things and go toward those things, but it turns out that we humans are adept at solving our existing problems, but we have a much harder time when it comes to going toward what we want. So a little bit of backstory. When I first started out as a coach, I was working with clients on weight loss, which really meant we coached about food and the things that made them want to emotionally eat food.

Lynn Grogan [00:00:49]:
A few years in, I started to notice an interesting pattern. When we got to a point where weight loss wasn’t as much of an issue or a focus, there were these moments where it was almost like my clients were coming up for air for the first time in a long time, and taking a good hard look at their lives. Some of them really loved what they saw, and they wanted to learn to enjoy that more, but some were taken aback. When they were no longer distracted by their immediate problems, they realized that they didn’t really love where their lives were going, and they knew that just ticking off socially acceptable achievement boxes wasn’t going to sustain them for the rest of their lives. And this is so common. When we’re caught up in our day to day issues, it’s it’s hard to look at the big picture and ask ourselves what we want out of life, until one day we come up for air and we’re, like, is this it? Now what? What most of us were taught was how to check boxes, college, career, marriage, house, kids, but at a certain point in our lives, there just aren’t that many boxes left to check, or there are, but it seems like they include retiring, getting fat, and playing bingo until you die. So then what? Well, we have an incredible opportunity to dream and go after what we want, and sadly, that’s not one of the boxes many of us were taught to check, which brings us back to the theme of the day. How to stop killing your dreams, or to put it another way, how to figure out what your dreams are in the first place.

Lynn Grogan [00:02:21]:
So how do you do this? Well there are lots of ways, but today we’re gonna start by identifying what you may want, and then notice how you try to talk yourself out of it. And I’ll give you an example of what this sounds like. Let’s say you’re considering changing your job and doing something new. Whenever you think about it, you get lit up, you feel excited, you start googling ideas, you’re searching opportunities, but just when you get to the point where you might do something, you talk yourself out of it. You’re going, you know what? I’m not qualified to do that. What I should be doing is spending more time and energy with my family. Actually, I should wait until the kids are a little older, and you know what? I’ll be letting down way too many people at my current job if I quit. And all of these reasons sound reasonable.

Lynn Grogan [00:03:12]:
Like, if you share them with a friend, she might be, like, yeah. Totally. That job will be there later. No pressure. But that’s what makes it hard to catch, because we often have these really, really good reasons not to pursue something. It’s one of my main roles I play as a coach helping my clients question these reasons. And what we discover when we question these, quote, unquote, reasonable reasons is that what we’re really doing is protecting ourselves. Many of us are afraid to try and fail.

Lynn Grogan [00:03:42]:
We are terrified that we might discover we’re not good enough, or we don’t wanna let down our family and friends, or we’re afraid of feeling hurt, or disappointed, or rejected, or unlovable. And we’re also afraid of feeling out of control and vulnerable, and we’re scared that we may not be able to handle the new situations we put ourselves in. And I don’t know about you, but it seems a lot less painful and scary to tell ourselves and others that you just need to take another class than it is to put yourself out there and risk it not working out. But to live a life that’s true to you, you have to start questioning these seemingly reasonable reasons to see what’s behind them, because what’s behind these excuses is what you’ll need to work through in order to start living true to yourself. Alright. I am about to walk you through some questions you can ask yourself to explore what you want out of life. So if you’re running for your notebook, these questions will also be in the show notes, you can find them there. Or if you’re one of my clients, ask me to email them to you, I will tailor them to your situation.

Lynn Grogan [00:04:48]:
Alright. Here we go. Question number 1. What’s something you may want in life, but have not pursued yet? And I’ll give you some ideas in a minute. Really, it doesn’t matter what you explore, but please please please make it something you want to do, not something you think you should want to do. Okay. So it can be big or small, but really what we’re doing is we’re just looking to see how your brain reacts to you wanting something you’ve never done or tried before. And in case it’s helpful here are some ideas I’ve explored with my clients over the years.

Lynn Grogan [00:05:25]:
Going on sabbatical, working part time, writing a novel, retiring early, living and traveling in an RV, changing careers, outsourcing all of the cooking to someone else, running a marathon, moving to a new city, traveling solo, starting a business or side hustle, taking up mountain biking, tennis, painting, making new friends, starting a book club or a walking club. So again it could be anything, but what’s something you may want in life, but have not pursued yet. Alright, question 2. What are some of the reasons you’re telling yourself you can’t pursue it? And here are some of the reasonable reasons I’ve heard from my clients and things I’ve also told myself. I should be spending that time with my family. I’m not qualified. I’m not ready. I don’t want to look dumb.

Lynn Grogan [00:06:16]:
I’ll be letting people down. I have gone through way too much training to change things up now. I’ll never make money doing that. They’ll never pay me to do that. I’ll run out of money. You know, I’m not really the type of person who does that. I don’t know how to do that. I need to do more research.

Lynn Grogan [00:06:35]:
I’ll look flaky. I’ll get in trouble. They’ll be mad at me. I’m too old. I’ll do that when I’m thinner. I don’t have time. It’s too late. I’ll have to start over again.

Lynn Grogan [00:06:44]:
So again, what are some reasons you’re telling yourself you can’t go and pursue the thing you want? Question number 3. If that wasn’t the real reason, what else might be going on? What are you afraid or worried about? So like I said earlier, many of us are worried we might try and fail, that we’ll find out we’re not good enough, or that we’ll let down our family and friends. We’re afraid of how we might feel along the way, and we’re also afraid of feeling out of control, vulnerable, and that we can’t handle things. So again, what else might be going on for you? Question number 4, how could you normalize those fears for yourself? I truly think that behind everything we all share the same type of fears. So you’re not gonna talk yourself out of feeling that way, but you’re making it okay that you’re feeling that way. So whenever I’m afraid, one of the things that helps me is just, like, talking very kindly to myself. And here’s what it sounds like. Okay.

Lynn Grogan [00:07:45]:
Hey, Lynn. That’s just some fear talking. It’s okay. You’re not gonna die. It’s just normal fear. Nothing has gone wrong because you’re feeling this way. You’re just afraid of putting yourself out there. I’ve got you.

Lynn Grogan [00:07:58]:
So how could you normalize those fears? And then question number 5, why would it be worth it to go forward even though you might feel afraid? Because there are so many good things that can come out of pursuing what you want out of life, and I’ll give you just a few. You might grow as a human and have a better relationship with yourself. You might do work and create a lifestyle that, like, really lights you up. You could build deeper connections and relationships with other people. You could just feel better in general, and you create the courage to go after what you want over and over again. So question 5, and this is the final question, why would it be worth it to go forward? Alright. So here’s a recap of those questions, and again, they’ll be in the show notes if you want to look for them there. So number 1, what’s something you may want in life, but haven’t pursued yet? Number 2, what are some reasons you’re telling yourself you can’t pursue that thing? Number 3, if those weren’t the real reasons, what else might be going on? What are you afraid of or worried about? Number 4, how could you normalize those fears for yourself? And number 5, why would it be worth it to go forward even if you might be afraid? So my friend, try this with just one thing you may want and see what you find.

Lynn Grogan [00:09:20]:
So often how we respond to one thing is similar to how we respond to many things, so it doesn’t matter what you pick truly. Just find one thing, big or small, that you may want to go for. Okay. So I want to end this podcast by saying, this work is not always easy, but it’s some of the most worthwhile work you’ll ever do. And the payoff is that you live a life that’s true to you, and you end your life without regrets. That’s all for today. So as always, if you want to talk to someone about this, I am here for you. You can email me at

Lynn Grogan [00:09:51]:
You can slide into my dms on Instagram at lynngrogan, and you can also learn how to coach with me 1 on 1 on my website, lynn So alright, my friend. Go out and figure out what you want and stop killing your dreams. Until next time. Bye.

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Lynn Grogan host of the Reality Show Life Coach podcast

Meet your host

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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