Welcome to another "real life" blog post! I try my best to keep it "real" both on my blog and social media. To me that means being a bit vulnerable sometimes and sharing my truth. You can check out my past real life posts about a week in my life as a yoga teacher, Yoga Practice, not Yoga Perfect, and what it takes to follow your dreams.
Ever since I stepped on to the ledge and declared loudly (ie: in a moderate tone that only some people could hear) that I was going to follow my dream, achieve my goals, make some changes, live my best life, etc etc... I have felt a level of expectation placed on me. Some of (maybe most of) these expectations are of course, self-imposed, but some of them are societal in ways. A lot of these expectations are simply unrealistic and seem to set people up for disappointment and discouragement. Most are meant to be empowering, but if not met can leave one feeling like a failure. I wanted to share some of the expectations I experience, in case some of them are being placed on you, by yourself or others, or maybe you are unknowingly placing them on people around you.
Expectation #1: As a dream follower/goal getter, you are going to make really bold choices like Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love.
AKA: "So you're going to quit your job to do this thing you love?" (or else you're not really doing it)
Reality: I have certainly placed this expectation on myself over and over. The reality is, if I quit my steady income job, I will struggle a lot paying bills and buying groceries, because I am just not making the funds to support myself doing what I love right now. I know this, so while I have changed my schedule around at my day job to allow for more time to start my Yoga Program and get it off it's feet (I have gone from having 1 person in a class to selling out my latest Beginner session in 6 months time!!!) I still need to go in for my 9-5. This doesn't mean that I am less committed to making this Yoga Program work - in fact I have to be super committed to fit it all in! The goal is that there will come a time that my Yoga career will edge out my 9-5 and then I will gladly hand in my walking papers and hit the yoga mat full time. Life is not like the movies and TV shows we love where the hero/heroine makes a bold gesture and still manages to live in their upscale apartment or travel the world. The boldness in real life is in the statement that we, dream followers, want more out of life and are working at getting that.
Expectation #2: Success comes faster when you do something you love and are good at.
AKA: "So how long are you going to give it??"
Again, some of these are self imposed or my interpretation of things based on the immense pressure I put myself under to achieve my goals. However, success is not EVER overnight. It's actually more like: attempt - fail - attempt - mini success - attempt - fail - attempt - bigger success - attempt - fail again - and on and on.... I can recall every high moment I have had so far in this journey, because that is what keeps me going. I can also remember exactly how each of those low moments felt, because I feel them very deeply. There is not a straight line to success, so if I give myself a timeline, and at the end of my timeline I am in a "fail" moment, I may be giving up before my next big success! I'm certainly not saying to hold on to an unrealistic dream until you're 45, broke and have to go back to working in retail for the next 30 years to pay off your debt (again, see above expectation). I am saying that I don't know how long I will give this thing. I don't know how long I will give this because I don't know when all this hard ass work I am doing is going to pay off! I didn't know I would sell out a session in my first 6 months - that wasn't the goal. So, the answer is: I'm giving this my all. And really.....
Expectation #3: Success is measured in dollar signs.
AKA: "Is it worth it?"
The first 6 week session I ran, I lost money after paying my rental fee, buying yoga props, advertising and having very a low participant count. The second session, I think I broke even or came close, and the third I made some money, which all goes into my program and I personally do not see any of it.
The first session, I had a brand new participant start my program and attend every week of the session and sign up for the second session (a returning participant means she loved it - success!)
The second session, I met a participant who ended up telling her friends about the program and 3 of them signed up for the next session (she must love it if she is telling her friends - success!)
The third session, I had people asking me to email them updates on Fall programming so they could be sure to sign up.
I am bringing yoga into the lives of people who maybe wouldn't have tried it otherwise. They are falling in love with the practice, how their bodies feel, and how they feel in their bodies. This is how I am measuring success. So, yes, It is worth it.
I would love to hear from you! Are you experiencing pressure from expectations, self-imposed or otherwise? Are there others I have missed? Let me know in the comments :)