A few months ago I facilitated my “Setting Goals for the Career You’ll Love” workshop for the clients of a local nonprofit group here in Victoria. I’d like to tell you about one of the things I learned while doing it.

The workshop was for a group of individuals who were all looking for work and being mentored by others in the process. During the workshop, I first addressed why it’s important to search for careers that we love, then talked about what kinds of things stop us from doing what we love. Then we got into the importance of goal setting in order to plan for the career of our dreams, talked about S.M.A.R.T. goal setting, and then had a chance to practice writing smart goals. We finished by talking about the things that could help keep us motivated to stay on track after we set our goals.

I felt the whole workshop was a success and got great feedback on the evaluation forms, but learned something critically important to my business from one of the participants along the way. I’m so thankful that I did as it’s helped me to see something in a new way. I had brainstormed and researched all sorts of answers for the “What Stops Us From Doing What We Love?” section, including money, time, and not knowing what it is that we are passionate about. But what I completely missed out on was one critical and key thing that stops us from doing what we love.

Some people don’t believe it’s possible.

And I must admit, I had never anticipated that answer.

One person was brave enough to speak up in the workshop and add in this point. When I gently asked her if she could tell us more about why she thought that she couldn’t do what she loved she told a bit of her story. Granted, her example was about a passion that she held that was very difficult for her to achieve now as an adult based on a number of reasons. But I think she was caught up in the fact that if she couldn’t do exactly what she loved, she couldn’t do anything related to it at all.

Some of us are realists at heart, aren’t we? We may tend toward the pragmatic rather than the dreamer. If this is you right now, not thinking that getting what you love is possible, it may help to hire a professional coach to support you through this process. At the very least, ask a supportive friend or tribe member for help. “What can I do if I can’t do that?” you may ask. “How can I get even just a little piece of that?” Your coach or friend may be able to help you see a new way to doing what you love. They may help you to see past whatever it is that is blocking you to getting what you want and help you think of creative alternatives that still get you towards something close. Or, you may even discover a new passion area that is even before.

There are always things that we won’t be able to do just based on our beliefs and on life’s choices that we’ve made so far. I mean, at this point I’m pretty sure I could never become an astronaut. But I definitely could learn how to fly a plane. I probably couldn’t become a famous ballet dancer, but I could join my local dance studio and become part of a tap troupe. (I saw an all-ages display at the Santa Claus parade in December and they were amazing!)

The trick for each of us is to do this bit of homework on our self. “What is stopping me from doing what I love?” we should ask. The reasons will be different for all of us, as is the path to something better. Just find your support along the way and enlist help to consider creative options for moving forward.

I invite you to answer in the comments, what has stopped you from doing what you love? Or, how have you gotten past the beliefs that you can’t do what you love?