explore deeply

the art of living your life purpose

life of your dreams

Life is about choosing which dreams to follow and which to let go of.

Be who you want, Life LessonsJon Westenberg
choosing which dreams to follow and which to let go of.

I used to always ask myself, which dreams should I follow? Which ideas and concepts and burning desires should I make my life’s work? That question kept me up at night. But it was always the wrong question…

The thing is, you can take on almost any challenge, and you can follow almost any dream. Even if it’s in a small way, even if it’s writing as a side project instead of becoming Stephen King, even if it’s writing small pieces of useful software instead of revolutionizing AI.

But what you can’t do is follow everything, all at once. What you can’t do is refuse to compromise when life gets in the way or when things don’t pan out.

I’m often asked by people, how did I know what I wanted to dedicate myself to? I didn’t actually approach it that way at all. I asked myself, what didn’t I want to dedicate myself to?

What was I ready to let go of?

Just because you can chase a dream doesn’t always mean you should.

And I’m not saying that because I want you to listen to the people who revel in telling you No. I’m saying it because if you really think about your dreams, you can often identify which ones you want to be chasing in 10 years’ time, and which ones are just cool ideas that you think might be…you know, fun.

You have to come to terms with the idea that, just because you’re excited about something, doesn’t mean that it’s an idea or a dream you should pursue. Not unless it really aligns with who you are and what you want.

I came to realize that it was time to let go of being a musician when I knew that I didn’t want to be getting up to go on tour every day for the next 20 years, it just wasn’t a life I was happy with. That dream wasn’t compatible with what I wanted out of my time on this great big spinning rock.

For some of my friends — it’s exactly what they want. And that’s great. It didn’t align with me though.

And in the end, we all have dreams that don’t really align with who we are. I had other dreams of being a stand up comedian, a movie director, a break dancer and — as a child — an elephant in the circus. None of those are what I really want to do though. As exciting as being an elephant would’ve been.

People will search for what they’re meant to do. What fate has in store for them. What the universe wants. But they won’t find answers. People aren’t meant to do things, and they aren’t meant to follow certain dreams. We have to choose them, for better or for worse, based on who we are and what the fuck we really want.

We don’t have all the time we think we have.

I know it feels like time is almost limitless, but trust me — it only feels like that until you’ve run out. It only feels like that until you’ve committed to so many fucking dreams that you don’t even have the time to hug your cat and spend time with your loved ones.

And you can’t divide the limited time you have between a thousand and one passions all at the same time, because not only will you never make progress with them — you won’t give yourself time to enjoy any of them either!

What I know for sure about following your dreams:

  • Think of it like this. Every moment you spend on one project is a moment you cannot spend on another. Which moment is worth more to you?

  • Moving on from one dream to make another a reality isn’t failure and it isn’t giving up, it’s getting better at committing.

  • When people tell you no, it’s not the same thing to telling yourself no. The first is control and a lack of faith, the second is discipline and showing faith in yourself.

  • An interest is different from a passion is different from an obsession is different from a dream. Work out which is which.

  • There is no point at which you have failed at a dream, as long as you have spent energy and time to follow it.

  • Your dreams are supposed to be enjoyed, not blasted through at the speed of light, and if you don’t stop to enjoy ’em, when you reach where you wanted to be it will only feel empty.

  • Nothing matters more than what you wanted to do. By that I mean, don’t let other people dictate the paradigms and details and expectations and deliverables of your dreams.

  • Just because someone has share a shitty quote image of Elizabeth Holmes telling you that “having a back up plan is committing to fail” doesn’t mean it’s true. Embrace having multiple dreams to follow, and if one doesn’t align or doesn’t work, switch paths.

  • Remember, Steve Jobs’ passion was music a long time before it was tech. You don’t have to turn what you love into a life long dream. You can, however, let other dreams influence the dreams you follow.

  • People will say, if your dream is to be a playwright, you will never be as rich as if your dream is to write software. A lot of people will say that kind of shit. It doesn’t matter — the value of your dreams should not be measured in dollars alone.

At the end of the day, you’ve got to be happy.

There’s no point chasing or working for something that won’t make you happy. Even if you’re successful, that’s going to lead to you dedicating your life to a sliver of the happiness you’d get if you failed.

There’s a certain kind of sadness, that comes from convincing yourself that other people’s dreams are the ones you really want. That’s a sadness you don’t want. It will be their fault, but you’ll have nobody to blame but yourself.

I know that when I’ve chosen dreams that seemed “smart” by society or other people’s standards, that’s when I’ve been the most miserable. When I stopped doing punk music because there wasn’t money in it, when I joined a startup I hated hoping it would be worth a hundred million bucks, when I went to law school thinking I could be a coked out entertainment lawyer — I hated it all.

Dreams are eminently worth chasing. In tiny ways — in huge ways — in every way. They’re worth chasing for an hour a week, if that’s all you can manage. They’re worth dedicating your life to. But you can’t ask which you’re meant to follow, you can only choose what aligns with who you are and what you want.


JON Westenberg | Writer | Entrepreneur

Jon Westenberg: writer, founder, passionate entrepreneur has appeared and published in Business Insider, Inc.com, TIME and dozens of other publications, talking about startup entrepreneurship, writing and innovation. Jon advises businesses worldwide on how to grow their audience and take control of their future. Jon is a startup mentor, an entrepreneur and a digital evangelist. "I'm on a mission to build businesses, change the world and create entrepreneurs."

JonWestenberg.comSydney, Australia

Read Jon's other popular article on the Live Your Purpose Blog: "Be a Fucking Weirdo" {Hiding From Yourself is Going to Hurt}

Chloë Rain is a Spiritual Guide & Visionary. She is the the Founder of Explore Deeply and the Explore Deeply Movement.

Chloë has had the pleasure of working with women and men all over the globe to learn to source their inner power, deepen their relationship to self love, and experience greater fulfillment, so they can enjoy the happiness they have always wanted, and have confidence and JOY in their lives, relationships, and finances.

Many of her clients find that their relationships and careers shift dramatically in new and exciting ways after doing this work, creating freedom and joy in their personal and professional lives. To find out more about working with Chloë go → here.

Please feel free to share content freely from Explore Deeply™. However, please be courteous and link back to the original post, and credit Explore Deeply as well as the writer where applicable. I hope you find many resources here to serve you as you walk your path of purpose. Much love!

We ate an entire bag of gummy Easter bunnies in one evening....

Be who you want, InspiringChloë RainComment

You know, without going into the entire back story.... I woke up this morning happy.

chloe rain explore deeply pretty easter egg pictures

I woke up late, remembered it was Saturday so that was ok, and I didn't have to start beating myself up. I'd stayed up really late, I was fuzzy. As I walked into the kitchen seeing my computer and my notebooks and notes spread out over the table, I started to recall that as I got sleepier and the night went on I moved from doing productive work and planning to just reminiscing and being sentimental. Like it was my job. 

I was going through old photos scoping and planning for my upcoming product line launch and scanning through my 23,728 photo file gallery from the past 4 years. I'm working on some writing, and there are two particular stories I've been feeling compelled to write, but just haven't been able to get myself to do so.

This morning I woke up happy. In a different way than I've felt before. The feeling sensation had more freedom in it, because it wasn't attached to something.  In all ways, not much had changed, I still hadn't accomplished what I meant to do the night before, I still hadn't written the stories, it was a normal day at home.

Breakfast of egg on toast with mayonnaise and garden salad. A 3 mile run. Popped into Mom & Dad's after my run, Mom had baked a shortcake, and was in the middle of making ham biscuits for Easter.  I washed my hands and joined her. 

I was feeling inspired. Like, true inspiration: ie of extraordinary quality, as if arising from some external creative impulse.  Something about going through the photos of my adventures of the past four years during the night had made my day time reality more vibrant. I didn't set out with an intention of doing anything but looking for "good shots".... but what I woke up with was the feeling of being supported, guided, and OK. It took me a while to realize what had changed. 

The night before, there were pictures of ex boyfriends, pictures of my long hair, there were fat pictures, and bad pictures, and feet pictures, and surf & skating pictures, Paris pictures & Ireland pictures, Peru & Puget Sound pictures... and what I saw... what I woke up with was JOY.  I felt the rejection of past relationships, the heartbreak of disappointment, the anticipation of promise, the insatiable optimism, the foolish hopefulness, juxtaposed with the loneliness, the utter aloneness I had felt so often.... Somehow, though not at the time of the picture, I understood that I had been OK. I had been guided and supported as I traveled through time walking my path. I remembered at the time of the picture I didn't understand, but somehow along the way I had become grateful of all the disappointing events and disappointing loves and even the lonely excursions. They had all been great adventures! I remember when I used to make myself so wrong and horrible for always being alone. I had cried at how alone I always was, my skin had burned from lack of intimacy and touch, but somehow.... somehow NOW I know, that, I was never alone. In fact, I'd had many love affairs with good decent humans, just that they were suffering with their own human conditions at the time. Neither of us having any understanding or awareness of how we could stop hurting each other because we hurt so damn much ourselves. In going through the pictures, I experienced the emotion of the moments when they were taken, and I could remember the sadness of what was going on, even when I smiled or posed, at the same time I knew what had happened next and how one wave of emotion swept me into another state of being.... I couldn't really hold on to the anger any longer even when I really wanted to, really really wanted to.... the resentment, the disappointment of things that hadn't worked out.... because I had a this future sense of knowing that it was all unfolding.... before my eyes... in my life.... You know, without going into the back story, I was even glad I'd felt the heartbreak of wanting, because I'd been really living my life fully... so at least I could say I'd been giving it my all. I'd really been putting myself in the game with all of my emotion and heart.

I am living fully and loving madly. Even when loving seems mad and living seems the most confusing thing to keep doing.

Enjoying the spring time and Easter Holiday with my family looks like devouring an entire bag of gummy Easter bunnies in one evening, coloring a dozen eggs with Mom & Dad even though I'm a 37 year old adult, and playing Easter bunny memory games with my boyfriend at the dinner table. Sharing double butter sided ham biscuits and sliced strawberries and hand whipped cream on shortcake with my Aunt & Uncle. Happiness and Joy to You and your family, on this day and everyday. Inspire, be inspired.

Pictures of our Easter eggs and my Easter basket in the front yard with the spring daffodils.  ChloëRain©  2015

With love, Chloë

Chloë Rain is a Spiritual Guide & Visionary. She is the the Founder of Explore Deeply and the Explore Deeply Movement.

Chloë has had the pleasure of working with women and men all over the globe to learn to source their inner power, deepen their relationship to self love, and experience greater fulfillment, so they can enjoy the happiness they have always wanted, and have confidence and JOY in their lives, relationships, and finances.

Many of her clients find that their relationships and careers shift dramatically in new and exciting ways after doing this work, creating freedom and joy in their personal and professional lives. To find out more about working with Chloë go → here.

Please feel free to share content freely from Explore Deeply™. However, please be courteous and link back to the original post, and credit Explore Deeply as well as the writer where applicable. I hope you find many resources here to serve you as you walk your path of purpose. Much love!