We observe people we aspire to be, admire them for all they achieve and what they have created for themselves. But seldom do we hear about what they had to sacrifice to get there. We are living in the age of instant gratification and the “if you build it they will come” mentality and because of that, we think that if we put something out into the world it will be a success the first time round.
What have I learnt?
It doesn’t matter how small your goal is, whether it’s getting up early to make yourself breakfast or get to the gym before work, studying or starting a business, there will always be sacrifices.
It’s almost like the universe is testing how much something is worth to you, or how hard you will work to get it and that is why it doesn’t just get handed to you without any sacrifices.
Something that we learn when we grow up that does not get taught in school is that not everything that we endeavour to do and not every idea that we have is meant to become a success.
Since I was 12 years old I have loved the violin and classical music. When I was a teenager, I was the only person I knew that listened to classical music and dreamt of owning my own violin one day. I would go to the music shop and listen to the same classical cd’s on repeat until I eventually owned one. I would speak to everyone I knew about how beautiful the violin was and fall asleep listening to Vivaldi and Vanessa Mae. I would watch the string section of an orchestra with tears in my eyes because I so badly wanted to be one of them. I would read books that I only became interested in because the main character played the violin. Throughout my 20’s I would go to shop upon shop and ask to see their violins and query how much it was. I would even pick them up and pretend I was playing one.
When I was 26 my boyfriend surprised me with a violin for my birthday. I named it Linn. I was so excited. I sat up till 2 in the morning trying to play scales and learn how to read sheet music. I finally found a teacher and started going for lessons. After a few classes, I found that I was beginning to want to skip classes, hoping that my teacher wouldn’t be home when I arrived. I stopped practising my scales. I eventually stopped going to classes altogether because I had a job that demanded more of my time.
My violin has been packed away for the last year. My boyfriend always asks me when I am going to play it again and I always turn away and give him a non-committal answer because I feel like a bit of a failure at something I wanted to do for so long. The truth is, is that I didn’t enjoy it.
Playing the violin is hard work! I naively thought that because it was something I wanted to do for so long I would take to it instantly and you would never be able to take my violin out of my hands. But I didn’t take to it. I got frustrated with how difficult it was, how hard reading sheet music was and how sore my body was after an hour of playing. Most of all I couldn’t get over the feeling that I would never be able to play a decent tune and that I was, in fact, wasting my time.
It didn’t have to be like that. I could have pushed through and ignored the voice in my head that was telling me I was too old to be doing this, but I didn’t. I just gave up.
Was I not willing to sacrifice for my dream?
Maybe it was just a dream.
What I learnt from my experience now helps me to more clearly make decisions with regards to what I choose to bring into my life.
Why do I want to do this?
What value will it bring me?
How much time and money do I need for this?
When we speak about sacrifices we don’t just speak about the money and time we need to give up. We speak about the early mornings and late evenings. The time we give up with our friends and family to pursue our goals and the times we have to say ‘No’ and focus on one thing rather than many.
If you find yourself complaining or annoyed at the changes that pursing your dream is causing you, perhaps it’s a good time to reassess your expectations, if you really want this or if there is another way to do it. While holding on to your blessings.
Not everything has to be so serious and stressful.
Tell us in the comments about some sacrifices that you made for your dreams… or when you realised that, perhaps, it was meant to be just a dream.
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