Think something is impossible? Gather your body of evidence

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Last Saturday, I dusted off my mat and headed to the gym for what I thought was a nice, relaxing yoga class. I hadn’t been in a few months, and was looking forward to stretching out my weary muscles and doing some deep breathing.

But between my last class and this one, the time for Yoga had been switched, and now the ten o’clock class was Zumba.

Zumba, for the uninitiated, is a combination of Latin dance and aerobics. Think lots and lots of hip gyration.

Back in the day, I was quite the Latin dance enthusiast. When I lived in Colombia, I danced the night away in steamy salsa bars. On a trip to Brazil, my Samba dancing was featured on the national news because they couldn’t believe a gringa could move her hips that way.

So with a cocky toss of my hair, I thought: “How hard could Zumba be?”

The music started, and the perky teacher started to get her groove on. I followed along like a pro, until I realized that there was a serious problem with the mirror in the class.

The person standing in my place was not me, the hip, edgy free-flowing experienced salsa dancer, but a totally uncoordinated suburban mom imposter!

This mom struggled to shake it. Instead of Jennifer Lopez, she looked like Cloris Leachman on Dancing with the Stars.

I closed my eyes and opened them again, only to find in horror that the problem was not the mirror, but rather that I had apparently lost my mojo back in 1999 and simply hadn’t realized it.

The first questions to cross my mind were

  • Will I ever get my groove back?
  • Am I too far gone at 44? Is it possible to get these hips moving again before I have to have them replaced?
  • Are my dreams of starring in the remake of Dirty Dancing totally dashed?

Thankfully, I looked over to my right, and saw someone who appeared to be about thirty years my senior, vigorously shaking her hips and shimmying her shoulders. There was hope.

What I needed, to use a term coined by my friend Jonathan Fields, was a body of evidence in the form of real, live people just like me who had faced the same challenge as I had and come out successful on the other side.

The more I thought about it, I realized that my own mother was part of my body of evidence. While never a Salsa dancing fool like I was, my Mom went from being a totally sedentary 25-year smoker to completely changing her lifestyle in her mid-50’s and becoming a healthy living advocate, and avid exerciser. She kayacked with whales in Baja, and hiked between chalets in the Alps, and started doing Pilates on a regular basis. At 77, she can still leave me huffing and puffing behind her on a hike.

What is the thing in your life that feels a bit impossible?

  • Think you don’t have enough business experience to charge full price for your consulting rates?
  • Feel like you are too old to get a handle on modern technology and social media?
  • Think it is impossible to have a healthy business while being a good spouse and parent?
  • Don’t believe you can travel the world, work from anywhere and still earn a good living?
  • Think you will never be able to stop working in your business in order to have time to work on your business?

Your homework assignment:

  1. Name the thing that feels impossible to you right now (I’d love it if you could list it in the blog comments so we can help each other)
  2. Go in search of people similar to you who have proved that it is possible.
  3. Connect with them. Ask how they did it. Gather ideas and information.
  4. Use this body of evidence to help you create a realistic plan for attaining your goal.
  5. Feel better, and have the energy to get that thing done!

While I may never be considered for the remake of Dirty Dancing, I know that I can get my groove back. These hips have moved before, and will move again.

We can be so hard on ourselves. With a bit of imagination and research, few things are out of our reach. We just have to surround ourselves with the right people.

I would LOVE it if you would share the body of evidence you are looking for (real people who have overcome the current challenge you are facing) in the blog comments, then check back later to update it with whom you found.

Get to it!

Sorry I can’t stick around, I am late for Zumba class.

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92 Responses to “Think something is impossible? Gather your body of evidence”

  1. […] This article was inspired by Pam Slim’s great post on March 31 […]

  2. Great, great story! And one I can completely relate to. I’m one day into ZUMBA and I am going to take your advice and believe it is possible for my 40 + body to move the way it used to.

    • Paige says:

      Any change, like getting your body to move like it used to, starts with baby steps. Congrats on taking your first step by going to the ZUMBA class!! Maybe follow it by dancing around the house instead of just walking. Turn on some great music and get those hips movin’! You go girl!

  3. […] Having done that has given me the confidence to apply that attitude to all things impossible that I pursue.   Running five miles daily, creating handmade shoes, writing 1,000 words a day, raising a million dollars a year, learning to like decaf coffee.   Pamela Slim writes a great post about embarking on your own mission impossible. […]

  4. Lana says:

    My impossible right now is finding a way to use my talents in writing, counseling, gathering information, and learning to in a way that will offer me freedom and enough financial security to provide health care and a good life for me and my partner back in the States in the place we feel at home.

  5. Virna says:

    Hi Pam,

    I am new to your blog found you via Tory Johnson facebook page. I am catching up on so much information you have to offer and THANK YOU!

    My impossible is trying to get my brand national and global. I have a start-up that is an internship web-based business connecting college students with companies national and global. I have decided to add Sales consultants to help build my brand. I am having the hardest time finding Independent consultants. Plus on top of that I work a fulltime job and make calls to companies on my off days. I just want to leave my cubicle and focus soley on my business but I need my job to pay the bills until Iam generating enough to leave. Call me Frustrated but my motto ” Failure is not option.” Thanks again for all of your advice.

  6. Amy says:

    I’m having a hard time figuring out how to deal with my digital photos. Some are on a harddrive, some were overwritten by iTunes, many are still on my camera. I emailed a friend who gave me a recommendation of someone to hire. The whole thing feels so daunting, but I’m inspired by your blog and the other commenters. And I’m partly inspired by another desire: to start a blog. Behind one mountain is another to climb, right?

    • Paige says:

      Amy,
      I started my own blog last month (with zero web experience) and have run into so many other people looking to do the same and not knowing where to start. Starting next week I’ll be posting the steps I have taken to create my own business and blog in hopes of helping others to realize that dream of their own. You can find it at http://www.PaigeBurkes.com. Good luck!!

  7. […] (You can read Pam’s full article here.) […]

  8. […] Slim of “Escape from Cubicle Nation” challenges us to gather our body of evidence when we think something is […]

  9. Michelle Kowalski says:

    My passion is leading workshops on how to live happier, have more effective relationships with yourself and others. My friends and some family members cherish my capacity to empower them along these lines and I am never SO alive as when I am engaging with people on these questions! BUT I don’t know how to get there from here. I refuse to think I have to go back for a masters in psychology for the credibility. I am 47 and don’t feel I have the time. But more than that, I KNOW I could be really great at it without those two years. I am inspired by the homework assignment and I am going to actively put my feelers out there to find people who’ve broken into this field: leading seminars/sessions on happiness and life effectiveness WITHOUT a masters degree. (I have a BA in Sociology, which is a fair enough basic foundation, I’m hoping.)

    • Paige says:

      Michelle,

      You might want to check out Matthew Ferry (www.matthewferry.com) and Rich German (www.richgerman.com). Matthew iss a speaker/coach whose main theme is that, in order to get all the things you want in life, you have to be happy first. He’s all about how to live happier. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t have a masters. He’s been a coach most of his life (I think he’s 43 yrs. old). I really like his stuff. Rich is very similar (they used to work for the same coaching company). His niche is taking that happiness and teaching people how to monetize their passion. He has a wonderful free ebook called Monetize Your Passion which I highly recommend.

      I agree that you can definitely be very successful without the degree. I think it’s all about your network and getting yourself and your name out there.

      I have just started a business to coach and guide people toward breaking free of jobs and habits that don’t serve them and living lives full of passion and purpose – whatever that may be for each person.

      Best of luck to you! Keep sending out your message and you’ll receive all the info you need.

  10. Denise Green says:

    Hi Pam,
    I was so inspired by your question that I wrote an article sharing a story that I tell in my workshops about how I cured Rheumatoid Arthritis http://brillianceinc.com/want-to-thrive-ask-delusional-questions/.
    I still find Drs who have only gathered evidence enough to think I’m crazy. Your photo reminded me of the incredible work of Ellen J Langer on aging that flips common logic on its head.
    I suspect your mojo is only on temporary leave.
    Cheers,
    Denise

  11. […] This article was inspired by Pam Slim’s great post on March 31 […]

  12. Angela says:

    Loved this! I was beginning to get a bit discouraged, but your email came just in time!

    I’m a 21 year old single mother with big dreams. I start college classes for the third time this summer. I’m wanting to do a double major in medicine and journalism. I don’t want to spread myself too thing, but in addition to being a mother, working part time, and going to school, I REALLY want to start my own business.

    Think Starbucks + Bakery + Barnes and Noble + Francesa’s + Gift shop, all in one. I don’t want to write a lengthy comment on here, but I’d be more than happy to explain a little further my idea. I’d sure like to know if there’s anyone or anything you might be able to connect me with to help me form my body of evidence. =) Thank you!

    • Hey Angela!

      I’m 23 and love finding other people around my age with big dreams.

      I’d love to find out more about what you have planned and see if I can help in any way.

      Send me an email: brandon [at] blistmarketing [dot] com

    • You also might check out the #CustomerLove challenge.

      There is a whole group of awesometastic people on there, all working with the goal of loving their Bestest People and each other.

      The site is: http://makecustomersloveyou.com/

      The Twitter hashtag is also quite active – come on in!

      You don’t have to have your business started to join in the fun. It can also be a great place to just hang out and learn too.

      Best of Fortune to you! 🙂

  13. Missy says:

    I love this – great idea. Thanks. My challenge is making writing time a priority. Like exercise, when “life” gets in the way, I immediately move it to the lowest spot on the list and just “get to it when I can.” It’s hard to prioritize something that you’re not seeing results from yet, but it’s going to be impossible to see results if I don’t prioritize it. For the body of evidence, do you suggest studying people who have done it, or actually asking them (through their social media places)?

  14. Liz says:

    AH HA! I knew it- it told my workforce counselor thatI needed a Body of Evidence- anyone else out there in their second half (over 50) and looking to start all over from scratch? I am looking for women my age who have basically lost it all and have successfully started over and can support themselves.I am coming out of a 23 year marriage, no support in 4 years and not enough now to care for myself and 3 kids. ( PS women out there- make sure you have a career and can support yourselves- its not the same world as it was for those of us born prior to 1960- where you would get married and that was it!). I have a background in real estate which is no longer viable- overhead is too much! Any suggestions? (by the way Zumba sounds fun!!).

  15. Karen Toms says:

    I am a regular reader of your blog and just wanted to say how much I enjoyed this post.

    The story about your Mum becoming fit and healthy is a great one to remember.

    I find that with both myself and some of my clients, gathering the body of evidence is such an important tool for moving forwards and achieving goals.

  16. James says:

    That was an inspiring post and I thank you for that. I am going to gather my self up tomorrow and think of some ways I should change my life for the best.

  17. Pam,

    This is super fun. Great community of bloggers. Mostly I stopped by to thank you for the EXCELLENT welcome to your newsletter. I signed up for your blog and got this welcome letter in my email box. It had such host flavor and “sit down and have a cup of coffee with us” relaxation. Ahh. I had to come over and say thanks. I put your newsletter in my file as something I aspire to have in my own welcome package.

    And, I’m so glad you have your mom as your example for healthy living and reinvention. Wahoo. And wiggle.

  18. Brian says:

    Pam,

    Very nice post! It is so important to keep your eye on your goals and surround yourself with positive people who encourage and inspire you! Body of Evidence is a great term that encapsulates all of that.

    I can feel the pain of guys like Matthew and Kris above. My wife and I have been working hard to grow our business over the last year or so and it is beginning to pay off handsomely. My wife was laid off in 09 and we have 2 sons. She hasn’t had to go back to work yet and things are coming together.

    I know it sounds harsh, but you just have to MAKE the time. I watch a LOT less TV, don’t really follow sports or politics anymore and try to concentrate on growing our business.

    Time is just like money. You can’t spend your money and hope to save what is left at the end of the month because there is never anything left. You have to save first and spend what’s left. With time, you have to prioritize your activities and have fun with what’s left, you can’t have fun first and work on your biz when you have the time…it just doesn’t work like that.

    The most important part is to be a team. When you can encourage and support each other, it is amazing what can be accomplished.

    I wish everyone the best of luck. Work hard and do you damn-dest to Escape from Cubicle Nation!

  19. I’m in a boat similar to what Kris mentioned above, except I’m the one trying to get a business started. My wife has been our domestic engineer and household CEO (my better-sounding terms for housewife) for several years and we’ve made that work very well. But we have a four month old now, so I need to keep bringing in a certain level of income in order to pay our bills and maintain health insurance.

    What seems impossible to me right now is growing a business without the safety net of income and health insurance from a spouse’s job. I can’t just quit my current job, but I’m not sure how I will have the time to grow a business, remain employed in the corporate world and be a good father and husband.

    Anyone else successfully navigated a situation like this?

    • Hey Matthew,
      I’m in a somewhat similar situation, my wife and I are expecting our first child in the fall. She is in grad school, and we are making it on my salary. So I hear you about trying to grow your own business vs. income and health insurance. I believe we can do this, it’s the how to do it that is the rub. Hang in there man, we’ll figure it out.

  20. Rebecca says:

    Yay Zumba!! I love Zumba. And don’t worry, Pam, your core muscles still remember all your booty-shaking moves. They just have to get used to it again.

    My Zumba is getting out of the 9-to-5. Like Valen, I like my job, but I’m not at all passionate about it. I never intended to spend my life at a desk– I like to be driving, traveling, interacting, moving around. And yes Pam, I just recently joined your community– I am so psyched about that!

    OK, my *real* Zumba is getting unstuck from my fear-paralysis. I’m desperately afraid of ending up broke if I’m not in a “day job” (and I’ve been that broke, so I know how scary and humiliating it is). There’s only me to take care of me; the lack of dependents is a kind of freedom, but at the same time, if I don’t make money, I don’t eat. And yes, savings, but I’m even more afraid that the universe will wallop me with cash-draining catastrophes the instant I quit.

    And part of that paralysis is being at a crossroads. I could ostensibly have the freedom I want by becoming a freelance writer and presentation designer/coach full-time, and could probably make better money than my terrible current salary. I would enjoy that work, and I bet it’d feel pretty good to wake up at 10:30 AM without an alarm and go to work in my hotel room in wherever I decided to visit this week.

    But that’s not what I *really* want to do. My dream career doesn’t exactly exist; I call it “Impresario”. It’s a blend of writing, being a performance artist and burlesque dancer, and producing colorful, crazy, transformative events. All of these things are things I do on-the-side-for-free right now. But I worry that they won’t pay enough. I used to be a professional theater actress, and I could only survive by doing soul-killing day jobs, and I was always so discouraged and tired. I find it hard to move forward when I feel like my choice is “solvency” or “passion” but that both aren’t possible.

    • Beto says:

      HI Rebecca – hope you get to read this. Your post caught my eye since I see so many common points with what I’ve been through. One thing I do notice on what you say is how you worry a lot about the “what if”‘s.

      I also wonder how others having a wife and kids to watch for (not my case, either) can, and often do make it against all odds. If they could do it, then we sure as hell can. From quite some time ago I assumed the mindset that through disciplined spending and savings, I am “buying” my future freedom, one small bit at a time. One drop of water won’t look like much, but thousands of them may well bring on a good soaking. I do have a fixed monetary goal where I can be confident enough to quit my job and take the plunge. I have no guarantees that I will ever succeed on what I want to do – in fact I may as well think it could be my dumbest move ever. But – at least I could be able to say “there, I gave it a try” rather than wallow in fear and doubt for the rest of my life. There’s no merit in that. And as they say, experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want. So whatever the outcome, I’m eager to bring on new experiences in my life – but of course, all the time wishing for the better. When there’s a will, there’s a way. Best of luck!

  21. Pam~

    Just had this same conversation about what you call “body of evidence” situation yesterday.

    I am a yoga teacher and passionately love to teach people of all ages including children. I have been doing that for over 2 years, but now feel compelled to open a Children’s Yoga School to teach other teachers how to teach. I found some women to work with that I adore and we totally compliment each other. We have alot of opportunities to teach all over the world. That has truly been my dream!

    We are now in search of our “body of evidence” people and have started the interview process.

    It is truly exciting, yet it is intimidating to step out on that limb. Reading encouraging articles like this one only helps. Thank you so much!

    Love it,
    Stacey

  22. Shannon says:

    Pam,
    great timing. I’ve been an engineer by trade the last 11 years but have been secretly plotting to start a business that turns tourists into spies for a day while seeing the sights of San Francisco. needless to say, I never hear about engineers doing anything besides starting their own engineering company. I’m looking for folks who left the technical background behind for the artistic.

    —shannon

  23. Love it Pam and I hope you go back and get your groove on and bring out the gringo hip shaker from 1999. What a great year that was!

    I had no idea you lived in Colombia, I’m planning on living there this year too. Just last night in fact I went to a Tango class here in Buenos Aires, no hip shaking but lots of fancy turns and gliding elegantly while not stepping on feet.

    It’s good to challenge your body to move and learn different techniques.

    Salsa is next!

    Natalie

  24. Anne says:

    @Pam. I want to start a successful online computer training business as a sideline (I’m one of those geeks who knows a lot about MS Office!) and I’d love to know who would you recommend as someone who has been successful in this area. I’m looking for inspirational role models. Thanks. And I hope you are going to show us your Zumba moves!

  25. fas says:

    Impossible is nothing, that is what Addidas makes us believe and top it all impossible itself says I M Possible.

  26. Jennifer says:

    Thanks for a great article, Pam!

    I’ve worked at several startups in a high tech field and enjoyed it. I am now working at a large, corporate company and am finding that it is no longer aligned with my ethics and values.

    The thing that feels impossible to me is to figure out what I want to do next.

    I don’t know if I should stay in high tech, move to another area in high tech, or ditch high tech altogether. I have also thought about starting my own company, but what would I even do? I don’t know!

    I read tons of books (I’ve recently started on yours, Pam!), but they all seem to have the premise that you already know what you want to do, that you just need to overcome the fear of doing it!

    • Anne says:

      @ jennifer. Have you checked out Barbara Sher’s book “I could do anything if I just knew what”. That might be an interesting place to start.

      • Hi Jennifer, you might also find Jonathan Fields’ book “Career Renegade” helpful.

        Catherine

        • Jennifer says:

          Thanks, Anne and Catherine – I will definitely check those two books out. I just was able to download the first few chapters of Jonathan’s book from his website.

          Wish me luck 🙂

          • Anne says:

            @Jennifer. Laura Berman Fortgang has also written a great book called Now What? Uncover your life blueprint that takes you through all the steps…might be another good resource. Anne

    • Yolanda Facio says:

      Hi Jennifer,

      I actually wrote an ebook with exercises to help you figure out what you could do, what you like to do, what you are good at. I don’t have it on my site for sale right now but I would be more than happy to send you a copy. It might help you discover what you would love to be doing.

      email me yolanda (at) yolandafacio.com

      You’ll get there!

  27. I really want to get my online business thriving. I have a fairly decent offline business, but I really want to get a product up and launched and build a community around it. It actually is at times stressful and seems impossible. But i think that means I’m going in the right direction. It’s always the difficult things that are worth doing.

    • Yolanda Facio says:

      Like you I have an offline business and I’m working to build an online one.

      Here’s what I know, if we can do it offline, we can soooo do it online too. Right? Riiiiiiiight!

      You are absolutely right that anything worth doing is hard or everyone could and would do it.

  28. Hi Pamela,
    I’m on Chapter 4 of your book, and it has been an…awakening. I had a realization that shook me to my core: I’ve been working for 20 years! I’m 34 years old and done. 20 spankin’ years!

    The thing that feels impossible for me is to stop working for other people at jobs that do not fulfill me and work for myself full-time as a writer/blogger. My new wife and I are expecting our first child this year, I had a kidney transplant the fall of last year, and I have every reason to keep working at my job now, esp. with the health insurance they offer (I do have really good insurance).

    It feels like my essential self and my social self/lizard brain are in a WWE cage match at Wrestlemania fighting for control of my life. Thank you for your book and today’s post, I’m going to figure out the rest of our homework assignment 🙂

    • Anne says:

      @Jermaine,have you seen this piece by the Zen habits guy on his new A list blogging boot camp. I have no affiliation to this..I just really like his stuff 🙂 he’d be a good body for you to start with!

  29. Piaf Azul says:

    Hi Pam!
    I’m teaching a part-time homeschool out of my (rental) home and working on building a side business of doing consulting and parent workshops on the topic of homeschooling. Oh, and did I mention I’m also single parenting my two girls? 😉

    But the thing that seems impossible to me is being able to buy a house. Being self-employed and of modest means, it seems like no lender will ever approve me, even though there are reasonably-priced homes in my area. If I owned my home, I could customize it to my business and give a better impression to my clients, which would lead to more income, but it’s a catch-22. Guess I’ll have to look for my body of evidence that I can accomplish the improbably — I know I have before!

    Piaf

    • Yolanda Facio says:

      Don’t give up Piaf. And if one lender says “no” go find another. We were able to buy a home I thought we could never get funding for because we are self-employed but we did and you can too.

      This is one of those situations where you’ve gotta buck up to the “NO” until you get a “YES”.

      Go, go, go!

    • Hi Piaf, Laura White-Ritchie seems to be a specialist in home schooling. I wonder if she might not have some tips for you as she also is an entrepreneur. Here is her website http://brainyfeet.com/ and she is very active on Twitter @LWhiteRitchie.

      Catherine

  30. Farnoosh says:

    Hi dearest Pamela, I had to stop by and say that NO! you are perfect for dancing at any age. I don’t care for Zumba at all but not for being unfit; it just wasn’t my thing when a girlfriend dragged me. I love a killer cycling class, my power yoga classes, and Argentine tango. But I see people of all ages in these wonderful activities (don’t even get me started on the 75 year old woman at my cycling class!) so please, dance but do take care of your hips with plenty of yoga and care.
    As for me, honestly, NOTHING feels impossible after my recent shift in thinking. Hard, difficult, seriously hard and difficult both, yes but impossible, no more. Am I crazy, delusional or just finally – FINALLY – on the right track on my life?
    THANK YOU Pamela!

  31. Beto says:

    Nice post Pam. Great for me to come back here from time to time to comment.

    For me, a longtime comics/illustration enthusiast, it seemed impossible to go ahead and turn that passion into a profitable, full-time job. I’m not there yet – but at least I’ve found evidence of some creators who have been on my similar situation and that, through lots of discipline (using each moment of spare time to draw, even if you’d rather be watching TV – it’s not easy), consistence (do something every day) and savings (my goal now is to reach at least one year of living expenses as bootstrap funding – I’m halfway through it), they eventually got to the point where they could be confident enough of being able to make it come true.

    If you work your a** off doing something great, people will respond. Now I just have to fight with my own impatience and wish that that money goal could come sooner. A tiny progress each day is better than no progress at all. Don’t know how long it will take me to reach my goal – I just know that giving up is not an option. Cheers!

  32. Thanks for the motivation, Pam! I have two “impossibles” right now. One is becoming fluent in a foreign language. After I read this post, I applied to a summer language school. Let’s do this!

    The other is tougher and scarier. I love to teach and would love to be able to teach full-time. Not sure how to do that exactly but the path to becoming a college professor seems impossible. Definitely need to find some bodies of evidence for lawyers turned professors.

    • Anne says:

      Hi Rachel, not sure what language you want to become fluent in but I’m currently learning French (I’m 46) and I’m using Coffee Break French. learn French by podcast and I’m swapping services to do French via skype with a tutor. YOU CAN DO IT. With regard to teaching, what do you know? Why not just begin by offering some classes in that? I bet there are places looking for night class tutors. Go for it!

      • Anne says:

        @ Rachel…have you checked out Fluent in 3 months for some language learning ideas?

        • Anne,

          Thank you for the encouragement! And kudos to you and your French learning! I am pretty in love with French language, culture and well, France but I am working on Spanish first since I’ve already studied it for many years. Thanks for the resources, I will check those out.

          As for teaching, I discovered I loved it by doing seminars and webinars on legal topics for entrepreneurs. I am sure there are some more creative (and hopefully income-generating) ways for me to teach outside of a purely academic setting. Guess I better work on figuring that out. 🙂

          Happy French learning!

          • Anne says:

            @Rachel..there are loads of opportunities to teach I bet..and why not consider teaching online…www.wiziq.com offer good resources and you could record them..Merci beaucoup!

    • Rachel, have you checked out Marci Alboher (@heymarci)and Alexis Neely (@alexisneely)? Both are lawyers who’ve transitioned into teaching/consulting/speaking areas.

      I wrote a blog post that might inspire you: 15 Fascinating Legal Late Bloomers http://bit.ly/eLgPHG 🙂

  33. Valen says:

    Pam,
    I love your story. Thanks for the reminder that everything is possible.
    I am a business consultant. I kind of like what I do, but I do not feel a true passion. A long time ago I wanted to become an architect, but self-sabotage made me choose a completely different career path.
    I am almost 34 years old, with a full time job, a 14 month-old baby and a husband who is starting his own marketing consulting business. My income is covering most of our monthly expenses at the time.
    I would love to go back to school and study architecture… but it seems so irresponsible!!! Could it be just me self-sabotaging me again?

    • Valen,

      I’m right there with you. I don’t hate what I do but don’t feel passionate about it either. I think that you really do have to do the thing you love. How about going back to school part-time? Even if you take one class at a time, you’ll get there! Good luck to you!

      • Valen says:

        Rachel, thanks for your support!
        Yes, going part-time is an option. I’m really close to finally taking the plunge.
        What about you? Have you taken any steps to do the thing you love?

  34. Brandi says:

    I guess my Zumba would be patience. I’m working 14 hours a day blogging, social networking, creating my inventory, taking care of my inventory makers. I’m seeing some increases but waiting for the sales to come in is soooo painful. So I read more information on how to do it all better and try to implement as much as I can on information overload. Patience, Patience I say.

    • Hi Brandi, I totally relate. It seems to take *forever* until you get some traction but all I can say is that one day you will have someone reach out to you and tell you that they have seen what a good job you have been doing. It could be a prospective client, A-list blogger, or strategic alliance partner. If you keep working at it consistently – just keep showing up – it will happen.

      Catherine

    • Yolanda Facio says:

      Yes, Brandi, patience. When my partner and I first opened our business, both leaving full-time jobs and only 5 mos after 9/11 it was scary and slowwwwwww. We had to support ourselves and our business and lots of money was going out the door and hardly any coming in.

      But, like Gladwell writes, we hit the tipping point. Now, I admit once you do it isn’t all roses but when you can see the very first shimmer of light at the end of the tunnel you’ll know why you were patient. Don’t give up!

  35. Amanda Larrinaga says:

    Pam,

    I love this story. Not only fabulously authentic, but so, so relatable. My zumba? Breaking out of my corporate job and starting the business I’ve been stewing on for the past year. Remembering how to be the excitable, passionate leader of my past and leaving behind the exhausted, defeated employee. But thanks to people like you and your Zumba experiences, I’m reminded of how possible it really is. Here’s to us (all of us!) getting those hips shaking again!!

    • Pamela says:

      We are cheering for you Amanda, there is a huge crew who visits this blog who have done just that!

      Your passionate, excited Zumba leader self is still inside! Start to wake her up little by little, and pretty soon she will bust out. 🙂

  36. Kris says:

    My husband struck out on his own to start a business a few years back and has been doing remarkably well. He is at the point now where he is ready to step it up a notch and really try to grow the business. Up until now, I have been “holding down the fort” with my day job as a financial administrator in higher education, but I want more than anything to use my skills to help grow his business. I love the idea of the two of us working together to really bring the business to the next level.

    BUT right now it seems impossible because my income is covering the majority of our expenses and providing health insurance for our family (we have a seven month old daughter). Also it seems kind of crazy to put all of our eggs in one basket in this economic environment.

    What I do know is that when I envision making the move I feel lightness, relief, and happiness. I know it’s what I need to do, but I need to find my body of evidence. The search starts today!

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Pamela says:

      Thanks for stopping by Kris!

      I can imagine it is scary to thing of all eggs in one basket, especially with a cute, tiny one underfoot!

      I say small steps may be the way!

      And my biz partner Charlie Gilkey and his wife Angela transitioned into working full-time as a team. She is @AngelaWheeler on Twitter, and I am sure would be great to add to your body of evidence!

      They don’t have kids, but she had full-time university teaching position. Now she works in Charlie’s biz, and it has made a huge positive impact.

      Good luck!

  37. tentatively raises hand….I want to Zumba. 🙂

  38. Mike Gibbons says:

    I hold a special place for the dreamers (myself included)….Don Quixote is my guy (my blog http://tiltingatwindmills.posterous.com/)says it all. There’s an interesting thing about the world impossible – it comes in degrees…10/10 it will be impossible for me to ever play NBA basketball (takes a miracle) 1/10 impossible for me to complete my to do list today (not really) The challenge is 5/5 on the impossibility scale. How hard to do you make your 5/5, what are you reaching for? trying to change the world?

    I think this is where people get messed up. My 5/5 is taking ButtonsofHope.com to a level where it would sustain my family – after far years it has not happened (Pam will attest to my initial efforts) and yet it is NOT IMPOSSIBLE. So I dream and keep working towards the possibility. So am I tilting at windmills?

    Tomorrow lesson…Impossible’s cousin Improbable

    • Pamela says:

      I love your 5/5 analogy Mike!

      And I know you have been in search of the right biz model for some time now — can’t wait till it pops!

  39. Sonia Simone says:

    Ha ha, I love this. 🙂

    I too had my first Zumba experience recently. I liked it a lot, but um, yes. Need some more practice to get that groove back.

    • Pamela says:

      Why didn’t we videotape our first classes? Oh yes, that whole public humiliation thing.

      The one thing that was missing from your comment was your own search for a body of evidence — what feels elusive to you, Wonderwoman of the Internet?

  40. Rick says:

    Pam,

    New to your email/blog but enjoying everything you post.

    I have 27 years experience as a designer of cabinetry and love what I do, almost 2 years ago the company I was working with closed the doors I have been doing freelance design but have not been able to make enough money to pay all the bills. Freelancing in cabinetry design is new most designers work in a showroom.

    Just want to be able to design cabinetry and products and make a living (as being able to live, not prosper at this moment), this is the thing that feels impossible to me right now, especially after trying for almost 2 years.

    Thanks!!

    P.S. I am not ready to throw-in the towel as it may seem

  41. Pam!
    This is such an inspirational story. And I love the Body of Evidence reference — although I can’t help but picture one of those crime scene chalk outlines of a body. But anyway…

    I’ve just returned yesterday from a long trip abroad and my last stop was Amsterdam — a place just oozing with art, through the centuries and into the present. I first visited Amsterdam when I was 20 years old, and had the dream then to move there and do painting full time.

    While I have made been successfully self-employed in the arts, and have managed to arrange my life to live and work anywhere, being in Amsterdam again put an idea in me:

    What if I just painted full time? (My work in the arts consists of teaching, consulting, running a design firm — I don’t sell much of my art a the moment.)

    I’m taking you up on your homework assignment…can’t wait to see where it takes me and who I’ll meet along the way.

    Thanks!

    • Pamela says:

      I love it Lisa — full-time artists, unite!

      Your trip sounds totally delicious. Can’t wait to see who you dig up in your homework!

      There I go — “digging up bodies.” It is kind of CSI, isn’t it? 😉

  42. Great post Pam!! There’s a ton of things I could write about with regard to what I thought was impossible but here are two!

    I thought it was impossible for me to start on my company for all the obvious reasons of where to start, what to do, money, a website, social media, on and on. And, I’m learning but I can say that inch by inch it comes together. Some days are a challenge but I know I’m getting my groove on this – Zumba style!

    And secondly, writing! I thought it was impossible for me to write more than a PowerPoint presentation in my corporate consulting life – which we all know what that means. I never thought of myself as a “real” writer. Now, I do. And, I intend to write a book. That was always an impossibility also. My website is up and running and I’m writing my head off and I love writing!

    Thanks Pam. Your insight is always so helpful!

    • Pamela says:

      I love it Kathy! Indeed, it is an inch by inch, row by row endeavor! Keep at it!

      And I love that you are waking up your inner writer. I was exactly the same — never thought of writing past boring corporate drivel. Then lo and behold, I started writing and before I knew it, had a book!

      Consider me one body in your evidence. 🙂

      xox,
      -P

  43. April says:

    Hi Pam,
    Thanks for your sharing your story! I have been studying Belly Dance for 6 years now. I am very passionate about it and share it with almost everyone. I am a member of 2 dance companies and also member of the Studio’s Entertainment Company which allows me to go on paid gigs. Never in my widlest dreams did I think I would be a performer. I always danced around my home and was a little shy to dance in public at times. I signed for my first Belly Dance because I needed to reconnect with myself, try something new and fun. It has been so rewarding! I guess Im trying to figure out what’s next for me? I work as a receptionist during the day at a law firm. It pays, but it doesn’t really serve me because I mostly just sit here with nothing to do. My job pays for my dance classes, costumes, rent, food, bills, etc. I want to become a full time dancer/teacher, but Im afraid I won’t make enough to support myself. I really want to empower women through this dance. I think about having a non-profit for teenage girls to help them shape their worlds and build self esteem. But my main problem is finance and having a solid idea. I have so many passions and Im afraid of abandoning one for the other. Other business ideas I have are having a small bed and breakfast here in DC or having a holistic spa. My overall focus is spiritual and physical well being, building lasting realtionships and helping empower and liberate women. I think Im afraid to go all the way with dance because of how good I might actually be/become. What if I get hurt and unable to dance anymore? My sisters tell me to keep my “good office job” because the benefits and health insurance are good. Im turning 30 in a month. Im healthy and have no children. I can’t even take full advantage of all the benefits because it’s just me. Im ready to take the leap and let go of this safety net!
    Light and Love,
    A

    • Pamela says:

      Hey April! Yay dance! You should check out Abigail, aka Asharah. She was a full-time government employee, and went full-time belly dancing awhile ago. She came to my Washington, DC book workshop. Great person!

      http://asharah.com/

      • April says:

        Thanks for replying, Pam! I have studied with her and follow her blog. She is one of my role models! Indeed a great person!

        • Rebecca says:

          Hi April,

          Just wanted to send some love to a fellow DC-area belly dancer!! I have some similar goals to yours and similar fears about whether they’re really possible.

          Best of luck to you!

  44. Greg says:

    Great timing.
    I have been reading your blog for a while and recently started reading your book.
    I keep getting to the almost of starting my “side Hustle” to test my theory that I have enough creativity and expertise in marketing and business development, and a real love for helping small business units grow and make some real change, that I could make the leap, even at a side level, but I keep giving myself an excuse not to because I think I am too old (49) or too busy, or too something. I think I need to find my “Body of Evidence.” Thanks for keeping me inspired!

    • Pamela says:

      Greg, I hear you! So many folks get stuck starting the side hustle. You can check out my Side Hustle and Flow Interview Series for some ideas, and here on the blog, there are a lot of folks who are doing them!
      http://www.google.com/search?q=side+hustle+and+flow&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

      Another shameless plug is for my Community — that is a great place to get some support for getting going on your side hustle. It is possible, and never too late! 🙂
      https://escapefromcubiclenation.com/join-the-community/

    • Paige says:

      Greg,
      It’s NEVER too late. I’m 43 and just launched my blog and business last month. I’ve been a finance exec. for over 20 years and am quite tired of it. I have never before done anything on the web and I just got into Facebook last year. I’m doing it all myself due to a tight budget – all while working a full time job and raising 3 little kids. Yes, it takes a lot of time and hard work, but being able to be home with my kids as soon as possible is SOOOO worth it!

      I think the biggest thing is just taking the first baby steps. What can you do today to move you forward? What can you learn? Who can you call? What else can you read? And keep taking those steps every day. I can’t believe how much I’ve accomplished in just one month by doing this. As the old saying goes: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

      Good luck!!

  45. Jami says:

    I love this story! Thank you for asking these questions. It’s helping me focus.

    I want to become a successful doula. Most people I know are not familiar with what a doula is or does (though insurance companies are starting to cover them), I do not have children yet, and well, there is no and. I would have to first educate myself, then start building clients and at the same time start educating the city on what doulas are. It’s a big job and I don’t have the least idea on how to really start.

    • Pamela says:

      Hi Jami, thanks for sharing your homework!

      I used a doula for my daughter’s birth, and she was amazing. I suggest vising the National Doula Association’s site to look up people close by in your area. http://www.dona.org/ . They may even have some training info.

      Best of luck – doulas rule!

    • You might try talking to Stacey Curnow. (@StaceyCurnow on Twitter, “Midwife for Your Life” [http://www.staceycurnow.com/blog/about/]is her blog.)

      She is a nurse-midwife as well as a life-coach, and might be able to steer you in some useful directions. 🙂

      Good Fortune to you! :>

    • My sister-in-law is using a doula for her birth. I know how it feels to be wanting to do something and it seems like no one around you even knows what that thing is, but part of that change toward your future is finding the community that knows your new identity. Hang out with yoga type people and do a goggle search for blogs about doulas. You might be surprised at the virtual friendships you make!

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