• Melissa Mansfield

How to Follow Your Passion in Times of Uncertainty

"Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity."



It's easy to get paralyzed when your plans are falling through or your dreams might be getting deferred because of factors beyond your control, such as....a worldwide pandemic.


But, that doesn't mean you stop, It doesn't mean you stop planting the seeds for those dreams to flourish. It doesn't mean you stop preparing. Because this too shall pass, and when it does, you can be ready.


At least that's the mentality I'm trying to adopt as I struggle with the uncertainty we're facing with the effects of COVID-19 (#coronavirus). At the moment, I'm in New York City practicing extensive social distancing in order to "flatten the curve". I'm working from home every day and only going out for essential shopping or medical appointments, and to get occasional fresh air. I'm hoping that if we all do this we can indeed prevent the kind of extreme measures and tragic outcomes that Italy and other countries have had to face.


But I'm not so sure. I don't know if it's too late. I don't know if enough other New Yorkers are doing the same. (Although at this point, with all restaurants, bars, theatres and schools closed, they don't have much of a choice.)


Maybe in two weeks, NYC will be under the same kind of quarantine that Italy is. Maybe in a few months we'll plummet into a recession. Everything is uncertain and it's easy to get overwhelmed by fear.


For so many of us, this feeling of powerlessness and fear in the face of so many immense factors beyond our control is new. For many of us, it isn't.


I've always enjoyed a lot of freedom to follow what sparked my curiosity and passion - mainly, travel and dance. The main obstacle was usually just my own mind - my fears, worries or self-doubt. I come from a financially stable family and I've always been very good about saving money, as well as finding secure jobs and affordable housing.


This time feels different. All of my plans for the year for my dance and travel life, including a return trip to Havana, are up in the air. And I don't know what to do.


So I have a choice: I can worry and ruminate and catastrophize about all of the bad things that could happen that could prevent me from continuing to pursue my dreams of dancing. (On top of stressing out about the safety of my friends and family around the world.)


Or, I can use this time to get prepared.


  • I can write more, share more, dance more (at home of course :))

  • I can look into the new computer equipment and website development that I've been putting off.

  • I can research speaking opportunities.

  • I can network online with people I've been meaning to reach out to for ages.

  • I can prioritize daily meditation, physical therapy/exercises and basic self-care - things that almost always get pushed to the side with a constantly busy work and social schedule.

  • I can clean and organize my home to feel more peaceful and productive.

  • I can study more to improve my Spanish.


Basically, I can do all of the things that I feel like I don't have enough time for when I'm running around like crazy - living a typical over-busy New York life - but that I know are essential to progressing in my career and lifestyle goals. And the great thing about being a charmingly disorganized and procrastinating Libra? I've got A LOT of projects to keep me occupied :D


I still won't know when or how life will change in the coming weeks or months, or how many restrictions might be put on my freedom to travel and dance. But whatever happens won't last forever. And when the right opportunities start popping up again, I'll be prepared.


Will you?


xoxo

Melis


PS: What are you doing during this time of uncertainty to continue to nurture your dreams and passions? Tell me in the comments!


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Need something fun, positive and inspiring to binge during this time? Check out my web series about dancing around the world - starting in Havana and Buenos Aires.



© Follow My Lead and Melissa Mansfield 2010 - 2018

Photo credits: Sophia Heinke and Diana Manning

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