One of the most exhausting and frustrating parts of attempting to make something of yourself is the need to constantly have to prove yourself. Or, perhaps even having to explain yourself drives you up the wall. In those moments, I stop and remind myself that everyone who has ever made any kind of dent in this universe has had to face this obstacle. Have you ever tried to write a book? Shoot a movie? Design a clothing line? Or, start your own business? Have you wrestled with the pressure of not only self-doubt, but the doubt of those closest to you? Then you’re in good company.
Following your dreams can be lonely
You know that moment you come up with a brilliant, seemingly Earth-shattering idea?! That spark in your mind and heart goes off, and you can’t wait to share this new found genius with everyone you know. Naturally, you turn to the person or people closest to you, usually a friend or family member, and to your dismay, your passion and enthusiasm is met with nothing more than a nonchalant, apathetic reaction mixed with confusion, and/or maybe even some discouragement. Nothing hurts more than the lack of support and understanding from those you care most about. Is it human nature for those who know you the best, or think they know you, to automatically think you’re unqualified or unable to follow through?
You might have heard of this Jewish guy who grew up to eventually be one of the history’s most notable figures; in fact, billions of people to this day believe he was killed and came back to life, saving them from eternal damnation. Well, would it surprise you to know that even this guy’s family didn’t believe in him (not at first, at least)! It’s true, Jesus‘ own family didn’t believe in his passion as the Son of God, or his purpose to save the world. I get it, it probably sounded outrageous at the time (and still does to millions around the world), but the point is, sometimes those closest to you will be the very last to understand you, believe in you, and much less, support you.
“No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world”. For even his brothers did not believe him. – John 7:4-5 (NIV)
Luckily, Jesus didn’t let the doubt and disbelief of his family get to him. He managed to brush it off, move forward, and went on to create a movement that would ultimately change the course of humanity. But, he was the Son of God! What about us lowly, regular people? How are we supposed to move forward with our dreams, goals, and missions while being surrounded by the doubt of those closest to us?
Find your squad. They’re out there.
Years ago I founded an online magazine. I enthusiastically shared my idea with my family only to be met with confusion, laughs, and discouragement. Years later, stepping out and starting something despite the lack of support I received has opened up so many doors for me. In fact, my current job is a direct result of me taking that leap of faith.
The support I didn’t get from my family, who only seem to believe in the traditional path to success (i.e. pursuing a career as a doctor, lawyer, engineer, or accountant), I managed to receive from complete strangers. To my surprise, people were picking up what I was putting out. I had loyal readers, viewers, and supporters who propelled me to keep pushing on. If you consider the story of Jesus, he too went out beyond his own family and sought followers and gained support from complete strangers. He formed a band of misfit disciples, all of whom went on to spread his gospel and gave up their lives for the cause. And, suffice to say, what Jesus ventured out to start is still being carried out millennia later by those diehard fans and followers.
Get out there and find your cheerleading squad! Most times, the greatest support and encouragement comes from the least expected sources. Having the understanding and support of your family is amazing, but it’s not the only formula for success. Find what you need, and don’t let the disbelief of those closest to you hold you back.
Push past the naysayers
If I’m going to be transparent here, I’ll tell you that every day I wake up, I’m afraid of putting myself out there and feeling like a fraud. Like all of you reading this blog, or listening to my podcast, or following me on social media are thinking, “who does she think she is?“, “who is she to tell me what to do with my money?“, or “what has she even done in business to have any opinion on it?“. These are all the nagging thoughts that I have to fight every time I sit at my computer, clunk away at these keys, and hope that my words are resonating with someone out there. I haven’t yet reached the point where people are actually saying these things to my face, or writing them in comment threads, as I know other successful people have heard. But, I’m trying to overcome those demons in my own head in order to develop the thick skin that I’ll need to keep going, despite the negativity that may come as I plough my way to the top.
It’s easy to become discouraged when you post a blog post you worked on for hours or even days on social media and get seemingly zero engagement or interaction from your community. It’s easy to become disheartened when you ask people if they saw, read, or listened to your work, and they hadn’t. It’s easy to want to quit when you feel think to yourself, “what’s the point?”. I’ve come to realize that the point is this: regardless of who is on the other end of this post, I’m meant to do this.
I’m not happy unless I do this.
Unless I write.
Unless I express myself.
Unless I help someone.
This is what keeps me up at night.
This is what I want.
What do you want? What is that thing in that back of your mind and heart that you’re too afraid to put out into the world? What’s holding you back? Who’s holding you back? Push past those voices telling you, “you can’t do it”, whether it’s your own voice, or the voices of those who think they know you best. Do it anyway, and let the accolades start flooding in.
Here are some uplifting words I’ve recently received from strangers:
- You’ve got a real talent for writing and your passion comes through very clearly – keep it up and good luck!
- I think you are a very talented person.
Here’s to holding fast to encouragement, and pushing past apathy and disbeliefs…