We all have dreams that keep us up at night and passions that drive us. There are things we do come naturally to us and bring us incomparable joy. It might be creating a painting from a blank canvas, putting words on a blank page, organising an event from an idea to execution, MC’ing an event, creating clothes from reams of fabric, solving a problem that exists through a business solution, giving presentations in power suits, etc. Whatever it is we must be sure to not only chase our passions, but also steel ourselves against the resistance that arises.
Fueling our passions is multi-fold. Living our dreams and not giving up during its formative stages is important. However, we must also be sure that we are mentally and emotionally prepared to stay the course. There is often opposition along the way – which is to be expected. Not everyone will understand our calling, and not everyone will support our dreams. There are those who will want to crumple our blueprints and toss them in the trash, deeming them unworthy of attention or devoid of talent. This does not matter. What does matter is how we react to these naysayers. And rather than collapse crying or be tempted to throw our [passion] baby out with the [negative] bathwater, we need to be proactive in our approach.
It is hard to drown out voices. Hard to ignore criticism. Even when we recognize that it has no value it is still hard to get those words out of our head. This is why it is of utmost importance to build our version of ourselves up, to build our version of our visions up, so that when the negativity comes what is within acts like a force field that does not allow whatever that was said to land and affect our ultimate objectives.
There are famous adages that seem to provide obvious advice and are easy to say such as, “Do not let the world tell you who you are.” “No one can make you feel inferior without consent.” “It does not matter what they call you, it only matters what you answer to.” These are all easy to digest catch phrases but when put in a real life situation it is harder to regurgitate these nuggets of wisdom. It is hard because when that lump is already in one’s throat and that knot is already tied in the pit of one’s stomach it feels there is no passageway through which these passages can rise and work their “feel good” magic.
First of all you must have already decided that your passions are more important than the opinions of others. You must decide that to live in your version of your destiny is more important than to check off the boxes other people have created for you. You must really want to arrive at the destination your passion pulls you in and realise that you might lose the support and respect of friends and family along the way – and you have to be okay with that.
When it comes to fueling your passion and connecting based on your purpose you must be a savage in deciding who to share you dreams, your progress, your achievement and your failures with. You must assess your company and identify supporters, detractors, and neutralists. You must honestly assess yourself and determine if you fall squarely in the supporter category. If not then you must either abandon your mission entirely or adjust your vision, passion and positive messaging until you become your biggest cheerleader.
You must be willing to go where you are going, regardless of who is going with you. You must be willing to put in the work regardless of who will cheer you on along the way. You must get your deepest beliefs about your dreams and your purpose from within, and not rely on anyone else to cheer you on or tell you how great you are doing. If the people who support you stop supporting you will your dreams still matter to you? If the career you were aspiring to attain was no longer popular or considered of great importance by society would you still want to attain it? What is motivating you towards your goal? Is it something you really want or something you think others will approve of or rate you for?
You must refuse to waste time trying to get people to buy into your vision or to validate the worth of your plans or your self. You must decide that it is worth it and anyone who cannot appreciate that must be to a degree marginalised out of that area of your life.
There are many people who have made it today only because they were willing to let go of the support, respect, expectations and encouragement of those who did not believe in them. In a similar fashion you have to decide if you are ready to stick with your own vision and dreams, letting your talent guide you into the life you were destined for. It is never too late, but you do need a certain level of commitment, focus, stubbornness and self-belief to go the distance. Are you ready? Are you steady? Then let’s go!