I have to share that the big lump that I had in my throat when I shared about all of the jobs I’ve had and how they’ve led me to where I am today, it was there for a reason. I haven’t always been surrounded by people who cheer me on. It wasn’t as if at every job change people around me were shouting congratulations or saying way to go. Looking back, I recall it felt like quite the opposite. To me, the more I searched for my calling and changed employment situations, the more eye rolls and “you’re working where and doing what now?” reactions I would receive. I actually specifically remember someone describing what I did as “she’s doing event decorating now, but she did go to college”. Like what?! Why would my branching out to try to do an event business on my own warrant a descriptor of having a college degree? Oh and when I sold my car and got a newer one years back, it was pointed out that I just change everything all the time. But, does anyone keep the same car forever?
I couldn’t help any of it though. I was on a journey to get somewhere (at the time I couldn’t see exactly where) and so I was just following an illusive path to the best of my ability.
I’ve always wanted to do my best and I’ve always been a dreamer. To this day I still am always working hard, conjuring up the next greatest idea in my mind or talking to Mark about fantasies such as owning a vineyard and winery in Napa. (Sounds so dreamy, right?) The thing about being a dreamer + a seeker of those dreams though, is that not everyone is going to follow along. Some people are going to hear you talk about your dreams and think “not again” or “that will never happen”. They might actually try to talk you down and become a naysayer or they may just fall in the category of non-supporter.
If you’re shaking your head yes because you have those N’s in your life but you want to pursue something – a passion, a goal, a dream — you’re in the right place. If you don’t have a path of new discovery ahead of you, apply this all to motherhood. We certainly know there are many naysayers and non-supporters regarding mama choices. It’s like we can’t escape them sometimes.
My girls, I’ve got you though. I feel you. I get it. I’ve been through it (and go through it). Don’t let them get you down. Instead, learn from me and p u r s u e o n.
These lessons I’ve learned about naysayers and non-supporters, these are for you, my girls. The girls who dream big and work hard and are pursuing their passions. The ones who are perfectionists and want other people to be happy. The ones who mostly overthink things, are slightly indecisive and can’t just run with an idea quickly because they always want it to be their best work. The girls who research and find inspiration and make notes + plans + seek opinions. The ones who are taking purposeful steps in their lives and want each one of them to count. The girls who believe in learning from their journey and their mistakes, but are somewhat fearful of the judgment or criticism of others.
Here’s what I have to tell you, girls…
|1| Safeguard your goals.
Say you’re at the beach and you’re building a really big sandcastle but someone continuously pours a bucket of water over the top of it. At first it just soaks in, but eventually it makes the castle crumble. You still build and build relentlessly because after all, you want to do your best work, but as the water continues to pour, the foundation crumbles too. You’re left with clumpy sand, major frustration and feelings of failure.
That is exactly what happens if you let the naysayers and non-supporters rule over your goals. If you listen to them or let their negative vibes soak in those goals at all, you’ll be pouring a toxic solution over your dreams. But this time, you’ll be left with crumbled self confidence and little to no motivation because your mind will keep repeating “should I still do this? Is it worth it?” all as a result of them.
Your goals are precious. They are yours. Be selective about who you share them with, especially in the beginning and vulnerable stages.
(Side note to insert here: Beyond that initial stage, when your castle is built to a substantial point when a little water poured on top won’t destroy it, SHARE your goals with anyone and everyone to garner MORE support, just filter through the N’s in that process. Let the N’s and their criticisms roll off your shoulders at that point.)
|2| Consider the advice.
This doesn’t come easy. Naturally, if someone were to tell me they aren’t supportive of what I’m doing, I would get a bit (a lot?!) defensive. Through this journey though, I’ve learned that I need to pause and reflect because a lot of what we can get defensive about may actually be a learning opportunity. And, sometimes, others’ questions raise very good and valid points.
Rather than let the N’s get me down right away, I try to ask myself some of the following questions:
- Who is this advice coming from + are they living the life I want for myself?
- Is this person successful in the goal I’m pursuing or do they have knowledge or expertise in the area?
- Is there any validity to the words?
- Will applying the advice make me better off?
- Is the advice coming from a place of fear or love?
Recognizing the truth in these answers has helped me acknowledge who I should listen to and who I should not. If the answers are no’s + fear, kick them to the curb.
|3| Filter them out.
Naysayers and non-supporters aren’t going to bring joy to your life or keep you on a successful path of accomplishing your goals. They are going to become blockades, hindering your process and darkening your outlook. You need to remove them from the equation.
When I type that out it seems so concrete, black and white, simple. But in reality, it’s quite gray, complicated, messy. There are N’s in our lives that are people who are very close to us. Perhaps they are close friends or even family members and that… that can be HARD. The feeling (and reality) of not being able to share our goals and wildest dreams with people we love so dearly without being + feeling discouraged is sad. It feels like a loss, really. It’s hard to create those lines and boundaries in relationships that are close and really not fun to do so. When you’re doing something big and it’s taking up space in your mind and time in your life, you want to share it. But I’ve learned that sharing it with everyone isn’t good because “everyone” would mean the N’s too. So, as I’m on a path to pursue a dream and find my success, I’m trying to keep my chin up and eyes on the larger possibilities of life so I may be more steadfast in my goals. Rather than think and feel sad about “Oh I can’t talk to —— about what is going on”, I focus on those who I can talk to.
|4| Surround yourself with the right people.
There are going to be people who cheer for you, offer to help you and can’t wait to see you succeed. There are going to be those who want to help you learn, who share their own mistakes with you so you don’t make them too and build you up in the best ways possible. There are going to be people who want to be with you every step of the way and who want to talk about what you’re doing and dreaming of. They will ask you about your dreams and want to know updates. They will get excited with you and for you and tell others out of love and support. THESE ARE YOUR PEOPLE.
I remember hearing once that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with and I’ve tried to take that to heart. Choosing to spend time with people who will RAISE your average (rather than the N’s that will bring you down) is a wise and healthy choice for you AND your goals.
Words to my girls:
This hasn’t all come easy. These have been lessons learned over time. Over heartbreak and tears. And lots of questionably wrong turns in my path because I listened to the wrong (N) people. I’m truly hoping this list of things I’ve learned spares you some of the above and gives you a pep in your step.
Your dreams are worth it.
Words to our N’s:
Step off our coattails, we are about to fly.
P.S. Come back Monday for some of the greatest inspiration for women who want to pursue their passions from others who actually are. ❤️