“You have such an amazing blog and you’ve helped so many people around the world, it’s hard to imagine anyone discouraging you. But when you were first working on blog, did you have to deal with discouragement from any friends or family members? If so, how did you get through it to continue with your vision?
I ask because I have a project or two I’m working on and my family doesn’t seem that supportive. When do you take other people’s thoughts into consideration and when do you go with your gut?” — Tina
Hey Tina! Absolutely yes. I shared part of that in my article on naysayers.
The main source of discouragement came when I shared my decision to quit my job with others, back in 2008. Many people felt that I should continue on with my corporate career, because (a) I was earning a lot in my job, (b) my company was prestigious (I was working in Procter & Gamble, which was considered a top company to work at in the mid-2000s), and (c) I was in a coveted role and on the management track. Basically, I was seen as being on the golden path to success, especially in a place like Singapore.
Besides that, I was doing very well in my role and getting along with my managers and colleagues. It wasn’t like I wanted to quit because I hated my job or my co-workers. Everything was going well in my job.
Then there were other things that people said to stop me from quitting, like there was an impending economic recession, my relatively young age to be in the field of personal development (people kept saying that I was too young and didn’t have enough experience), the perceived instability and uncertainty of my desired path (since I was starting my own business and practice, and had no experience doing so before), and I would have no income (I would be earning nothing until my business succeeded), etc.
While all these were valid points, ultimately it was a matter of living in line with my life vision. I was very clear about what I wanted to achieve in my life one, three, five years from then — to make a real difference in others’ lives, by helping them grow and live their best lives. I was very clear about my life purpose — to grow and help others grow. I was very clear that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I already knew that even before I joined P&G, as I detailed in Two Important Things that Led Me to Discover My Real Purpose and Living in Alignment with Your Purpose (parts 4 and 7 of the Discover Your Life Purpose series).
Because I was so clear on my vision, other things didn’t matter. Others’ attempts to discourage or sway me from my path didn’t work. I would simply focus on my vision, formulate my plans, and take action consistently.
If I ever felt that a particular person had nothing good or encouraging to say about what I was doing, I would simply stop talking about it to him/her (i.e. Tip #1 of 7 Tips to Tackle Naysayers, which is to safeguard your goals).
If I felt that a particular group of people was not being supportive of my path, I would meet up less often with them and find more like-minded people to connect with (during that time, I would reach out to fellow self-help bloggers in the blogosphere) (i.e. Tips #2, #4, and #6 of 7 Tips to Tackle Naysayers).
In doing so, I was able to make quick progress in my goals. Because I was channeling all my energy into bringing my vision to life vs. wasting my time/energy being fearful/concerned/worried about what others said/thought. Whatever concerns others had was a reflection of their fears, not mine, and I didn’t want to carry those negative energies into my work, which is the most important thing I ever want to do in my life.
Ultimately it’s great if our friends and family can be supportive of what we do, but sometimes that doesn’t happen. After all, everyone has different agendas and values, so we can’t expect others to be 100% on board with what we have planned. Likewise, we are never going to be 100% on board with what our friends and family have planned for their lives.
The most important thing is to always stay true to your vision for yourself. What is your true vision for your life? Know what are the things you can never compromise on, and stick to them. As for the other things, they are malleable and hence can be compromised on, since they don’t make up your core self.
For me, I know that my life purpose is something I can never, ever compromise on — I’d rather die than not pursue my life purpose. I also know that my values can never be compromised. These are the things I’d fight and defend with my life to uphold.
For sure, you don’t have to shut out others’ opinions in these areas.
- Remain open to feedback from others, but at the same time evaluate them consciously.
- Understand the source of any concerns so that you can address them accordingly (see tips #2 and #4 of How To Deal With Critical People: 8 Tips).
- Adapt your plans if needed, but only if it helps your end vision.
- Discard the nonconstructive feedback at the end of the day.
All the best Tina, and let me know how it goes!
The following articles will be very helpful:
- 8 Tips To Tackle Naysayers
- How To Deal With Critical People: 8 Tips
- 8 Simple Tips To Deal With Energy Vampires
- Why I Parted Ways With My Best Friend of 10 Years – On shedding friendships that have become toxic for your growth
- How To Overcome Fear Of Loss And Pursue Your Dreams
- How To Deal With Unsupportive Friends and Family