“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 first shared my decision to quit my job to others, back in 2008. Many people felt I should continue on in my corporate career, because (a) I was earning a lot in my job, (b) my company was prestigious (I was working in a Fortune 100 company, Procter & Gamble), and (c) I was in a coveted role and it was seen as the golden path to success, especially in a place like Singapore.
Besides that, I was actually doing very well in my role and delivering great results PLUS I was getting along very well with my entire team of managers and co-workers, so it wasn’t like I was trying to quit because there were no prospects for me. Everything was basically set up for success.
Then there were other things people said to advise me against continuing on, like the impending economic recession (in fact, I quit *right* at the onset of the recession), my relative young age to be in the field of personal development (people kept saying I was too young and didn’t have enough experience, yada yada), perceived instability and uncertainty of my desired path (since I was starting my own business/practice, and had no experience doing so before), cutting off of my income stream (I would essentially be earning nothing for as long as it would take for me to achieve results), etc.
While all these were valid points no doubt, ultimately it was a matter of living in line with my life vision. I was very clear what I wanted to achieve in my life, 1, 3, 5, years from then – to be making a real difference in others’ lives, via helping them to 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 was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I already knew that this was the case, 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’s 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 keep taking action consistently.
If I ever felt that a particular person never had anything good/encouraging to say about what I was doing, I would simply stop talking about it with him/her (i.e. Tip #1 in 7 Tips to Tackle Naysayers: Safeguard your goals).
If I felt a particular group of people were not supportive in my path, I would meet up less often with them and find more like-minded people to connect with (during that time, it was via reaching out to fellow bloggers in the blogosphere). (i.e. Tips #2, #4, and #6 in 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 would have was a reflection of their own fears, not mine, and I didn’t want to be carrying those negative energy into my work, which was the most important thing I ever want to do in my life.
Ultimately it’s great if our friends and family can be supportive in 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 with their lives.
The most important thing is to always stay true to your vision for yourself. What is your true vision for what you want in your life? Know what are the things you can never compromise on, and stick with 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, never compromise on – I’d rather die than not pursue my life purpose. I also know my values can never be compromised on. These are the things I’d fight and defend with my life to uphold.
For sure, you don’t have to shut out opinions from others on these areas – Remain open to feedback from others, but at the same time evaluate them consciously. Understand the source of any concerns so you can address them accordingly (see tips #2 and #4 in 8 Helpful Ways To Deal With Critical People). Adapt your plans if needed, but only if it’s for the betterment of 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
- 8 Helpful Ways To Deal With Critical People
- 8 Simple Tips To Deal With Energy Vampires
- Why I Parted Ways With My Best Friend of 10 Years – On shedding friendships/relationships that are no longer fit with your values/vision in life
- How to Overcome Fear Of Loss And Pursue Your Dreams
- How to Deal with Unsupportive Friends and Family