Tough Love Tuesday | When Everyone Has An Opinion, Who Do You Listen To?
I will start by saying that this is an issue I personally don't have. I've listened to a lot of podcasts, and I've heard people talk about what other people think of them for pursuing their dreams and goals. They always tend to reference what people from high school will think or what their family thinks.
No shade to people I went to high school with, but I never think about them. Like, ever. Sometimes I completely forget I even went to high school. The same goes for college. I never wondered if my mother thought my career choices were a bad idea. And by the way, my mother is an artist so pretty much anything I chose to do would've been fine in her eyes. Except for that time in high school when I wanted to go to college to be a forensic psychologist. She thought that was weird.
Working for yourself is becoming more and more popular, but it is still the norm to work in a 9 to 5 traditional job. I live in a very progressive east coast city where pretty much everyone I know has their own business or a side hustle. So depending on where you come from and your current environment, going out on your own to create your own career may seem completely crazy. Add a barrage of voices and opinions coming at you from all directions, who deserves to have your attention?
If they have never walked on the same path you have (or even close), their opinion does not matter.
A big caveat: The only time I will say to listen to someone who is not doing what you are doing is if you are in an MLM (multi-level-marketing). Do listen to them and run the other way. Ok, back to my point.
People may be telling you not to pursue that big goal because your action is holding up a mirror to their inaction. They may feel like you will grow out of them. Honestly, you just might. There is nothing wrong with that. Humans are not meant to stay stagnant. If you are called to do more, then do more. Maybe your action will help the people watching you be inspired to take action of their own. If they do not, that's not your problem.
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." – Theodore Roosevelt, the Man in the Arena.
If you follow Brene Brown, you are very familiar with this quote. I ask you to listen to people who are in the place where you aspire to be. Only those who have ‘blood on their faces’, like you, have the merit to give input on what you're doing. That doesn't mean you have to ignore everyone aside from people who were doing bigger and better than you, but look at what commentary is worth more. Your mentors, business coaches, and fellow entrepreneurs are going to be the ones who are giving you the best insights and are helping you develop your business into something bigger than you ever thought possible.
If you know me, you may know that I hate the phrase "well-meaning." Well, that means nothing to me. Most people tend to act out of self-interest first. So, if someone is speaking negatively about your choices, look and see where they're coming from first. Do they know more about the subject that you do? Are they more well-versed in this situation? Is this a person that you've reached out to for advice in the past? Do you trust this person's opinions? Have they ever led you astray in the past? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you understand if someone is coming from the place of help or harm. Some people think they are giving you helpful advice, but they are just acting out because what you're doing is affecting them in some way. Some voices are easy to brush off, but some stay with you.
Figure out which voices are the ones that actually matter.