You wanted to write a computer app that would help people source jobs that fit them and your college roommates talked you out of it.
You wanted to marry someone who had a great love of adventure but you got married to whom you were dating at the time because your friends were getting married and thought it would be great to all get married in the same year.
You wanted to study writing in college so you could be a novelist; your family told you to stop be ridiculous and get a real job.
We get talked out of things all the time – even the important things. Though others may mean well, they offer advice to help us stay safe; they care about us and they don’t want us to do anything “foolish.” But staying safe frequently translates into living small, and living small means not living your dreams, abilities or potential. As Helen Keller said, “Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing.” But few of us would say life is a daring adventure; we’ve been talked out of it.
See, a great life is one that we define based on who we are – what we are good at, what we are passionate about and what matters to us. No one can fill in this information for us – only we can define what a great life must be for us. Though we each have the ability and responsibility to choose for our lives, we frequently give these away and blend into life. We weren’t born to blend; we were born to stand out by doing the things that matter and fit us.
Our dreams, desires and unique abilities create a roadmap for our definition of a great life. They are the clues about the things that resonate with us. Listen to these and we have the information we need to choose wisely in life. Don’t listen to these, or listen too much to others, and we quickly move off our road in life and onto theirs. As I told my kids, if you are on a road in life and find other footprints in it, you are likely on someone else’s road. Check in on you and what is important to you. It is likely you will find a virgin path waiting for your steps.
To help yourself find the courage to say what you want for your life and go get it (regardless of what others say) consider these three things:
- Know what makes you unique, different and amazing – your talents, strengths and passions. Embrace your uniqueness as your competitive advantage – your way to stand out and find your way in a world of 7.1 billion people. What is different about you is what is right about you. Knowing this gives you clarity.
- Know your world to discover and choose the places that need what you do best or will add to your definition of success and happiness. Find your place and direction in today’s world that needs the “you” that you defined in the step above. This creates possibilities.
- Connect the unique you to the real world to find those places that will allow you soar, find your fit and love your life. Define it. Post it. Think about it. Share it with others. Get excited about your vision. Be determined. This gives you focus.
The number 1 regret of the dying, shared in the powerful article, Regrets of the Dying, by Bronnie Ware, is “I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” Wow. Don’t wait until you are on your deathbed to say what you want for your life and go get it. Know what you want. Find a way to get it. Don’t get talked out of it.
You know you. Trust your judgment. Find places that fit you in today’s world that give you great joy, love and enthusiasm. Dance when others sit. Run when others walk. Sing when others grumble. Come out when others hide. Be grateful when others complain. Live out loud in your way, on your terms, at your speed. Don’t get talked out of it.
So open the bakery. Write the app. Marry who you love. Write the book. Travel the world. Be an accountant. Be a mortician. Be happy. Love your life. Help others learn to love theirs. Don’t get talked out of it. Ever.