It’s a week for some intense introspection. It’s October, I’m wearing layers and a scarf, my horse is getting fuzzy, my birthday is around the corner, and my coffee has never tasted better. Are we all ready?
I recently met a barista with a passion for film photography that had more money invested in old camera bodies than I have in my entire business, but was studying for an accounting degree because his father said there was no money in art.
I met a man that spent every lunch hour working on a novel that he said he’d probably never show anyone.
During my trip to NY, I met a woman who wanted to launch a photography business, but was afraid. For lots of reasons. But afraid just the same.
This is a little piece for you three, and for the naysayers in your lives.
Naysayers come in every shape and size. They are the people we meet in line at the grocery store, they are our teachers, our co-workers, our best friends, our old friends, our spouses, our parents, the other mom’s at daycare or the PTO meeting you’re usually late for – and they live in us. Here’s my instruction to you. Kick them out of your life, right now. Yes. Right this minute.
You might not kick them physically out of your life, (I mean, you could, but I hear divorce is expensive and who wants to change grocery stores?) – but you can still end your relationship with the naysayer in these people, including yourself – effectively, firmly, and in a way you can feel good about. Obviously, when we’re starting a new venture, we don’t want to turn our back on the world, we need support! We need a cheering section of unwavering believers to keep us on course during the days where quitting seems by far the best idea we’ve had. I’m going to let you in a couple of secrets, a way to turn those naysayers into the biggest believers, the biggest cheerleaders you’ve ever had.
1. Stop waiting for validation.
We’re all human, and we all looooooove us some validation. I can say this, because I could eat validation three meals a day, I crave it the same way I crave my morning coffee. When we start waiting for it though, we are no longer moving forward, and we lose our ability to innovate and inspire. We become dependent. We give away our power every time we speak an uncertainty, and hope for a validation in return. We’re waiting for PERMISSION to embody our own plans…and that just won’t do. The only permission you need in this life is your own. Period. End.
2. Make a plan.
Talk is cheap. Everyone says this, right? Well this is not so much THEE plan, as it is A plan. Any plan. Often times we’re so overwhelmed by the idea that we have to create this perfect strategy for our dreams, and for the love of starbucks it had better work…the first time…because God forbid we have to adjust our sails and admit it our miserable, wretched failure to the world.
That’s a smidge dramatic, right? Well so is believing that you need to have the perfect plan in order to launch a dream. There are no perfect plans. It will not go the way you saw it going. It will fall apart before it all comes together. You will want to quit and want to go back to stocking the denim wall at the Gap because there is guaranteed success at some point there (or maybe that was just me). In the end, however, you will have learned. You will have grown. You will be, at a minimum, one step close to being the artist, the accountant, the wine maker, the novelist, and the person that you dream of being. That is worth a thousand sail adjustments. First however….you must BEGIN.
3. Break up with ‘failure’.
The word ‘failure’ is the world’s worst boyfriend. THEE WORST. It’s the trifecta of shit relationship qualities. Emotional abuse, check. Physical abuse, check. Oh…and failure is NOT good looking, doesn’t drive a nice truck, and never brings you flowers.
Seriously though. I’ve been battling with the idea of failure for, like, ever. When I started out, I was surrounded by people who just looooved that word. “What if it fails?” “Isn’t it depressing that your plan failed?” “Don’t you hate it when a plan fails?”
Ugh already with the ‘fail’ word.
I don’t believe in failure. I believe in opportunity. I also believe that knowing the difference – KNOWING the difference, and believing in it with your whole heart, is the key to your success. I don’t believe that I can fail. It just isn’t possible. When it looks like my current strategy needs some adjustment, I make it. Then I get my happy bum to work. Hard. I think it’s wild that in this economy, anyone EVER complains about work. There are people who would give limbs for your job as a door greeter, a french fry maker, a hammer swinger, a teacher, a popper scooper, and even…yes…a photographer. Hard work is a beautiful opportunity. Seize it, embrace it, and give yourself to it. You will not be disappointed. Your plan may change and evolve with my life and ever changing circumstances, but you will not fail. Use each experience to create opportunity for yourself, personally and professionally. Create some space for yourself and journal your thoughts and new insights. (see next bullet). I don’t believe in failure…and much like the boogeyman…if you don’t believe in it, then poof. It no longer exists.
4. Put yourself on top.
In the bedroom, and in life.
In relation to this piece however; I mean it in terms of life. This is for everyone, but especially for you moms out there. I love this line from one of my favorite movies – wise Blythe Danner says “Sacrificing everything in our life for our children isn’t selfless, it’s ridiculous.” It perpetuates the idea that we as individuals are not important…which just could not be further from the truth. Are we strongest in numbers? Absolutely. However, a group of strong, passionate individuals united under any cause will always find a victory. Just as the saying goes about relationships (and I am HUGE…HUGE cheerleader of this) – ‘You have to be ok alone before you can be ok with someone else.’…and ‘You must have love for yourself before you can love another.’ BOTH applicable here. You have to put yourself on the top of the to-do list. Your dreams. Your needs. Your health. Your family. Create space for yourself. You deserve it…and you deserve to not feel badly for one second about wanting it.
Often I’ll get some raised eyebrows from moms, dads, grandmas and the like around this idea. Here’s my bottom line. If we are not taking care of ourselves first, we are doing an absolute disservice to everyone in our life. Our families, our spouses, our children, our friends, our clients, and the lovely person that is so artfully making our coffee so that we can take off and be amazing all day long. If we are not our best selves; if we do not BELIEVE that we are WORTH being our best selves…if we do not PUT FORTH THE EFFORT to be everything we are capable of being….then how, friend, how are we to inspire those around us to believe in our dreams with us?
You are the lead in this movie. You are Robin Hood, stealing the words failure, can’t, settle, complain, stupid, never, won’t, and the like from the naysayers (even yourself); and turning them into Love. Faith. Can. Will. Dream. Hope. Support. Inspire. Drive. Motivate. Believe.
Take those words, and give them to the naysayers. The nonbelievers in your life. Be a force so strong that they can’t help but fall in line. The ones that don’t, you ask? Maybe they’re not ready…and that’s not your burden to carry. Move on, and wish the best of them…because we all deserve it. The love we give is a direct reflection of the love we are capable of receiving. We must give love to receive love. We must spend money to make money. We must inspire if we wish to be inspired.
I say this often, and some people laugh at me, but I believe in everyone I meet. I believe in each of you, and all that you are capable of, with my whole heart. You can change yourself. You can change your life. The minute you do so, you are changing the world…because you, and everything you do each day, is a part of this picture. You effect everything you touch…and everything you touch is a part of the this spinning, tumbling, fantastic universe we are sharing. Right this second, I’m sitting at my alternate command post (the house of the green mermaid), watching about 8 baristas busting their tails to serve the line of approximately three billion people who all wanted their coffee about 10 minutes ago. As I watch each of them; I see their eyes. I watch them move…and I can see that there is a person there…radiating…pulsing. Watch the people around you. Be inspired by the knowledge that each of us are dreaming up something incredible for our lives right now. Isn’t that amazing?? Right now, right this second, people everywhere are dreaming up something BIG for themselves..and maybe even something big for all of us. If that doesn’t get you moving friend – then you need an add shot in your coffee.
Freedom, love, and hard work.