“If I could do it all over again,” he said, “I wish I would have acted without the fear of what others thought.”
~ Sean Aiken, The One Week Job Project
What’s the one thing that holds you back from doing what you truly want to do?
The worry about what other people think.
If you look at your dreams and why you haven’t achieved them (or even started on them yet), I bet you will find that part of the reason is the impression you’ll leave on those around you.
I see it in my high school senior daughter.
- “I don’t like that shirt any more, someone laughed at it.”
- “What will my friends think if I go to this college?”
- “I can’t do that as a career, nobody at my school talks about that.”
And I see it every time I meet with a coaching client.
- “My parents just don’t understand why I would want to start my own business.”
- “I don’t want to seem pushy.”
- “What would I do if I really started making good money at this?”
And yes, I’ve seen it in my own life again and again.
When we were starting up our first business, we kept it on the side for a number of years. Most people assumed it was just a part time thing … we were making too much money and had too much “security” to give up our “real” jobs. Or so they thought. We fell into the trap of thinking it was a side business as well because no one around us had ever started up their own business before. We fell into the mindset of “its too risky” and “what’ll people think” again and again. What finally changed everything was seeing my Dad interview for his position again and again, year after year, sweating it out and hoping he’d make it to retirement. Now that was risky. And we decided we never wanted to be in that position. We changed. And most of our family and friends changed with us and accepted who we became. Those that were really against what we were doing weren’t friends anyway … and we’ve never looked back.
Fear is a natural part of our lives. We’ll always have fear; that’s what keeps us grounded. But when you let fear get in the way of moving forward, that’s when it holds you back … and it can be detrimental to whom you were meant to be.
We all want to be liked.
We all want to be respected within our own communities.
And we all internalize assumptions we assume others are making about us.
It’s easy to put off making a decision because we’re worried about what our friends will think. Or put off taking action when we think those around us won’t accept our new choices.
Yet the more we play those games, the less chance we have of truly finding ourselves.
And if we can’t find ourselves, lose who we are and are supposed to be, aren’t we in affect denying our true destiny?