How many times has this scene occurred in your life:

You stumble upon a great [idea, job, mate, car, event, whatever]. You’re totally psyched about it and can’t wait to take the next step. But then, somewhere in the back of your mind (or out of the mouth of a so-called trusted friend/colleague/partner/parent/sibling) the following thought is uttered: “What will [fill in whoever or whatever] think?”

Immediately, you stop your momentum, and self-doubt and excuses begin to enter into your mind grapes.

Mind Grapes - Tracy Jordan (30 Rock)

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I’ve got a hard truth to share with you, and I know it may be difficult to accept…No One is Thinking About You.

The Fallacy of ‘Friends’

I know what’s going through your head right now…”How can you say that? I have tons of friends and followers on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapchat, [and whatever other social media platforms people are spending their time on]! Plenty of people care about me! Look how many likes and shares I get!”.

Yeah, about that…social media following and interaction is not the same as people actually taking time out of their day to think (or form an opinion worth acknowledging) about what you’re doing. We’re all too busy trying to keep up with our own lives, jobs, families, friendships, side hustles, and so on. How many times have you expelled precious time and energy thinking about what someone who you sort of know or were friends with in high school has decided to do with their lives? Exactly. 

“Ok, but what about my actual friends and family? They definitely think about me and I absolutely care what they may think of my [idea, business, endeavor, etc.].” You’re 100% correct. The opinions and feedback from those with whom you’re closest to should certainly matter…but probably not with as much weight as you think.

Check Your Source

“It never ceases to amaze me: we all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinion than our own.” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations (Book Twelve)

The truth is, if you allow fear or concern of what others may think stymie the pursuit of your passions and what will provide true fulfillment in your life, then you are presuming an outcome that may in no way align with reality. In addition, you should not let the opinions of individuals who do not have a vested interest in you be the reason for your inaction. They don’t truly care about your success, so why should you care about what they think?

During a recent podcast episode from Building a Story Brand with Donald Miller, Olympic figure skater Scott Hamilton, in reflecting on his [by other’s opinions, impossible] quest for gold, he teaches us the importance of ‘editing our critics’. If whatever they may say does not affect your approach or intention, then it’s worthless and should make no difference in your pursuit of what drives you. If it won’t help improve or correct what’s needed to get you closer to your goal, then it has no value. Scrutinize the feedback you’re being provided (be it externally or from your own inner critic) to determine if it is worth applying – is it simply noise, naysaying, or valuable insight?

Stop blaming the so-called ‘peanut gallery’ as the reason you’re not progressing with your goals and deepest desires. It’s lame…and you’re not lame…you’re a kick-ass dream[build]er, who has a definite chief aim and purpose.

“It’s For Your Own Good”

The truth is that most people are risk averse; therefore, when you come up with an innovative or unconventional idea or pursuit, through their ‘feedback’ they may be trying to simply protect you from a presumed inevitable failure. AirBnB is a perfect example of an idea that, ten years ago, most of us would have said would never take off. Who in their right mind would let perfect strangers come stay in their home or rent out a room? A whole lot of them (including many, if not most, of you dear readers), it seems. Even now, many of us would probably select a stranger’s home to staying in an established hotel brand room on our next vacation.

In addition, you may have people in your life, even close or longtime friends and family, who are suspicious or uncomfortable of your actual or potential success. Misery [and mediocrity, predictability, safety] most definitely loves company. While it may be easier said than done (I’ll be sharing some of the best resources I’ve come across soon), you may need to distance yourself from those individuals while in pursuit of your endeavors; else, their continual ‘feedback’ may create too much static and interference, clouding your vision with pollution and haze.

Create Team: You

Here’s the deal: If you want to have a space where you can share your dreams and ideas with others in order to receive constructive, actionable feedback and criticism (vs. naysayer negativity and doubt), form what Napoleon Hill calls a “Master Mind“. At its core, this group of individuals should be people whom you admire and respect, have knowledge of or resources available to aide in your particular pursuit, and who are genuinely interested and supportive of your desires to succeed.

This group should not be a bunch of passive people-pleasers and Yes men (or women). The folks you recruit to be in your ‘team’ should be willing and ready to be present, speak up, challenge you, and be your biggest cheerleaders as you progress along your journey from dreaming to building and executing.

So, in order to take your amazing ideas and move towards realization and fulfillment, remember to:

  • Stop focusing on what other people may think
  • Listen to your inner dream[build]er
  • Change the channel on the negative feedback (be it from yourself or others who do NOT have your best interest in mind)
  • Create a team of like-minded, knowledgeable, and supportive success collaborators

By taking these first few steps, you’ll be on your way to transforming your desires and dreams into reality.

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