Over the last few weeks, I’ve mainly focused on our own internal struggles and insecurities that keep us from taking the necessary steps to better our situation. Our past failures, fear, and overall self-doubt make up just some of the voices that swirl around inside our head and keep our feet nailed to the floor. These voices must be silenced if you ever hope to pursue something your passionate about as a career. However there is something else that keeps us from taking the most thrilling leap of our lives. How do we silence the voices of those around us who want to keep us from believing we can achieve more?
If You Dare to Be Different, the Critics Will Come
They come in all shapes and sizes. It could be a co-worker, a friend, or maybe even a family member. They are people who don’t understand why you want to make a change in your life, or more accurately, they don’t WANT TO understand. The minute you start to challenge conventional wisdom and articulate your desire to do something differently, the people around you, who have no drive or desire to move forward in their own life, will automatically take offense. They see it as an attack on the way they’ve chosen to live their life.
I remember two separate occasions where a dear friend accused me of career sabotage and said that I was endangering my family’s financial well-being when I decided to change the way I operated my real estate business. God bless them, but they genuinely believed I was having a nervous breakdown because I dared to be myself and forego the tried and true marketing tactics of the average real estate agent.
Another person called me out on Facebook, claiming that I was bashing other agents’ methods by saying that I do things differently from other agents. I was simply pointing out the fact that most agents are trained to do things the same way as everyone else, whereas I am trying to stand out from among the hundreds of thousands of other agents in the industry. But again, I couldn’t make them see that I wasn’t attacking them or their way of doing things. I was merely emphasizing the philosophical differences.
Finding the Right People to Help You on Your Journey
That’s why you need to seek out like-minded individuals to help you on your journey. Preferably people who are further along in their journey and have a similar outlook on things.
Someone once said, “if you’re the smartest guy in the room, find another room.” I take that approach to pursuing my dream. If you are trying to improve your situation, then the best way to do that is to surround yourself with people who inspire you. People who are better than you, so that you can glean from their wisdom and experience.
“It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction.” – Warren Buffett
Many people don’t understand the entrepreneurial mind. Some write us off as unrealistic or idealistic. That is why it is so important that you find people who are headed in the same direction and will help you course correct when necessary.
Avoid “Yes Men”
“Whatever you do in life, surround yourself with smart people who’ll argue with you.” – John Wooden
Most people hate confrontation, so in order to avoid it, they simply surround themselves with cheerleaders or “YES MEN.” These traits are often lauded in the business under the guise of corporate BUY-IN, or being a TEAM-PLAYER. I cringe even writing those terms. When someone simply goes along with the overwhelming departmental agenda they are seen in a positive light and rewarded accordingly come annual review time. Now I’m a contrarian by nature, so I would often get myself into trouble within the business world because I would actually speak up in meetings when the facilitator asked if anyone had a question or concern.
Bosses don’t want disagreement, they want mindless worker-bees who will receive orders and not question the system. But if you want to truly change the direction of your life for the better, you must resist the urge to surround yourself with nice people who will never challenge you. Now my examples from earlier reflect the confrontation that comes when people who are not like-minded disagree on the course of action. The people we need in our lives must first know our core values and our outlook on life. Then we need to share with them our dreams and aspirations. It is from there that they can truly guide us on our journey, even it it means confronting us when our life does not align with our values and our actions are not helping us achieve our goals. When people know where we’re headed than they can show us the way. It’s of the utmost importance that we are surrounding ourselves with people who genuinely want to help us, not harm us. People that are going to give just as much as they get, if not more so.
Avoid “Debbie Downers”
The other kind of person you are best to avoid are the naysayers. The Eeyores. For too long you’ve been held back by your own negative perceptions, why would you now allow other people to hold you back because they are miserable with the direction of their life? These people often have all of the reasons why you SHOULDN’T do something, but make very little effort to contribute a better alternative.
They make excuses as to why their own life has not gone according to plan, and in turn try to project that outcome onto you. These people can suck the very life out of you and rob you of the joy of pursuing your passion. You know who I’m talking about. No doubt a number of individuals came to mind as you read this section. There is simply no good reason that these people should be included in the planning and execution of your life change. Ultimately, that may mean that you need to have a difficult conversation with some people as your passionate pursuit becomes more and more evident and they realize that they were not brought on board for the journey.
How to Attract the Right People
You may be wondering how all of this can be accomplished. How can you find the right people to help you on your journey? The answer is to outline and articulate your values and goals. These two things need to be clear in your mind so that you can then begin to craft your message…your story. Once it’s crafted, you need to begin proclaiming it to the world! People know what I stand for because I am outspoken and have clear convictions about education, careers, authenticity, and generosity. I blog regularly. I have a podcast. I am an open book. And when you share your story with the world, your story does most of the heavy lifting. By being authentic and generous with your time, talent and treasure, you’re going to find a whole community of like-minded people that you didn’t know existed.
For me, I don’t have a lot of friends that are doing what I’m doing. So that’s one of the reasons why I write this blog and make videos and produce the podcast. It is to attract like-minded people and build a community that will keep me focused, keep me honest, and help me along on my journey when things get difficult.
We were not created to live in isolation. We need others around us in order to thrive and to enjoy life to its fullest. The trouble is that those of us with entrepreneurial tendencies can sometimes be loners. Since we think differently than most, we tend to not “play well with others.” However, it’s integral to our growth that we not only find people who are like-minded, but that our main motivation in life be to put other’s ahead of ourselves. God said, “It is not good for man to be alone,” so He created us to be relational. This is why the only way we can find our true meaning and purpose in life is when we are in community with one another.
If you want to make a significant change in your life then you can’t do it alone. You have a hard road ahead of you. That’s why you need to find the right people to go to war with. People who can be trusted to have your back, but will also get in your face if necessary.
In order to attract the right people to you, then you need to decide who you are, and let the world know that you mean business.