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How To Succeed When Your Loved Ones Don’t Believe In You

How To Succeed When Your Loved Ones Don’t Believe In You

The sad truth is that the people who are supposed to support you the most often don’t believe in your crazy dreams.

Your eyes are filled with wonder, your mind with potential, your heart full of daring. You approach your loved ones and tell them what you want to do.

This isn’t always the standard response, but their response could go a little something like this:

Parents: they hear your idea and are still for a moment. They sneak a glance at one another and try to communicate between their looks. They’re saying to each other:

“What do we say? Quick!

“I don’t know — you talk first.”

Then, as gently as they can, they start their spiel.

“OK dear/son/honey, that’s great! It sounds like an amazing idea.” They try to muster up the enthusiasm, but the statement falls flat.

Friends: you get an opportunity to talk about what you have been up to. Depending on how close they are to you, they’ll tell you outright, “what are you on?”

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If they’re not as close, they might just stare at you and try to figure out what to say to you. Like your parents, they might feign interest. They may be skeptical and say, “riight. And how exactly are you going to do that?”

This response actually isn’t that bad. They’re challenging you and forces you to come up with legitimate reasons and responses to their questions.

Spouse: they are your life partner. They love you for who you are and should learn to understand you as you grow and change… right?

It depends on their risk appetite. If you’re anything like my wife and I, one of us prefers stability and predictability. The other thrives in the unknown and acknowledges that stability and predictability are a facade that society creates.

Mentioning your dream can be awkward. Like your parents, they might try to be supportive of you. In the back of their mind, they know that as long as you persevere, you’re in it for the long haul.

No matter who it is, they have their reasons for not supporting you — at least not at the beginning.

maybe you’ve got a history of starting things and not going the distance, or starting and giving up as soon as the fire fizzles out,
perhaps they think you’re being naive and don’t want to see you get hurt or waste your time,
they believe that the best thing for you to do is settle and do what everyone else is doing. Wake up, force down breakfast, commute, 9–5 commute, force down dinner, sleep x 40 years.

Here are the key truths for you to understand if you are to succeed without the support of your loved ones:

#1 — you don’t need their approval to succeed

From an early age, our identity is molded by the need of approval and acknowledgement from others. First, it starts with our parents, then our friends at school, before moving out into the “real” world.

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Do you notice that the older we get, we seem to require more and more approval? This endlessly expanding web of insecurity binds us to the opinions of others, strangling our clarity of thought.

Ask yourself this:

What makes their approval more important than your own?

Sometimes the authority is self-appointed. Sometimes, it’s bequeathed by someone else. We are only accountable to ourselves. The moment you decide to strike out and do something that’s unique, you divorce yourself from the need for approval.

If you’re doing something for that approval, stop. You’re doing it for the wrong reasons.

#2 — you are different to them, but in a good way

Have you ever felt that the world you perceive is separate from the world that you live in? Like the world everyone you care about is a bubble and you’re right on the edge of it?

Or have you felt a greater sense of self beyond being caught up in hype and trends? Do you watch Game of Thrones? Do you play Candy Crush? Do you subject yourself to banal talk at the water cooler and pretend to like people?

It’s OK if you do — but the question is, are you aware that you’re doing it? Or do you do these things because you have given up and self medicate to detach yourself from reality?

The world around us is beautiful and if you want to do something crazy, you see this beauty. The beauty lies in animals, in friendly gestures, in humanity that’s still human. It lies in arts where dancers, painters, coders and entrepreneurs that turn lead into gold every day.

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If you see this beauty, you’re different. Embrace this. It might be hard to, especially if you like the comfort of the herd. But once you see this beauty, the seed has been planted.

You cannot go back.

#3 — you are responsible for them

You have acknowledged that you’re different. You have realized that you don’t need other people’s approval to proceed and succeed. The last step is realizing that you are responsible for them all.

They see you as being a bit crazy. You should feel sorry that they can’t see the world that you see. But don’t look down on them — it’s not their fault that they’re like this. Some people are just blessed with the gift of vision. Maybe something happened to you along the way that made you like this.

If your heart is in the right place, whatever you want to do will help many people. It will help your parents, your friends and your husband or wife. It will impact people on an emotional level and scratch an itch that they have had for years.

It might even help millions of people. Other non-believers like the ones you care about. All self-medicating and waiting for someone to come along and sweep them off their feet.

That person is you.

You’re responsible for everyone. Everyone will say you can’t do it. You have to look beyond this, look beyond their words and stare right into the sun on the horizon. It’s blazing and hurts to look at. But as your vision firms and you look through the mirage, you start emitting your own light. One that rivals the sun.

As you move closer to it, it’s not as big and powerful as it was when you were young. You have moved past your parents, friends and partner. They’re behind you, part of the crowd. They’ve seen with their very own eyes what you can do. They now support you.

You smile, not because of this change of heart, but because you feel the same way about yourself. You never let the faith in yourself waver. This has changed the behaviors of all the non-believers. Changing someone’s thinking and behavior is one of the hardest things to do —

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and you have just done it.

Once upon a time, there was a boy. In school, he was bullied — a lot. He was beaten and up came home bruised often. His parents broke up too, to compound the pain.

He was brilliant. He received his first computer at 9 years old and three years later, made $500 by selling a game he had coded himself.

17 years old: he had just graduated from high school and — without the support of his parents — decided to pursue the American Dream. From his home in Pretoria, South Africa he departed for USA. It would be three years before he would be allowed to set foot on her shores.

In the University of Pennsylvania, he realized that humanity had to expand the limits of its consciousness to ask the right questions. He also realized that wanted to be involved in things that would change the world.

Over the next 20 years, he held himself to this goal. He created PayPal and Tesla Motors. He recently landed rockets on platforms out in the middle of the ocean — something that had never been done before. He wants to save humanity by creating the first colonies on Mars.

You might know of this man as Elon Musk.

You might not believe it yet, but we are all Elon Musk. We have too much to live for, too many people to be responsible for and too many problems to solve.

That’s why if more of us realize that we are him, our parents, friends and spouses not believing in us will be the least of our concerns on the path to greatness.

What if you had the courage to only do the work you love?

How much happier would you be? What separates the people who have the courage and those who don’t? Vulnerability. Accepting that they’re good enough to do the work that gives their life meaning.

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Published on October 8, 2019

How to Advance Your Career (and the Big Mistakes You May be Making)

How to Advance Your Career (and the Big Mistakes You May be Making)

The late writer William S. Burroughs once said that “When you stop growing, you start dying.” It might have a morbid undertone, but it’s one hundred percent true in terms of one’s career.

The days of finding a job with one company that you can stick with for 30 years, and simply relax as you move up its company escalator are few and far between in today’s world. This isn’t necessarily bad news. On the contrary, it means that you’re the one in charge of shaping your career advancement.

By putting these principles and behaviors into practice, you’ll begin to see how to advance your career quickly. Ready? Let’s get started…

1. Define What Success Is for You

There’s no right or wrong definition of what success in your career looks like. The important thing is to figure out what success looks like for YOU. It might, and probably will, change along the way, but if you don’t have some sort of milestone on the horizon, then you won’t know which direction to go in.

Think about success in your career in terms of one year, five years, and 10 years. Once you have that, it’s time to lace up your boots and get to work.

2. Learn How to Develop and Follow a Plan

Nobody just stumbles upon success accidentally. Sure, they may stumble upon breakthroughs or new methods accidentally, but all success stories have one thing in common — a plan.

Establish a timeline for the things that you want to achieve in your career in the next year, five years, 10 years, and so on. Consider the skills that you’ll need to learn to make these things happen and work on acquiring them.

3. Surround Yourself With Those Better Than You

It’s a rule of thumb among musicians that if you want to get better, then you need to get out of the bedroom and play with people who are better than you.

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By surrounding yourself with people who are better than you and where you want to be, you’ll not only see how these people climbed to where they are in their respective fields, but you’ll learn from them and naturally want to push yourself to be better in your own job as well.

4. Seek Out a Mentor(s)

A mentor will not only be able to help you refine and reach your career goals, but will be invaluable in landing promotions and finding unadvertised job openings.

One unique approach is to work on fostering a relationship with a mentor both within and outside of your company. This will help in giving you different perspectives as you rise up through the ranks in your company and career overall.

5. Stop Wasting Your Mornings

You may not think you’re a morning person, but if you can learn to be one, you’ll thank yourself 10 years down the road.

Prepare a to-do list of tasks that you want to accomplish the day before and work on knocking them out for at least one hour before you respond to morning emails. The problem with responding to emails first, is you’re giving your attention to somebody else’s agenda, instead of plotting your own course for the day.

6. Arrange or Attend a Networking Party

If you’re attending networking events simply because you might get a few free drinks, you’re doing them wrong. These events are great for meeting new people and forming relationships. Your goal shouldn’t be to get hired by the end of the night, but to simply make a good impression by being friendly and authentic. So what’s next?

Reach out a few days later via email or on social media to follow up and connect!

7. Pick Up Some New Skills

Nobody wants to be the old dog that can’t learn any new tricks. To move up in your career, you’re going to likely need to pick up new skills along the way. Maybe your company offers on-the-job training or you have the option of taking online classes at night.

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By learning new skills, you’ll not only be able to expand upon what you can already do, but you’ll make yourself more valuable to your employer and future employers.

8. Exploit the Benefits Already at Your Disposal

Remember what we just said about the possibility of your company providing on-the-job training? Take advantage of these sorts of benefits!

If you’re working for a company that allows you to job shadow other employees or has company mixers, you should attend these. They not only allow you to develop your skills within the company, but show seasoned executives within your field that you’re interested in more than just clocking in for a paycheck.

9. Make Yourself Indispensable

Good help is hard to find and employers want to retain outstanding employees. If you can learn to make yourself indispensable to your company, you’ll not only communicate that you’re successful, but will have a lot more job security. What’s this entail though?

It’s actually not all that difficult. By being reliable, adapting to new challenges, and holding your own work and performance to a high standard, you’ll stand out among your peers and others will take notice. Easy enough, right?

10. Get Off the Fence

People who advance in their careers are those who don’t shy away from voicing their opinion and stand up with authority when the opportunity arises.

If a problem arises in your company and you think you might have a solution or are willing to work to find one, then let others know. Employers value and promote problem solvers. Start off with something small and work your way up towards tackling more difficult tasks and projects.

11. Don’t Wait for More Responsibility, Ask for It

If you want more responsibility in your job, then be open about it with your manager. Your manager may be so busy with their own work that they weren’t aware you were looking for more challenges.

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Just make sure you can handle it and that you already show strong performance in your current duties. And if your manager doesn’t seem supportive about offering you more responsibility, well, then it could be time to look for new employment.

12. Stop Wasting Time on What You Don’t Want

If your career goals start with “I should do this…” there could be a problem. This kind of language in referring to goals can doom them to failure because the want isn’t there.

Consider using the RUMBA method (Reasonable, Understandable, Measurable, Behavioral and Agreed) when setting your goals. That “agreed” part should really be “want.” By going after career goals that you actually want to accomplish, you’re much more likely to achieve them.

13. Seek Out Feedback and Apply It

Simply doing your job might not always push you up in your career advancement. Too often, employees just assume that their bosses will notice their performance strides and reach out when the time is right to advance.

Don’t be afraid to regularly seek out feedback and ask for constructive criticism. It not only shows that you value your manager’s opinion but demonstrates that you care about your job and want to become better in your chosen field.

14. Pick Your Bosses Wisely

Advancing in your career can move a lot quicker if you’re working for the right people. If your boss isn’t any good at their job or doesn’t value you, then moving up could become difficult.

A great boss though, will be able to help you capitalize on your strengths and be an advocate for your success. If there aren’t any strong developers of talent in your management chain already, then look around for some and seek them out as mentors.

15. Learn to Develop Your Sense of Timing

The odds of asking for a promotion or raise are in your favor with over 70 percent of respondents to a survey from PayScale reporting some success. One thing to keep in mind that can make all the difference is when you ask.

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Some corporate cultures may prefer that employees reach out about advancement during their annual review, but maybe you work for a more free-spirited startup. The best approach may be to take note of when others advance and ask about how the organization handles employee development.

16. Work Hard and Promote Yourself

Working hard and delivering a solid job performance are the keys to advancing in your career no matter what field you’re in. This doesn’t mean you need to be completely humble about your accomplishments either.

Keep a record of your positive impact within the organization and let others both within your company and your field know that you’re enthusiastic about your role and work.

17. Don’t Just Build Your Network… Cultivate It

It’s way too easy to add new people to your LinkedIn network and then forget about them for all eternity. Rather than just collecting business cards or social media contacts, you should be cultivating relationships with the ones you already have.

Follow up with people that you haven’t spoken to in a while, offer to connect them with somebody you know in their field, or ask about a new job title they may have taken on. Doing so could be the spark that leads to a potential job referral.

18. Join a Professional Organization

The National Association of (insert your industry here) and other professional organizations can still offer a great wealth of advantages from networking to industry insights, and skill development.

Even outside of professional organizations dedicated to particular job fields, civic organizations can also be fantastic for making new contacts. After all, so much about career advancement is who you know, and you never know who you’ll meet who knows somebody else who is looking for someone with your skills and experience.

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Featured photo credit: JESHOOTS.COM via unsplash.com

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