Sometimes the career paths we begin our journeys on are not the paths we necessarily end up on. How often do we hear about studying one thing or starting a job in one industry, only to wind up doing something completely different down the track?
Leaving a “comfortable” career behind and starting out somewhere new can feel daunting at first - the feeling of being out of your comfort zone and going against the grain.
Whenever you choose to do something different – whether it’s starting a business, moving abroad, or embarking on a personal journey – someone, somewhere will have an opinion.
And often, those opinions won’t be positive. If it’s something out of the norm or something that goes against society’s expectations, many will frown upon or judge these decisions. In today’s world of social media, complete strangers are often the first to jump in and offer their unwarranted opinions.
However, when we want to strive for greater things or aim for the extraordinary, we need to carve our own path and do something out of the ordinary.
But, how do you do that?
When I caught up with my twin brother Adam and unpacked his life sailing around the world with fiancée Khiara, we spoke on how he managed to stay focused on his own goals and personal achievements, despite feeling the external pressures of society when they chose a life they created for themselves, instead of fitting into the corporate structure which he left.
How do you get over the criticism, critique, and second-guessing both from others and within yourself, whenever you go against the grain and disappoint society’s pre-conceived ideas of what you should be doing?
Adam shared with me his key insights and mindset for how he continues to overcome the pressures of society and pushing to achieve the goals and dreams that really bring you fulfilment.
1. Ruthlessly fortify your mind every day.
When it comes to dealing with the criticism and second-guessing of his career choices, Adam admits, “I’ll be really honest and say, I haven’t mastered that. I just have to just keep fortifying my mind.”
But here’s the thing - over time, other people’s opinions can quickly wear you down. If you let them, they can end up eroding your sense of self and your dreams.
So, instead of letting it dictate who you are and what you do, don’t. Consciously and relentlessly ignore them. If you feel that others might not support your dreams, you don’t need to go around sharing those dreams and plans with them immediately - choose who you share your vision with wisely.
Don't let the opinions of others stop you from quietly chipping away and achieving your goals. As Adam says, he just lets people think whatever they want, “Good. Keep thinking that. I’ll be back with a story to tell.”
2. Throw their questions and opinions back at them.
When you get feedback, comments, questions, or opinions that aren’t that helpful, ill-informed, ignorant, whatever they might be – throw it back to that person and make them work for it.
It’s really easy to cast judgement or throw one-liners out there like, “Oh, you’re not fit for the corporate world” or “This career might not be the best option for you.”
But, don’t be afraid to turn the question back around to them and ask, “What do you mean by that?”
Stay calm – if you come across as defensive, then you’ve lost before you’ve even started. Instead, if you stay calm and come from a place of curiosity like, “Oh, tell me more about that. What do you mean by that?”, it actually forces that person to have to think about why they said that.
3. Put a premium on your time and establish what’s the worst that can happen.
We all have to work, and we all have to make money – and time is the thing that we exchange for that. So, put a premium on your time and establish what’s really the worst that can happen if you make that leap, push for that change or start that business you’ve always dreamed of.
Time is a precious resource; don’t waste it doing something that’s no longer serving you or your dreams.
“I might lose my job” – if you lose your job, you find another job. At the end of the day, there will always be other jobs. It might not be your dream job, but don’t be afraid to explore different possibilities. Don’t let a knee-jerk reaction or fear of failing stop you from taking the plunge into doing something you really want.
4. Give yourself more credit.
Trust yourself even when you feel like you have no choice. Adam shares a great saying: “If you want to take the island, burn the boats, because once you burn the bridges behind you, there’s no going back.” Think about that for a minute. When you are faced with the options of sink or swim, it’s amazing what you can achieve.
Keep moving forward, regardless of what anyone says. Give yourself more credit – you’ve got this – you WILL rise to the challenge.
“If you want to take the island, burn the boats, because once you burn the bridges behind you, there’s no going back.”
5. Don’t let your ego get in the way.
“How will this look?”
“What if I get it wrong?”
“What if I fail?”
Often, it’s our ego that can hold us back and stopping us from taking that leap or making that critical decision. The thing that is getting in the way is that little voice inside our head telling us what we should do, how we should look, and how others will perceive us. While your ego can often tell you, “you’re too good for this”, it is also the little voice that casts the most judgement and can make us focus on all the things we don’t have or the negatives.
Instead of giving in to the powers of your ego, try to simply be aware of it. Know that those judgements are coming from within, and try to view it from the positive side.
Often, we forget to focus on all the things we’ve already achieved. What have you done so far? What are the things you’re capable of? What skills you do have?
Use all of these to propel you to take the next step.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, ask yourself: “What is it that’s getting in the way of me taking action?”
Be it your fear, other people’s criticisms, or ego – once you become aware of the reasons WHY you may be reluctant to take that leap and go against the grain, you have the amazing ability to recognise HOW you can overcome these, and ultimately go forth and start paving the pathway to the career and life that you want.
Forging your own path and establishing yourself isn’t a fast and easy process. It takes time and growth to identify the process that will work for you and to push through all the challenges in your way.
But I know you. If you have made the decision to read my blogs and listen to my podcast, your mindset is shifting to the ‘I can do it’ attitude - and that is your absolute weapon when it comes to making changes and kicking those career and life goals.
If you are ready to jump in and start forging that career pathway you have always dreamed of, I am here to help you. Join the waitlist for my tried and tested 6-Week Transform Your Career Program, launching in March!
Go and get it! I truly believe you have everything within yourself to achieve those dreams.