“Do not let another day go by where your dedication to other people’s opinions is greater than your dedication to your own emotions!” ~ Steve Maraboli
One thing I’m great at is procrastinating. Another thing, overanalyzing every decision I make.
I can even question and try to reason which route I should take to walk the dog. It is truly outrageous, when I think about it.
This leads to paralysis through analysis, and inevitably a fear to commit to change. This is how I got stuck.
A few years ago I was feeling immobile and underwhelmed in my life. I had a good career, a house, and a car that I purchased all on my own, and I’d traveled the world. Still, I felt stuck to the life I was living and thought something needed to change, but I couldn’t quite figure out what I wanted to do.
So I did what every successful and independent women would do: I broke it down, made lists, and asked my friends and family what they thought I should do. Smart, right? Wrong.
The problem was, I was turning to others to validate my feelings and my intuition. How could I ask other people to validate how I was feeling? As a savvy businesswoman who makes smart decisions all the time, I sure missed the boat on that one.
It’s like asking a stranger what they think you want for lunch.
That was one of the biggest life lessons that I learned during my life transition. Stop waiting for others to validate my decisions.
As much as they loved and cared for me, they didn’t know me. I mean, of course they knew me, but they didn’t truly know what was at the core of my decision. They weren’t in my head and my thoughts, and they couldn’t feel my soul and my longing. Besides that, they couldn’t understand it.
Why would they understand it, and more importantly, why should they?
I am speaking about my parents, whose generation was all about dedication, loyalty, and of course, security. To give up a secure, high paying career that I had worked so hard for was completely incomprehensible to them.
Some of my friends had settled down into a contented family life and were enjoying motherhood. To them, having a family was their true calling, so they couldn’t understand why I would start to focus my energy on starting my own business as opposed to finding a spouse.
My other friends were at ease working nine to five and had never thought about the possibility of questioning or changing it. They would be fine to continue on that path, without making a change. Why mess with a good thing?
After having these conversations for more than a few years, I realized that I no longer needed to wait for others to validate my decisions. Not only that, but I may never get their validation, and I wasn’t about to wait another minute to live my life for me.
I was looking for their approval not because it was something I truly needed to move forward, but because I feared failure and hoped that I could hear that someone believed in me.
I concluded that it didn’t matter if they did because I believed in me, and that’s worth so much more.
I realized that no one else needed to understand what I wanted or where I was going because no two people are on the same path in this life.
I was living the life that that everyone else wanted for me and no longer doing what I wanted nor what I was passionate about. I was getting deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole, and I needed to dig myself out once and for all and be true to myself.
So I did it. I took the first step and enrolled in my first course, I spoke to my boss at work to explain what I was doing, and changed my position and reduced my hours (and my salary) in order to pursue my passion.
I was terrified, but I did it anyway. Nothing was going to change in my life until I decided to change it.
And then the most interesting thing happened. I finally got the validation that I was seeking for all those years and confirmation from the people around me that I was making the right choice.
At the end of the day, though, I realized that it was more important to ask myself what I was projecting in those moments.
Those people, the naysayers, they were showing up for me for a specific reason and triggering a specific pain point for me. That was my true challenge. That was what I needed to work through.
There will always be naysayers, those that think your choices are unrealistic, ridiculous, or won’t ever work. They are most likely projecting some of their own fears and doubts.
I like to think of them as challengers to test your true commitment.
When they show up for you, ask yourself why you need their validation. What are you missing in your own confidence to move forward?
And I’ll also add, the naysayers are probably going to be the first to congratulate you at the finish line. Since I found the courage to move forward, mine are my biggest cheerleaders.
The more you believe in your own decisions, the less you need others to. Go out and live the life you dreamed of. You’re so worth it!
Yes or no image via Shutterstock