When you have a dream, you will have doubters. It’s right up there with death and taxes – probably because nobody has to pay taxes or die for doubting. These gleeful killjoys shoot us down before we take off. They say “you can’t” when we thought we can. They make us hesitant when we were sure, silly when we were smart.
External doubt feeds self-doubt; the number one dream-killer as shown in studies. Life and success aren’t about what happens to you, it’s about how you perceive and respond to what happens to you. And doubters happen. They happen fast and hard on your unsuspecting dream. Be ready for them. Better yet, benefit from them. Because, as unthinkable as that sounds, you can.
Here are four ways to give your dreams the benefit of the doubters:
1. Doubters actually care
Don’t hate on those who don’t believe in your dreams, because they might be the very people who love you. Oftentimes, it is those who are closest to us that have the loudest voice of discouragement. This could be your father, your partner, or your best friend.
Sometimes, even your dearest ones cannot see in you what you can see for yourself. They unwittingly project their own self-limitations on you to “protect” you from the pain of failure. A father who has failed in business may urge his entrepreneurial son to “be realistic” and get a “proper” job with a steady paycheck.
The good news is, they want you to succeed. This gives you a chance to turn them into staunch supporters after their initial resistance.
Stay true to your course while making allowance for their advice. Earn their approval and support by addressing their deepest fears about your endeavor. As you progress toward your goals, you’re helping them disprove their assumptions and undo their own limitations too.
“I tend to enjoy proving people wrong.” – Hayley Williams
2. Doubters show you where to improve
Put aside the apparent assault on your ego for a moment and consider what your critics are saying. If you can get over yourself, there’s a lot you can learn there. Take the criticism objectively. Try to find at least one valid point in what they’re saying.
For example, if a headhunter dismisses your aspiration to land a bigger job, she could be 99 percent wrong. The other one percent could be the nugget of insight that will help you. This may be a skill you need, a person whose connection you should make, or better timing to make your move.
The next time you hear others doubting you, find the sliver of truth in their words. Build that into your game plan. You’ll be better for it.
3. Doubters make the best motivation
In his Hall Of Fame speech, Michael Jordan thanked his detractors for the motivation. He credited them for being the driving force behind his legendary work ethic. Jordan was a fierce competitor. He hardly needed any push during his playing career. Yet he chose to turn his doubters into demons he had to slay to prove his greatness.
They were his best motivational buttons and he mashed those poor buttons like a teenager playing NBA2K. Be careful not to invest emotionally in the critics, for they will drain you. It doesn’t matter whether they were being personal or not, as long as you don’t take it personally. Don’t burn out trying to manage others’ opinions of you.
Know that your skeptics cannot define you, unless you allow them. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Turn their action into a positive, powerful reaction that works in your favor. The motivation to prove your critics wrong may be exactly what you need to push for greatness.
“When the doubters tell you it can’t be done and all kind of tragedies will come your way, I say nonsense. If you can get to the very root of who you are and make something happen from it, my sense tells me you are going to surprise yourself.” – Vidal Sassoon
4. Doubters can become powerful allies
Naysayers are oftentimes the byproduct of differences. People can harshly judge ideas or ambitions that are not in line with their own beliefs, opinions, or behavior.
If you can bridge the differences to create win-win relationships, skeptics can become strong allies. They’ve already proven they have a voice and they are willing to use it, only this time, in your favor.
In a team setting, you will have to use your communication and people skills to not just win the argument, but to win the sentiment. Sharing your vision and getting others to stand behind it isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth your effort. Creating advocates of your dream can only accelerate your success.
The bigger and more audacious your dream, the more naysayers you will experience. Be like Usain Bolt who said, “To all my doubters, thank you very much because you guys have also pushed me.”
Are you allowing the doubters to control your life? What are you going to do to change that? Leave your thoughts below!
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Working alone at home might sound like a nightmare to some, but as a fully signed up introvert, working alone at home is an absolute dream. No energy-draining small talk, no noisy distractions, just peace and quiet to complete deep and focused work. Well not quite. Working alone at home has more challenges than you might expect. Boredom, lack of focus and lack of motivation to name a few.
When you start working for yourself, you quickly realise that one of the biggest problems you face isn’t the job itself. Maintaining your motivation poses a potentially huge difficulty. Much of that difficulty stems from working alone, rather than in a traditional office setting. There is also the challenge of staying focused on the task at hand. With no boss or supervisor looking over your shoulder, social media can distract or cat videos interrupt you.
But the greatest problem by far is a simple lack of motivation. There doesn’t seem to be a pressing need to finish this project right now, making it far too easy to put it off until later. Left unchecked, a lack of motivation can cripple the work you are trying to accomplish. Over the past few years I’ve developed a few go-to tactics to improve my lone working motivation.
Here are some of the tools I’ve used to stay motivated and on-task.
These first few tips focus on using different tweaks in your personal work schedule to provide some variety and maintain your focus.
1. Include short breaks
My eye doctor once told me that for every 20 minutes of staring at a computer screen, you should look away and focus on something across the room for 20 seconds. This gives your eyes a chance to reset. Do something similar with the rest of your body; don’t just look across the room, walk, jog, or run across the room. Give your body a break, and try to reset your thoughts. If you don’t have the discipline to take regular breaks, use an app to remind you.
2. Block out an afternoon for social activities and networking
Set aside one afternoon a week for your social life. Friday afternoon works best for me. If you feel guilty about not working, think of it as a chance to network. Either way, be sure to spend this section of time with other people. Socialise and network.
3. View your personal schedule as your work schedule
A 9-to-5 job requires getting up every morning, preparing for the day, leaving the house, and commuting to your workplace. In other words, it requires going to work. You want to recreate the same rhythm at home. You may not actually need to leave your house in order to work, but try to stick with the schedule. Filling the old job timeslot with your new work helps to keep you motivated – you can’t clock out early!
These next few tips are little things you can do to trick yourself into staying focused!
This tip may sound cliché, but try listening to an upbeat song loudly whenever you feel unmotivated. It’s a simple trick, but a surprisingly effective one!
2. Have somewhere else to work for a change of scenery
When procrastination sets in, sometimes a quick change of scenery is all you need. If you work at home, going to your favourite café can be a huge help. Other freelancers I know have even gone so far as to hire office space outside the home, and rotate between the two to help stay on-task.
3. Love what you do
This is arguably the most critical point on the whole list. If you don’t love what you do, it will be hard to keep yourself motivated – particularly long-term. Sure, you may be able to push on through sheer force of will for a while, but sooner or later you’ll lose motivation entirely. Do something you genuinely enjoy, and you’ll find it much easier to stick with it for the long haul.
These last few tips are Industry-related!
1. Make sure you have fun projects
Not all of your work projects will be fun, but fight to make at least a couple of them fun. These might even be personal side projects, not particularly related to your main job. Or they might be in the same general field, but not your specific focus.
2. Attend industry events a couple of times a year
Nearly every imaginable industry has an organising body of some kind. Find the local branch, and use it to keep tabs on industry-related events. Attend some seminars, network, and maybe even glean some new tips and tricks from industry insiders.
3. Schedule at least one call a week to learn something within your industry
View this as an opportunity for personal development. At least once a week, try to learn something new about your industry. For me, this might mean calling a new tool provider to demonstrate their gadgets. Whatever your industry, try to expand your horizons a little bit every week. You’ll learn new methods and make new connections at the same time.
These tips worked for me, hopefully, some of them will help you out as well. Above all, strive to enjoy what you do, stick to a “work schedule,” and look for opportunities for constant self-improvement. With those ideas in mind, you’ll find staying motivated much easier to do alone or in a group!
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