Four Super Tools To Stay True To Your Dreams
Do you dream of success? Are you sure you not only know your purpose – your why in life — but you can stick to it, no matter what? Here’s a Spoiler Alert: At some point, someone is going to try and dash those dreams. Someone will tell you your purpose is ridiculous. Or you may be the one telling yourself those lies. Whoever it is, it’s going to make you want to give up.
It may happen a week from now, or a year, or five years. But it will happen. The urge to call it quits comes and goes constantly, and it’s all too often linked to someone else’s reaction to you. But here’s the key: you don’t have to listen. And if you do, there are effective ways to get back on track and stay true to your dreams. Here’s how:
Be like a whale shark —
And grow a thick skin. Whale sharks, the largest fish in the ocean, have skin that’s four inches thick — as thick as a wall in a house. They’re not predators: they feed on plankton. But having a skin this thick makes sure they’re not preyed on, either. When you stand up for what you believe in, and you pursue your dreams, you’re going to get criticized. It’s part of life. People tend to criticize what they don’t understand, feel threatened by, or are jealous of. If they’re feeling that way due to you and your actions, stay on course and don’t be deterred. Keep swimming — just like a whale shark.
Thank the naysayers —
If someone just mocked you or accused you of being a daydreamer or crazy, don’t let that criticism knock you down. Instead, thank them! You can treat their reaction as proof that you’re doing the right thing. Criticism means you’ve gotten to someone and triggered their own insecurities. It also means you’re making waves — and that’s what it means to be true to your dreams and stand up for your beliefs. As the author and entrepreneur Seth Godin says, “If you aren’t upsetting someone, you aren’t changing the status quo.”
Reprogram your brain —
Sometimes it’s not anyone else doing the criticism, it’s us. We all struggle with negative self-talk. Some of us have daily self-discussions about our failures, unattractiveness, and inabilities. We think of something we want to do and immediately say, “I can’t.” But if you continually call yourself ugly when you look in the mirror, stupid when you don’t do well on a test, or horrible when you mess up in a game, you’re programming yourself to believe it. But brains are like computers: they’re re-programmable too. Want proof we program ourselves? Here’s a simple one: Do you brush your teeth twice a day? So try reprogramming the negative by flipping the script. Tell yourself positive things, every day — until you begin to believe them. And you will.
Test yourself with compliments —
Here’s how you’ll know if you’ve been successful at retraining your brain: when someone pays you a compliment, you thank them, and accept it. When your brain is still programmed to habitually focus on the negative, the compliment won’t sink in. You’ll deflect it, because you’re so down on yourself it’s virtually impossible to believe someone’s praise. In that case, keep up with the reprogramming — it will click in. And then instead of ducking, you’ll believe it — because you know it’s true! You are smart, you are attractive, you are fun to be with, and you are inspiring to others.
As the great Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Whether it’s someone else trying to convince you to stop working towards a goal or your own negative self-talk, know this: they’re lies. They’re also opportunities to make you stronger and make you a better leader. So the next time the world throws a doubt your way, don’t believe it. Experiences like these are inevitable — they’re a part of life. But you don’t need to let them get in your way.
This guest post was authored by Anni Keffer
Anni Keffer is a nationally recognized educator, speaker, author, and entrepreneur who is passionate about youth leadership. She has been featured on CBS, ABC, NBC, FOX affiliates and in a number of publications, including Yahoo, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, New York Business Journal, Miami Herald, Mompreneur Media, and more. She’s the founder of the Young Women of Influence Conference and an in-demand leadership speaker. Anni was nominated for WHIRL Magazine’s Women In Business 2016, and is a co-author of Girls Lead. Her new book is Leadership Built On Why: A Guide for Young Adults.