Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share a bit about jewelry, and a lot about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry, I wanted to talk about how you should react when you get the dreaded response of "get real" when you tell a friend or family member about your plan to start your own business or make a big career change. We've all been there, right? We have a wild or maybe even a not-so-wild dream in our heart and when we tell a family member or friend about it, they chuckle and say, "in your dreams" or "come on, get real." We walk away defeated and wonder if we're crazy to want to chase our dream. If we're being foolish. If it's silly to think that it's possible to do work you really enjoy and get paid for it too.
Here's the thing - chasing your dreams is not the norm in our culture. What's the norm? Having a job you don't like (or, if you're lucky, you kinda sorta like it), counting down the days until the weekend, and planning to retire at age 65 and start living life then. If you try to go against the norm, many people aren't going to understand and be supportive.They'll think you're foolish or crazy for trying. They'll tell you to come down out of the clouds and "get real." Why? I think there are two reasons for this.
First, if these statements are coming from someone who truly loves and cares about you like a parent or spouse, I do believe this type of reaction is often coming from a place of love. Although it can be hurtful to hear this type of reaction, they probably want to protect you. Make sure you don't fall on your face. They don't want you to give up your stable current job to pursue something that involves risk and isn't guaranteed to work out. Sometimes we just have to smile and nod and know they mean well.
Second, you might hear someone tell you to "get real" because your plan to pursue a dream is threatening to them and their belief system. If you break the mold, they might be forced to think about why they've stayed stuck in the norm. That's scary. It might force them to question the decisions they've made, the position they're in, and whether they need to make a change. Change is scary and most people would rather put a paper bag over their head and avoid it. In other words, these statements reflect more about them and less about you. I was reading a book last week and the author said that when you tell someone about your dream or goal and they respond with "get real" what they really mean is "get small." I absolutely love that. The next time this happens to you, I want you to take it as a compliment. Seriously. When someone tells you to "get real" say "thank you" to yourself in your head (not out loud) because it means that you have the courage to think big. You have the courage to believe that you deserve a better life. You have the self-esteem to realize that you are entitled to a great life, not a mediocre one. These are such critical ingredients to making big, positive change in your life. In my opinion, without the courage and self-esteem to think big, believe you deserve better, and go after the big life we all deserve, I believe you can't reach your dreams and goals. In fact, I know this to be true from personal experience. I quit my lawyer job not once, but twice, to open a jewelry business and the first time I failed. This was back in 2010. After much reflection, I concluded that it was because I didn't believe I deserved a big life, a better life. This time, 10 years later, I know I'm succeeding because my mindset has completely changed. I DO believe I'm entitled to a great life. I DO believe I deserve better than spending the majority of my waking hours in a job I hate. I DO believe that it's possible to earn money doing work I love.
Let me leave you with this quote from Author Marianne Williamson. She wrote one of my favorite books called A Return To Love. It helped me change the way I see the world and how I think about myself and the world around me. I highly recommend it. In short, she writes about how most of us perceive ourselves and the world around us through the lens of fear (and fear includes things like anger, doubt, frustration, and other negative emotions) and how it's possible to change our perspective and perceive ourselves and the world through the lens of love (which includes all the positive emotions). The passage that is most quoted from her book is below. Whenever I get caught in the trap of "feeling small" I often pull out this quote to remind myself that I can choose differently.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.* Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
*Marianne Williamson tells you to feel free to replace the word "God" with whatever higher power you believe in - the Universe, the divine power that runs the world, etc.
Cheers to living the big, amazing life we all deserve!