How to Handle Naysayers and Make Your Dream Come True

Embarking on making a goal or a dream a reality can at times feel daunting. It’s new territory you may never have explored before and there are many unknowns. Of course, proper prior preparation prevents particularly poor performance so arming oneself with knowledge and strategies for success is crucial to getting started and staying on course.

As adventurous as the success journey can be, it is sometimes made little more challenging when you come face-to-face with naysayers who do not believe in your vision or your dream. Sometimes it’s loved ones trying to ‘protect’ you from the heartbreak of failure and other times it’s simply people who do not believe or believe in you.

Many moons ago, when I decided to set up my own coaching practice there were many times I worried about failing. I also worried about being ridiculed by those around me because the vision I had for my future was not validated by what they thought of me. There were many skeptics and some were very vocal. “Are you sure this will work? Do you know anyone who has every succeeded in this business? Why don’t you just keep your current job and climb up the career ladder?” It took all the courage I had in my mid-twenties to defy those who didn’t believe in me or my vision. They felt I was being stubborn for not listening. I felt I needed to drown their voices if I was to succeed.

Some of my friends thought I had lost my mind for turning down Friday night parties to attend the very early Saturday morning seminars. Admittedly, that may have been fairly unusual for a young person so their head-shakes were understandable in hindsight. As I grew I discovered more about myself, my gift, goal and dream. I learnt the importance of writing these down and having a plan for the future. Now, whenever I do an end-of-year reflection and read through the goals my 19-year-old self wrote I smile because I have achieved some of them. As years have gone by there has been more clarity of purpose and mental growth so my goals have undergone an evolution and my strategies for execution have changed.

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My personal development journey begun in earnest at the age of 17. Even at that tender age, I knew life had so much more to offer than what I was seeing around me at the time. I had migrated from the country of my birth, Kenya, to pursue further studies in the UK. By the time I was 19, I found myself connected to a faith-based forward-thinking network of professionals who were decades older than me. Through this network I began to attend the Advanced Life Seminars where as the youngest person in the network, I gave my first ever motivational talk encouraged by the founder.

In those early days I dared to share some of my goals with my peers, some of who laughed in my face or behind my back. What I saw of myself and what they saw of me were completely different. I learnt then that sometimes it’s wise to keep your dream to yourself and allow the changes in your life and the results you produce to speak for you. I was too young to articulate my value as a teenager but what those experiences did for me was to strengthen my resolve and thicken my skin for the future.

Fast forward years later, have I failed? Quite a few times actually. Have I triumphed? Much more than I have failed. Have I faltered at some hurdles? Abundantly. Would I quit? Never.

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The truth is, every journey has its highs and lows. “Some days you win and some days you learn,” and you should give yourself the permission to experience both. I pushed past fear and discovered that every experience had lessons I could use – and I’ve used many of them to build my business and coach or consult for my clients. I learnt very quickly to stop worrying about naysayers because what we think of ourselves is always so much more relevant than what others think of us. I also learnt that we can embrace every single aspect of our journey and enjoy the process of unveiling all our under-utilized capabilities regardless of whether we stumble or fall.

There is so much mental, emotional and spiritual liberty in discovering and becoming everything we know we can become. I’ve learnt that regardless of how knowledgeable we are there is always so much more to learn about life and business. Staying coachable and teachable is the key to staying unbreakable. Sometimes feedback from naysayers is the catalyst we need to propel us to greater heights.

Here are 6 things we can all remember when faced with opposition:

  1. You’re not a failure if you fall.

    Never view failure as the end of the road. It’s a checkpoint; an assessor of what you think you already know. If you fail, learn the lesson quickly so you don’t have to repeat the ‘class’ over and over again. You’re not a failure if you fall down; you’re only a failure if you stay down.

  2. Capitalize on your strengths and outsource your weaknesses.

    You will always be amazing at what you love to do. But there is always someone somewhere who can do what you don’t enjoy better than you. Find them, build great relationships with them and let them help you build your dream. That is called strategic leverage.

  3. Be strong but stay malleable.

    To stay malleable is to be hammered or pressed into shape without breaking or cracking. Constructive feedback is useful for growth and development. If you have to listen to what people say, take the sensible with you and use it to propel yourself to greater heights. Leave the rest.

  4. You are your own competition.

    Kick bad habits out of your life and strive for personal excellence. Your only competition is your old self. You can become a better version of yourself everyday by setting your own standards and exceeding them.

  5. The goal is never to prove them wrong.

    Always remember that what you focus on, you attract. If you focus on proving naysayers wrong with your success, you will attract more people like them and more misery into your life. If you can shift your focus from them to becoming the most valuable asset to your market, you stand a better chance of attracting success, more fulfillment and people who appreciate the value you bring.

  6. Own your dream.

    You will be influenced by many people around you but always remember that you are the CEO of your life and you make all the executive decisions pertaining to you. You have the final say on how you experience life and how your dreams play out.

Everyday can be better than the last. Every year can be better than the last. Make this one the best year of your life yet!

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