If you are someone who is intent on following your dreams in life, there are a few things you will need to know.
First of all, you are going off the worn and clear path.
This will be questioned.
People will be skeptical.
You’ll be advised against it.
This is not because you are incapable, but because the people watching you are scared.
They are scared that you might attempt to do something that they could not, and your success would say something about who they are.
They are scared that you might really find that light, and that might mean something about their own darkness.
When you start to follow your own inner callings, you start to forge your own path in the wilderness.
When you’re walking as one with the crowd — hitting standard milestones, doing what’s expected — you go unnoticed.
Deciding to leave that makes you vulnerable, because it makes you seen.
What this means is that you will be criticized at almost every turn.
Your choices, and your decisions, will be evaluated with a scrutiny that most people never have to deal with.
People won’t understand, and they won’t try to.
But it doesn’t matter.
Yes, you will have to face your fear of being judged, but you will also have to remember that nobody will be as critical of you as you.
That is the honest truth about following your dreams that almost nobody wants to hear, let alone accept.
Sure, others might doubt you.
They might question your motives, and your trajectory.
But at the end of the day, there will be nothing holding you back quite like yourself.
There will be no voice louder than your own — the one telling you whether you can or can’t, whether you will or won’t, whether what you’re doing is normal or noble or a joke or the bravest thing you’ve ever attempted.
There will be no judgment as paralyzing as your own, there will be no doubt that stops you more than your own.
Yes, other people can bring up your sense of doubt, but the honest truth is that if you are going to follow your dreams, you’re going to have to befriend yourself.
You are going to have to be your own biggest believer, fan, investor and cheerleader.
This will be even more important if nobody else is doing that yet.
It’s not your willingness to take the first steps that will get you the life your dreams, but your willingness to wake up every single day and keep building in the direction of your deepest and most authentic actualization.
That requires grit.
That requires mental agility.
Most importantly, that requires resilience.
And if you’re looking out to the world around you to affirm you, encourage you and remind you that you can do it — well, you might find that once in a while.
But when you’re in the middle of a dark night, lost and doubting whether you’re on the right path — it has to be your own conviction that pulls you through.
It has to be your own vision that moves you and inspires you and pushes you to keep growing, keep creating, keep becoming.
Other people will love you.
They will love the work you do.
They will be inspired by the life you build.
But even the greatest praise or most convincing affirmations won’t fuel you in the way that you must fuel yourself.
You have to believe that what you’re moving toward is just as real as what’s in front of you right now.
The truth is that most people don’t fear following their dreams because someone else might deny them — but because they may turn on themselves.
Keep forging a path in the darkness, and hold a torch.
Lead the way for others to follow, to see that they can create their own paths, too.
It will not always be easy, but neither would settling for a lukewarm life you never really love.
Everything is hard.
You choose your hard.