All people want to succeed, and most of us want others to succeed, but not more so than ourselves. There is a certain level of success that becomes a tipping point, at which the admiration others feel for you turns to jealousy or, as I like to call it, “sadmiration”.
For most of us, the audience of our friends and family will cheer and clap for us as we perform our first few feats or accomplish our first few goals, but once those achievements become too abundant or too frequent (e.g., we make more and more money, we showcase a plethora of talents, we travel to innumerable luxurious locations, etc.), the applause starts to die down. Past this point, we stop hearing “Wow! That’s amazing! Bravo!” and instead, we simply hear “nice” or “cool”. They were happy for our success until it became so great that they started to feel sad about their own lives, in comparison. No one knows where the climax, at which this shift from admiration to sadmiration occurs, is, and it can be difficult to keep striving to realize our dreams once we feel like the people closest to us don’t care anymore about what we can do. This is where being our own biggest fan and sharing our gifts with the world via the internet comes in.
We all desire connection, and many gifted and/or successful people arrive at a crossroads, where they must choose between continuing to foster their existing connections and sharing their gifts because sadmiration has begun to erode their relationships. If you ever reach this milestone and are faced with that choice, always choose your gifts. It has been said that if you are gifted in any way, then you have something to give back to the world. Not everyone you know will appreciate those gifts, but somewhere in the world, somebody will. The reason you must choose sharing your gifts over any of your existing connections that are wilting due to sadmiration is that there are roughly 7 billion people in the world – you can and will make new connections with people who can admire you, rather than sadmire you. The people who will continue to admire you and cheer for you, no matter what you achieve, may not be people you’ll ever meet in real life. Such people could interact with what you post online from clear across the globe. They may or may not be as successful or talented as you. But no matter who or where they are or what they are like, I assure you, they exist. Keep looking. And until you’ve found them, look within. No one should be a bigger fan of you than you are of yourself. Cheering yourself on will also help you ignore the “adLIES”, or pieces of advice meant to help you do well but not better than the person giving the advice, that you’ll receive along the way.
Beware of any advice given to you by someone who is incapable of doing the things you are attempting to do, because they could be adlies. The most powerful form of advice we can give anyone is our own personal experience, and it is most valuable if given in the form of sharing our story and letting the listener decide for himself or herself what lessons, if any, they want to draw from it. If you want to influence someone’s decisions, inspire rather than advise. Any two people could experience the exact same circumstance and draw different conclusions about what happened and what to do to avoid or reexperience it in the future, and that’s perfectly okay. We cannot tell someone what to do; we can only tell someone what we’ve done and how it affected us. As such, if someone has never been in circumstances similar to your own, then their advice regarding that particular goal or dream may not be valuable to you. Feel free to hear that person out, but keep in mind what I said earlier in this article about people wanting others to flourish, but likely not more than they have succeeded. So, how do you spot adlies?
The truth is, adlies never look or sound the same, but you’ll know when you’ve received one because you’ll feel it in your gut (it will feel like your stomach has dropped out or someone punched you there). An adlie is typically a mixed message – a supportive anecdote, combined with a warning. Some examples of adlies include: “Stay grounded and you’ll reach the top,” “I hope your dreams come true, but I just don’t want to see you get your hopes up and then be crushed,” or “that’s a tough business, good luck.” In all of these examples, you’ll notice the support offered: “you’ll reach the top”, “I hope your dreams come true”, and “good luck.” This proverbial bone the person has thrown you is a bit manipulative – it can make you feel guilty for not appreciating their adlies, because the other half of what they said is designed to make you question whether you really have what it takes and should go for it, so to speak. What you feel in your gut when someone says these kinds of things to you is an acknowledgement that the person doesn’t actually want you to succeed. Further, you know that the reason they don’t want you to succeed is because they can’t also actualize your talents – they don’t have your gifts, so although they may have dreams similar to yours, they cannot make them come true. But you can.
So, what should you do when you receive adlies? Ignore them. You do not need to graciously thank a person for their adlies, because they are actually rather unkind. Adlies can make you feel bad, and you should never thank someone for making you feel bad. Instead, keep your head up and continue to cheer yourself on and share your gifts with other people.
The world is a stage, and the audience is as varied as it is dispersed. If you are living authentically, then you should never rewrite the show you perform for the world. You simply must find the audience that appreciates you for who you are. You’ll find where you belong, and eventually, sadmiration for you will be replaced with their admiration.