“I’m going to be a dancer!” That’s what I would say to everyone I encountered when I was little. To work towards this goal, I would record all the music videos from BET and MTV with intricate dance numbers and I would spend countless hours upon hours learning the copying the moves. I would beg my mom to subscribe to every dance magazine on the planet and then use my allowance to purchase dance gear.
At nine years old, my mom sat down with me in a very serious manner and said “You cannot be a dancer because if you do, you will go to Hollywood get on drugs and have lots of orgies. So no more dance talk. It’s of the devil.” Then she walked away.
I was crushed because I knew what she was asking me to do. And even though at the tender age of nine I had no inkling what an orgy was, I knew that my dreaming was some way shape or form bad. I knew that my incessant dreaming of going on tour with Janet Jackson, my goals of graduating high school early and then moving to L.A., my desire to open my own dance studio and train dancers in my own unique hip hop method, all those dreams had to die. Forever. Feeling the wrath of a parent because you did something wrong is far worse at nine years old than it is to stay true to your heart.
But then, some decades later, when you are an adult and you can start making decisions on your own, you screw everything up. At least that’s what happened to me. You go after the career that everyone else thought you should have because it made more money. You live in an area where it is believed to be affluent because according to someone-ironically you never know who it is that told you this-this is where you need to be if you want to be somebody.
How many of you have lived your life based on someone else’s standards of what good, great, awesome, fabulous, love, joy, happiness, peace, and contentment is? I have both hands raised. I just raised my feet too for good measure.
All the numerous crises (quarter-life, mid-life, empty nest, etc.) occur because we’ve lived according to someone else’s plan. We made sacrifices of our own desires so that we could appease the bigger picture…or our egos. We want to look good at all times, even if it means we ignore the self that yearns for more.
Earlier this year, I began creating a business. The original idea of my business was a hybrid of sort; part spirituality, part love and relationships, part women’s empowerment, and part social activism. I didn’t quite know how everything would pan out, but I knew that I was passionate about it and was willing to put in the hours necessary for it to work. When I presented the idea to a group of business peers, things changed.
“How are you gonna make money?” “What services are you offering other than the blog?” “What are people gonna buy from you?” and on and on it went.
I thought about it and was overwhelmed by all of this. Everything was money and none of it was heart and I quickly found myself killing the dream as I had when I was nine. Shouldn’t it be easier to do what you want when you’re older?
Hell no! Otherwise, more people would be doing what they loved. So how do we overcome the naysayers and the ones who say “you gotta do it like this”? Try these steps:
1. Don’t take it personally. I thought that the driver who almost rear-ended me yesterday did it because he hates me. Crazy, but true. Comments made about your dreams are no different. It’s not personal. Perhaps you triggered some insecurity in them or you hurt their feelings unintentionally. Whatever the case, be a duck, and let it roll of your back. And if people keep asking how you’re gonna make money by doing _________. Just say “Well, I thought you were gonna give it to me like you’re freely giving me you’re advice.” That’ll learn ’em!
2. Break rules and/or make them up as you go. Life is a risk. The very act of deciding to leave your home every morning is a risk. But we do it without much thought. When it comes to our goals, desires, and dreams, it’s no different. The rules that others say you have to follow may work or it may actually keep you stuck. The great thing is, you don’t have to know the end of your movie before you’ve written your script. Craft your rules as you go (life is a lot more fun that way).
3. You were born for greatness. You’re already perfect, you’re already a success, and you’re already worthy of everything you desire in God’s eyes. Stop shortchanging yourself and/or sabotaging yourself by creating obstacles where there are none or focusing on what you can’t control. Your desires are there because they’re supposed to be there. So…might as well do something about it!
At the end of the day, we all have choices: follow our bliss or follow the rules created by others. Which will you choose?