“You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.” –A.A. Milne, Winnie The Pooh
“Do you know anyone else who is doing this? Because I don’t personally know anyone who has done it, and this is the first time I’ve ever heard of someone trying something like this.”
“Among our friends? No. We are the only ones doing it.”
“Hmmm…then why don’t you just stay here? There’s not much to see in Southeast Asia aside from lots of poverty, and it’s just dirty there. Besides, everything here in California is the best! Trust me, you will miss it.”
“Thanks for sharing your opinion, and letting us know you care. We’ve talked this over with each other for a long time, and this has been our dream. It’s already decided, we’ve sold all our stuff and we’re ready to go.”
“Suit yourself, but you know…it’s your life and you guys really need to figure this out.”
You might encounter a similar conversation when you decide to make one of your big dreams a reality.
What do you do? How do you handle well-intentioned people who may not understand why you’re going about with your crazy dream?
Make Yourself Comfortable
When you make plans to step out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself to live more and fear less, be aware that you will make others uncomfortable in the process.
As fantastic as your plans might sound to you, there will be those in the herd that are terrified at the prospect of what you are doing, be it traveling the world, quitting your job to go full on into your business, jumping out of a plane, or otherwise.
When others try to rationalize your decision, they can only frame it within their own context.
In this case, I was reminded of a phrase my dad always used to ask me: “Would you jump off the edge of a cliff if your friends did it too?” (All you base-jumpers can raise your hands now in solidarity)
If you’re not careful, you’ll get sucked into a debate where you find yourself trying to convince the other person to see it your way. You may even start to doubt your decision if the other person is a stronger debater.
The calmer you can be in the face of criticism about your decision, the more convinced others will be that you’re firm on it.
Remember, your self-talk is the most important voice to cultivate when it comes to going after your big dreams. People may offer you advice, but only you will know what the right path is for you.
What you hear on the inside is more important than what you hear on the outside.
Start to let others in on your plans only after you’ve made yourself 100% comfortable with your decision. People will expect you to justify your plans. If you’re 100% committed, there’s no need to justify.
Own Your Thoughts
Others’ notion of what’s “best” will always be according to their own biases and beliefs. When you’ve decided to act, you’ve already taken into consideration the “risks” of your venture and have concluded that they are acceptable.
It might make others in the herd uncomfortable, but don’t let their discomfort deter you from your goal. They could come up with a hundred reasons that your plan won’t work out. You’ve got to have within yourself a hundred reasons why it will succeed.
Remember this: It’s your dream. You define what “success” means. Do not measure it against what others believe it is.
Even though it was our path, you don’t need to quit your job like so many other blogs tell you to. If you love your job, and success to you is being able to retire at 50, and that means working your tail off to make it happen, then own that goal…and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Commit To Act
When someone tells you all the reasons you should reconsider (e.g. the grass is greener here, you don’t know what it’s like out there), they mean well. But this rationale can be applied to any decision.
If you drive to the store, you could get into an accident. If you eat raw sushi, you could get food poisoning. If you love driving, and are fanatic about sushi, why would these possibilities stop you? Every decision, even daily ones, carry with them some level of risk.
At some point in your planning, you said to yourself “I have enough to go off of, and it looks like I can pull this off.” Don’t allow another person’s ideas to nudge you off course.
These “helpful” objections to your plan are really designed to make themselves feel comfortable about their own beliefs. Stick to your guns, and make your move.
Everyone wants to do something epic in their life, but they are looking around to see who’s willing to cross the bridge first.
If it’s going to be you, then you must spend less time running your ideas by people to get their “approval”, and spend more of your energy thinking about how your goal might benefit your life and the lives of others.
You can spend a lifetime analyzing the “what ifs”, but in the end you’re still left with the same to options: Do or do not.
“It’s not the outcome that matters. It’s the decision to act.” –Chris Guillebeau
If you’re still bouncing back and forth with your decision, reconsider revealing your plan until you’re totally committed to it.
You can always find reasons (and others will gladly help you) to convince yourself to back out.
We hope you decide to change the world in whatever way you’re dream of doing it. Be comfortable with discomfort of the idea.
Because there’s only one thing more uncomfortable than knowing that you tried and it didn’t work out: Not going through with it, looking back, and wishing you had given it a shot.
Besides…the world needs people like you. People who aren’t afraid to challenge the status quo. And if you’re willing to take that step, you’ll find you’re not as alone as you thought.
The Universe Comes Through For You
When we started this journey, we didn’t have any “friends who are also doing this”.
“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” –from ‘The Alchemist’, by Paulo Coelho
We still decided to act, and shortly after became friends with a community of others doing their own part to change the world and helping others to do the same. Each in their own way, they have helped us along this incredible journey.
Go check them out, leave them a comment if you fancy what they’ve got to say. They’re incredibly awesome friends of ours…and they would love to hear from you.
Jodi Ettenberg @ Legal Nomads – Lawyer-turned-adventurer, and another great friend of ours, who just celebrated four years of solo travel around the world.
Chris Guillebeau @ AONC – Our friend and confidant needs no introduction. He’s the bestselling author of the The Art Of Non-Conformity, our personal hero and author of another hit title: The $100 Startup.
Annie Andre @ Practical Adventureology – Our Bay Area homegirl, who recently moved her whole family across the pond to Marseilles France to start a new life, and is helping others do the same.
Is there a dream you’ve been inspired to share after reading this post? Let us know in the comments!
Meanwhile, stay tuned to the next post in our Travel Mythbuster series where we’ll stretch your thinking even more with post #2 where we’ll cover the idea of traveling by yourself.