Do you know your discouragers’ club?
We all probably have been there. You have an idea that you are excited about. You cannot help but share without being selective and boom you meet your discouragers’ club. They will find every single reason why you should never pursue the idea, why it is impossible, all the ways it will never work. You know them, you met them, right? They could be people really close to you too like your parents, friends and even your significant other (which is the hardest).
Our inner, smaller voice (actually our ego) also wants to listen to your discouragers’ club. That little voice is so scared anyways. It is already making scenarios of failure and ridicule for you. They are in the same team. They will do everything to stop you taking risks. They will discourage you like it is their biggest mission, of course in the name of protecting you.
We can also be in the discouragers’ club of our children too. If our children want to go out of the path we know, choose not go to college, are drawn to ideas we have never heard before, we want to stop them right there on their tracks. If you choose to look really deep down though, we are actually trying to protect ourselves at least as much as we are trying to protect them. If you admit, actually what we face is this: we do not know what to do with ourselves if they fail and we see it as a projection of our own bad parenting. That is why we want to stop them. So secretly what we say to ourselves is: “Please darling choose the path I am familiar, so that when and if you fail, I would at least know what to do. Nobody can judge me either, because I gave you the same success formula that is widely accepted in our society.”
So either way, discouragers’ club members are projecting what they are afraid to take on. They are so scared and they are scared for others for trying bold moves. Nobody knows for sure if they will fail if they follow this new idea or this new path though.
We all know the people who change the world make a lot of mistakes, take many wrong paths, go through the ups and downs before they make any new idea work. Nobody who is always seeking safety has ever done anything remarkable. So all those people you and I want to stop may be the ones who will change the world. Do you really want to take the responsibility of stopping someone from doing what they were born to do and may have a great ding in this world because you are so afraid to get out of your own safe but not-so-exciting cocoon?
Like my friend Richard Leider says, when there is a new idea there is always that period you are ridiculed and then it gets wild opposition until people have enough evidence in their hands to be at least curious about it.
"“Those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world usually do.”
How do I know? Except my very supportive husband and a handful of friends, I had to go through these stages myself with my Purpose work. I felt so lonely and ridiculed about questioning purpose in my life and in my work 25 years ago. I felt like I am out of this world and like something is fundamentally wrong with me. Especially when I left my well paying job with no plans on what to do next. I spent years and years searching for my purpose with no great answer. I had enough discouragers (and still do by the way), but I never ever gave up. Why? Something inside of me always said it is the right thing to do. Even when my discouragers’ club had me go into periods of self-doubt, I was able to shake it off each and every time.
So I will not say "disengage completely from your discouragers’ club" because they may include people you love, but remind yourself they have this great intention to protect you. At the same time, they can never tell what is best for you. Only you can. So have faith in ideas that moves you, inspires you, wakes you up in the morning with excitement even when nobody else can. That is the only way to stay true to yourself and the world. If you have a supportive husband like I do, then you are far luckier than others. So hear them but know you do not need to listen to them. They may never have the courage to do what you do; they may be quite happy in their comfort zone but you can choose to be different and be brave. It is your life after all. If you make mistakes, they will be yours too. It is OK.
One day your discouragers’ club can even turn into your inspired-by-you club when they watch you go through that rough road determined to do what you cared about so much.