They say pursuing your dreams is difficult. I’m not disagreeing, but I don’t find it’s difficult in the way that you expect. “Be prepared for struggle,” they say. “Things will get rough, and you’ll have to make adjustments. Nothing worth having comes easy.”
In the beginning, that may be true. You question your motives for stepping away from the path everyone else seems to take. But sooner rather than later, it’s easy. The right people show up, and things fall in place in ways that you couldn’t have imagined. You’re in the mystical flow.
Here’s where pursuing your dreams gets difficult.
You’ve got to explain the “new” you to your old friends.
These are people who are used to your old way of thinking and being. The difficulty lies in trying to relate to the people who’ve been in your life for a long time.
I experienced this most recently with one of my friends. We used to gab about bad bosses and even worse dates. That was until I took ownership of the way I showed up in my life. Instead of commiserating, I’d try to share my new optimistic perspective. She’d ask me the same questions, and I had different answers. She seemed surprised, and sometimes less talkative. Our phone calls became less frequent.
I love her, and so I’d try to talk only about the things that I thought we still had in common. I projected that she would be uncomfortable– and her life was moving into a direction that was different from mine. I would avoid talking about my great new client, or the unexpected award I received because I wasn’t sure where our common places were anymore.
When you love someone, sometimes you try to express that love by squeezing yourself into a role that you’ve outgrown. Or worse, you hide your success. Love never requires you to compromise your integrity.
This is a crucial piece of the puzzle I’ve written about. Here are your 3 questions:
1. Have you had a frank talk with your closest friends about where you see your life going?
If you can’t let your friends know about the vision for your life, ask yourself why. Check in to where they are going and if they will understand why you want something different.
2. Do they really support you getting there?
Moving off the mainstream into your own stream means that you are creating a new way forward. When you start to do things differently, will they cheer you on or nag you to spend your time doing something normal? The leadership of your life is too important to have negative feedback from your inner circle.
3. Are you willing to lose their approval to pursue your joy?
You have this life right now to pursue your joy. Do you trust that while you’re in pursuit, you’ll meet the people who understand you? Having someone’s approval is not a surrogate for your personal fulfillment.
Take this quick inventory. If you’re overly concerned about what your friends will think of your success, ask yourself if you’re ready to walk this walk. The right people will grow with you.