I had been searching for something to inject some excitement in my life when blogging came along. I had no clue what it was I was going to do with it. All I knew is that it was the escape I needed. I was excited about the idea of doing something far removed from my day job. I have been in the same industry for over 20 years, for those who can relate this was big for me.
Coming from a regulated industry, blogging would allow me to explore a side of me that was a bit more unstructured. My head started buzzing with a million ideas, this was before I knew how much work I needed to put in of course. What do we do when we get excited about something, we want to share it with someone, right? Most of the time it is with people that we care about and whose opinion matter to us.
So that is what I did. Bursting with excitement, I went to someone whom I thought knew me well. Unfortunately for me on that day I did not get the reaction I was looking for. To say the least, this person laughed in my face. It was a joke to them; how could I even think of doing something like that. As passionate as I was in relating my idea, I was told to get real and that was the end of the discussion. We moved on to the next topic.
I felt all the adrenalin leaving my body. I did not even ask why this person gave me such a response.
Was it because it was me or the idea itself was not good? I started trying to figure out what this person really meant. That is when self-doubt kicked in. I had been on top of a mountain with excitement, and I slowly started to descend back to my reality. I felt stupid for even coming up with this idea let alone sharing it. What was I even thinking, blogging was not for people like me.
The funny thing is I had made some big decisions in my life without needing validation and yet this one hit me hard. I really needed someone to tell me I could do this. It wasn’t because I believed that I couldn’t do it. What was it about then?
I felt judged.
In my mind this was about me not the blog idea. Had someone else told them the same thing they would have reacted differently. Maybe someone younger, more glamourous, or even more adventurous than me. Was there something wrong with me, I was having all these questions and answers within myself. I needed reasons why blogging was not for me so I started to make a list. Looking back now, I feel silly about it because those reasons had never defined how I live my life.
Throughout my career I have taken on projects with less than 30% information available going in and delivered impressive results. I have done it many times because I love to challenge myself. So why did this person’s opinion matter that much.
Then I started thinking that maybe some people were right about not sharing what makes you happy. I should have kept the excitement to myself, quietly started the blog. Sharing attracts opinion, I should have known better.
We have all felt let down by people we care about at some point in our lives, whether they intended to do so or not. We tend to expect only positive feedback because we think people that know us also know what we are capable of. So, when they tell you something is not a promising idea, we almost always believe them.
I am sure that there are things in your own life that you stopped doing or didn’t even attempt because someone you care about didn’t think that it was a good idea for you. It could have been this hairstyle that you saw in a magazine and really liked. When someone told you it would not suit you, their opinion mattered more than yours.
You are stuck in a job that you hate because of someone else’s opinion. Turning your sewing hobby into a business at 35 was a financial risk, they said.
Opinions of people we care about do matter to us. But who has the final say on how we lead our lives? Should their opinion matter more than our own?
Back to my blogging journey. It took me a few weeks to get back to it. I felt empty without thinking about the blog. It was as if I had lost my best friend. Because prior to this incident that is all I thought about. I really felt lost. So, I decided to start all over and have not stopped ever since.
Starting this blog meant so much to me, so I still wanted to share it with someone. One day I got talking to an office acquaintance about general stuff. She ended up telling me how passionate she was about graphic design. I am not sure how it happened, I connected with her. Here was someone in the same office with me but aspires to follow what makes them happy.
Without hesitation I shared my blogging idea. I felt safe to do so for some reason. But this time around I put it lightly without too much enthusiasm just in case it turns out like the last time. I would not feel so let down if it did. Approaching the subject with caution, even though this person did not know me as well as the first one. I kept my expectations low.
I was caught off guard by the response I received. She got me, she understood how important this was for me. She believed in me and that I could do it. Even though I had already decided that I would go ahead anyway regardless of the initial encounter. Her feedback triggered something within me.
I do not remember the rest of what we talked about; all I know is that I immediately started climbing back up to the top of the mountain. Back to where I had started.
We have become close friends and business partners. I am glad I shared my passion with her.
Sharing what we love comes with its own challenges. I think for me it is the fear of being judged. Sometimes I cannot explain or give reasons why I love something but know that I just do. Because when I think of it, I get goosebumps or butterflies in my stomach.
It is different for everyone though. Others feel safe to keep it to themselves. It could be for reasons that you once shared a business idea, and someone stole it, made it their own. Or that you were told that you could not do something because you are not the right gender or even race. Or maybe you are simply a private person. There is no right or wrong way, do what feels safe for you.
But for those who like to share what makes them happy like myself, here are a few lessons that I have learnt:
- Sharing attracts diverse opinion, therefore be aware that feedback may not always be positive
- Your timing maybe great but not theirs. They may be going through stuff that has nothing to do with you, therefore your excitement may not be on their priority list
- Others give feedback based on their own experiences, sometimes people do not look outside of themselves
- If feedback is important, explain your idea further and why you feel this is the right time for you
- Try connecting with people who have similar interests, there is a chance they will understand you better
- Expect the unexpected, great feedback sometimes comes from people who do not know you well, but understand what passion is about
- When people are not knowledgeable about a subject, they tend to provide biased or one-sided feedback
- Sometimes society dictates what we can do or cannot do and therefore it maybe a culture shock for some people
- Always remember why you want to try something new. Even though opinions of people we care about matter, you are the one who matters the most
I am at the point in my life where I want to try new things. Not everyone will be comfortable but isn’t it that which makes us unique. I will continue to share things that make me happy because, you never know, I may end up inspiring someone to follow their passion.
Remember to always do what makes you happy.
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