Lately I’ve been seeing versions of this quote floating around a lot on Instagram. I suppose that could partly be because I follow a lot of quotes that post inspirational or motivational quotes and entrepreneurial tips. But I also know that eventually when you see something enough that you find yourself thinking about it more. It follows, therefore, that I’ve found this to be an epiphany of sorts, especially when I think about trying to explain my plans and the things I’m working on to other people who ask about what I’m doing.
To back up a bit, I should explain that I recently came to a conclusion…or decision really, about my current job/occupation. In the process of reaching said conclusion, I recently found myself thinking a lot about how most people I know approach jobs, work, and careers. What struck me was how regardless of the field (I’ve gone between 2 primarily: Journalism/media and Education) there has always been this sentiment amongst many people I’ve met: dissatisfaction with the job but resignation to be satisfied to have said job. I know many would count that as just people being realistic with the rose-colored glasses about their careers off, but to me it’s always just been sad. When you’re around that kind of mindset consistently you can start to think that you’re either sheltered, naïve, or privileged to even think about terms like “purpose” or “dream job.” Even more, it can make you feel like you’re ungrateful to want more or, dare I say it, walk away from a job you hate. The idea is that you’re supposed to be thankful just to have a job – even if the thought of it has begun to give you anxiety attacks.
That’s the world most of us seem to live in. It can feel almost like a luxury to even talk about having a purpose, let alone trying to pursue one. On one hand you can go on Instagram or Twitter and see endless motivational quotes or captions about “grinding” and “hustling.” But on the other hand, you’ll see random people talking down to or discarding such messages as though to actually be talking about dreams and purpose is absurd, self-indulgent, or pointless. I won’t ask when or where people became so jaded or hopeless because I know the world can be cruel. I also know that not everyone has, let alone believes in, dreams. Knowing that and accepting that can make it hard to want to talk about your dreams and goals.
But what I realized is this: the truth is that sometimes when you’re on your journey and trying to walk in your purpose, people around you are not going to understand. And that’s okay. It’s not for them to get. These can be friends, family, or even complete strangers. If you’re anything like me, you may know this already about those close to you and may be uncomfortable even talking about your plans because of that. It isn’t that they don’t mean well. Some have genuine worry or concern for you. Of course some are questioning and doubting you from a place of their own fear. But the thing is, as much as you may love them and want them to get it: It’s not for them to understand because it’s not their vision.
I firmly believe that we were each created with a mission, a purpose to serve. Some people realize what theirs is early in life, some later in life, and some go to their grave without ever realizing theirs. But no two people walk the exact same path or have the exact same qualities, talents, and perspectives, regardless of shared similarities. We’re all unique. It can be the best feeling ever when we realize someone else gets us or understands and can appreciate our individual journey. But even if no one else does, it doesn’t make our individuality and purpose any less valid or valuable. It also doesn’t make them less of a person. It just simply is not for them to see or get.
If you are a reformed people-pleaser like me (reformed to the point that I really dislike people-pleasers- or at least the “people pleasing trait”- and try to not be around them whenever possible) it can still be a habit to want someone, especially someone close to you, to cosign your ideas, plans, and goals. I know that too many times in life I’ve played out conversations in my head about how to explain my decisions and desires. To be completely honest, I currently find myself doing that at times. But then, as soon as I hear that inner voice that likes to play out those kind of unhelpful conversations, I tell her to “Shut-up” and “kick rocks.” Listening to that voice and engaging it only creates the doubts that can snowball into second-guessing my intuition. And that can lead to halting my progress towards completing my goals, which I definitely do not want.
Ultimately, however, I think about the fact that it’s my life and me not following my heart will end up negatively affecting me – not them. It would also prevent me from impacting whoever my purpose here is meant to impact. Sometimes our dreams are bigger than us. Even if that can seem daunting, it also makes it even more important that we go for them and not let the doubts of others get in our way. In the end, if they don’t get it, that’s their problem, not yours.