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I’m Only As Good As Other People Think I Am

Have you ever had a dream or an idea, shared it with your closest family and friends, and then been told that your dream is stupid, lacks common sense, is a bad idea, will never happen, isn’t something you could possibly pull off,…..(add on your own list of responses)  ?

And then, after you’ve been completely blasted (or felt like you were, because you didn’t get the positive response you were hoping for) you end up believing they’re right?  So, you either give up on your idea entirely and never even try, or, you half-ass your idea.  In order to avoid proving everyone right by failing (which you are now beginning to believe will happen if you pursue this idea) you do just a tiny bit of work towards your goals, once in a while.  Thus, in fact, you are guaranteed to fail because you put so little effort in, that success is impossible, and you’ve quietly proved that other people were right about you all along.

If you never dare to accomplish your dream, then how can you know what you’re capable of? 

I was recently watching the movie “Legally Blonde” with Reese Witherspoon and it reminded me of just how important it is for each of us to believe in ourselves.  In the movie, Elle Woods (Reese) is labelled a cute, dumb blond by many.  She is President of her sorority and though sweet, doesn’t seem terribly intelligent, except when it comes to the components of the garments she shops for.  Her boyfriend thinks she’s nothing more than cute, fling material.  Her parents think she’s too pretty to be serious, and her school guidance counsellor doesn’t think she has enough brains to do much with her life.

But, despite everyone’s low expectations, Elle studies, passes the Bar exam, and successfully applies to Harvard Law School.

Now, I realize, this is a movie, and there are some logical flaws. Her original motivation is to impress the man of her dreams and Elle’s video resume might not be quite  up to Harvard’s standards in real life, to name a couple, however, I have to admire how her character persists despite the clear lack of a support system from her closest family and friends, apart from “yes, dear.” 

She is surrounded by people that don’t understand her vision, and to whom her vision makes no sense.  Instead of caving in, like so many of us are tempted to do, or getting stuck in drama and anger and lingering in negative thoughts about how nobody sees her or believes in her, she gets up, takes initiative, grabs the proverbial bull by the horns, and dares to make her dreams come true.

She continues to be her non-conforming self at Harvard where she sticks out like a duck in a field of cows.  In the end, she succeeds at not only exceeding everyone else’s expectations, but her own as well.

Other people have only as much power over you as you believe they do.

And that’s the real gift – the possibility for each of us, that if we step outside our comfort zone, and dare to take a step towards an idea, a dream, or a passion that no one else believes can happen, it may be you that is most delightfully surprised at just what you are capable of.

So, today’s call to action is, dare to dream.  If you haven’t for a while, then get back in touch with what your dream used to be.  Business owner? Circus clown?  Artist? CEO of your company?  Olympic Skiier?… If that old dream doesn’t fit you anymore, then take a moment to feel what your dream is right now. What is it that you would most love to do with your life that you’ve been putting off doing?  Savor the vision of that dream and figure out one small step you can take, today, towards making it happen, even if no one else thinks you can do it.  :-)

 

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