Are you doing something innovative and new? Are you committed to a vision for your life and taking risks to make it happen? Are you setting goals for yourself that you previously didn’t think you could achieve? If so, you’ve undoubtedly encountered some haters. Whether you’re trying to take your health and fitness to the next level or making bold moves in your career, these 3 reminders will help you deal with their doubts.
1. You need a support system, not more opinions. A few years ago I decided out of the blue that I wanted to start running. I had been doing yoga for years and never liked cardio, but felt moved to begin a running practice. I know the importance of setting attainable goals so I decided to ease into running. I decided to start 2-3 days a week and signed up for a low stakes 5-k that was a few months away. I was discussing my new running goal with someone who said, “You probably won’t get very fast running two or three days a week.” Who said I wanted to be fast? I just wanted to build a running practice. I knew my goals were reasonable so I paid their advice no mind. But it’s important to know the difference between advice and opinions.
Regardless of someone’s intentions there is a clear distinction between a supportive suggestion and an unhelpful opinion. I’m not saying opinions and support are mutually exclusive, but their differences are important to note. When in these situations, try to ask yourself : Do I feel supported, encouraged, and excited to continue working towards my goal after I speak to them? Does this person pay as much attention to my accomplishments as they do to my mistakes? Do I regularly feel judged defensive when we speak? Let the answers to those questions determine how often you interact with those people.
2. You do not owe them an explanation. Haters can often put you in a the role of explaining and/or defending your vision for your life. But, despite how much they might pry, remember that you do not owe them an explanation. In the beginning of embarking on an ambitious goal for yourself you’re in an extremely vulnerable position. Your main job is to try to protect your dream and stay in touch with your motivation. Which brings me to my favorite and final tip to remember.
3. Focus on your own vision, not on the haters. Contrary to one of hip hop’s favorite phrases, haters shouldn’t be your sole motivators. By defining your success in terms of their acknowledgement, you give them far too much power. Do not wait for someone else to validate your vision for yourself. Congratulate yourself for every single victory you have, no matter how small it may seem. As I’ve opened my business this summer I’ve done something to commemorate every step forward, including completing bureaucratic paperwork and opening my business bank account. This practice keeps me motivated when things get hard.
As my mother once said, “Go where you’re celebrated, not where you’re tolerated.” And most importantly, celebrate yourself.