When I was a teenager, I was obsessed with one thing (and it’s not what you think). I woke up thinking about it, I went to bed thinking about it, and it consumed my mind throughout the day. After school, I could not wait for it. I planned every minute of my day around it. I was obsessed…and highly successful at this one thing.
For me, that one thing was golf. And the lessons I learned reaching the top levels of that game have benefited me throughout my life.
If you are like almost everyone I know, there is something you’ve always wanted to do, but someone talked you out of it. Someone told you that you’re not talented enough. Someone told you that you’re too old or too young. Too slow, too stupid, or too poor. And now, you’re left wondering what might have been. Now what?
Catherine Lanigan was like that. All throughout her young life, she considered herself a talented writer. Her teachers told she was gifted and maybe that she could make it someday as a writer.
So she entered college full of hope. She even registered for a senior level class in creative writing taught by a visiting professor from Harvard. When she wrote her very first short story for the class, the professor asked to see her.
He was the prototypical college English professor. He was 6′ 6″ tall, wore tweed coat with elbow patches and the horn-rimmed glasses. He also had the smug look of a tenured English professor (sorry if that is you, but I had three such professors in college and they all had a smug look).
Who are your biggest critics? Think about that question for a moment. Who are the people in your life who are most critical of your dreams? Who are the people that leave you feeling depleted, deflated and depressed? In today’s episode you will learn the 1 thing that will silence your critics forever…
We all have had a critic in our lives at one point or another. You know, the type of person that when you leave their presence, your energy is depleted, your joy stripped, and your dreams crushed.
The one thing I see repeatedly with ultra-successful people in any profession is that they are intentional about who they surround themselves with. Are you?
“Why don’t you get a real job?”
“You’re wasting your time on that.”
“You’ll never make any money doing that.”
A couple of years ago, my friend Bryan Allain left a secure job at a Fortune 500 company, where he’d been slowly climbing the corporate ladder for nearly a decade, to venture out on his own as a writer. When I asked him how his colleagues reacted, he said they were surprisingly supportive, some even envious. But something disturbed him.
Every conversation ended the same way. “I wish I could do that,” they would say. “Well, you can, you know,” Bryan would respond. To which they would usually list out the reasons why they felt they couldn’t. They wouldn’t know where to begin or what to do. They’d be scared of losing their health benefits or risking their family’s well-being. What if you failed, they wondered. What then?
The Problem isn’t Fear
This bothered Bryan because he felt like what they were really saying was that they were afraid—and rightly so. Quitting a job to chase a dream is anything but safe. If you’re not feeling a little insecure about taking such a leap, then you probably haven’t considered the cost. The problem, then, isn’t the fear; that’s natural. It’s that many get afraid and stay there.
Growing up I’d always been a Tiger Woods fan (until more recent indiscretions changed that). As an aspiring professional golfer, I spent hundreds of hours studying his every move. How he swung the club, how he practiced, how he worked out. I sought to model my game after his.
There was one giant problem with this strategy, though.
I wasn’t Tiger Woods. (And, surprisingly, I am still not.)
We have different body types, different styles of play, and very different approaches to the mental side of the game. Sure, there were things that I could learn from him, but trying to be like him was a big mistake.