If a renowned and trusted role model in your industry has doubts about you, should you have doubts, too?
What about if your family, who of course know you best, knows you just “aren’t cut out” for pursuing your dream? If your significant other doesn’t think it’s practical? If your friends don’t understand you?
The truth is that at some point, people you love, people you respect, and people you don’t even know are going to doubt you and the things you’re doing. What you have to remember is that there are many, many irrelevant reasons for someone to question you or your passions. For recent graduates, the doubt usually stems from a lack of life and workplace experience and the negative traits that are associated with being young.
Being young has its pros and cons, but it is never a reason for your opinions, ideas, or passions to be extinguished or for your potential contributions to be invalidated. Listen to constructive feedback and set goals for self-improvement every day–but never believe that you aren’t yet “enough” to make a difference in this world or to follow your dreams. Chase them wholeheartedly, sidestep the negativity, persist even when there are hills to climb and enjoy that metaphorical medal at the end after refusing to give up.
The only thing being young means is that you’re going to make a few more mistakes and that you have some learning to do. Don’t buy into the “too young, too inexperienced, too powerless” mantra. Age is no greater of a “flaw” than being a procrastinator or a perfectionist or being one of those people who likes candy corn.
To wrap this “go get ’em” post up with a beautifully inspirational bow, I’m going to end it with a stereotypical list of famous people who were doubted by others and still turned out to be successful. You know a lot of them — find others in your life and in your industry who inspire you. Become one of these inspiring stories.
- Oprah Winfrey — fired because she was too emotionally attached to her stories as a news reporter.
- Elvis Presley — was told that he should go back to driving trucks rather than pursue a career in music.
- Thomas Edison — fired from Western Union when, during one of his secret experiments, he spilled acid that ate through the floor.
- Einstein — was painfully slow to catch on to talking and reading and eventually expelled from school.
- Lucille Ball from the show I Love Lucy — was considered such a poor actress that she was encouraged to pursue a different career.
- Abraham Lincoln — fell in rank while in the military, failed at starting up a ton of businesses, and couldn’t get elected to public office before becoming president.
- Socrates — pursued new philosophical ideas despite criticism that he was corrupting the young.
- Stephen King — his first book was rejected 30 times. Yes, thirty times!
- Michael Jordan — was cut from his high school basketball team.
- J. K. Rowling — fired from Amnesty International for writing stories throughout the workday. Harry Potter was rejected by all of the major publishing houses.
- Jim Carey — booed off the stage during his first stand-up comedy bit and turned down during an audition with Saturday Night Live.
- Katy Perry — was dropped from her first three record labels.
- Henry Ford — his first two automobile companies failed.
- Bill Gates — his first business also failed.
- Walt Disney — was fired from his newspaper job because he didn’t have imagination or creative ideas (so his editor said, anyway).
- Charles Darwin — dropped out of medical school and was generally considered to be lazy.
- Lady Gaga — was dropped by her record label after only 3 months.