I learned a long time ago to say "Yes" to any opportunity that came my way. I didn't worry about whether or not I was qualified or had the right job experiences. I had other people around me that did the worrying for me. I would hear, "Are you sure this is something you really want to do?" "Other people deserve this title more than you." "I don't think this is the right time for you to be experimenting with a different course of action." I'm sure they all meant well. I wanted to think that my future was important to them. I understood, quickly, that wasn't the case at all. I began to realize that they were projecting their fears onto me. They couldn't see that taking chances was the way to grow and find success. They were too afraid of failure. This phenomenon is called "The Crab Effect."
Picture a bucket of crabs. One crab decides to try to climb the wall and escape. Just as he reaches the top, the other crabs pull him back down. Instead of working together and seeing an opportunity to survive, the crabs keep each other from breaking free. They refuse to let one of their own take, what they believe to be, an unnecessary risk.
Many people find it hard to be a cheerleader for their friend or family member who wants to move in a new direction. The idea that someone wants to venture out on their own, be it self-improvement, relocate to a new city, or try for a promotion, seems too much of uncertainty. Instead of being supportive, a sense of hostility results instead. Phrases are thrown around to cause self-doubt to the person looking to improve themselves. "What makes you think you're special? "How can you leave the rest of us behind? "Don't you see how many other people are doing what you want to do? "You can't be successful, because you're not good enough."
It's not easy to have family and friends discourage you from reaching your goals. It's hard enough to convince ourselves that we deserve better in our life. I've found that once I set out for a different adventure, people came out of the woodwork to guide me. I've always trusted that I will get the encouragement I need when I stay focused on a new project. Suddenly, I'll find the right people who will offer advice, connect me with others who can help me, and find programs to further my education.
It's critical to surround ourselves with people who see and appreciate our talents. My tip, join a mastermind group where you'll be able to bounce ideas off each other. The internet is an excellent place to start. Find a community that is open to new members. You can try Facebook or LinkedIn. Many groups are now doing virtual meetings. You can connect with people from all over the world and ask for help. You may also find a mentor who will be happy to advise and keep you on track. It never hurts to ask people that you admire for guidance. Look for someone working towards a similar goal and ask if they would like to join forces with you. You can help each other stay accountable for the plans that you've laid out.
I don't believe that our loved ones deliberately keep us from pursuing our dreams. Their reluctance to step outside of their comfort zone should not be the reason that keeps us in the same bucket. Our choices for what we want out of life is up to us. I would rather learn from my failures than look back on my life with regrets. When you're ready to take that leap of faith, trust someone will be there to catch you.