The day I decided that I was done with waking up, showering, eating a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch and strolling into an office for work each day in favor of sitting on the couch in my PJs to build websites while watching Ms. Doubtfire on HBO – was a day I’ll never forget.
It was also a day in which I received very mixed reactions from those around me. When I had the “I’m starting my own business” talk, folks had one of two responses:
The “You’re crazy/you don’t know what you’re doing” crowd: Many considered me crazy and without hesitation gave me the “We’ll see how long it lasts – be prepared to start looking for a “real” job” speech. I wouldn’t call them naysayers as much as I’d call them people who didn’t quite understand the path I intended to travel down. These were friends, family members, and acquaintances who were accustomed to having a paycheck handed to them, getting a nice benefits package, and calling it a day – so the idea of only making what you earn and, dare I say, living without health insurance, was inconceivable.
They didn’t WANT to see me fail, rather, they expected it. The concept of a (then) 24 year old making good money and being a business owner , to them, was “unrealistic”.
The “You’re the most awesome/amazing/sexy (okay I made that last one up) crowd” Then there were those who thought I was brilliant. Who patted me on the back and said things like “I wish I could do that” or “I could never do what you’ve done”. While the ego-boost of being this all-mighty average-guy turned entrepreneur-rockstar (in their eyes) felt good and gave me confidence, at the same time I responded to every single one of them with the same message: That anything I was doing could be done by anyone else. Not everyone, but anyone. That I wasn’t brilliant, I wasn’t especially skilled in one particular area, but rather, I was (and am) very good at being resourceful, figuring things out, and embracing what I should, and more importantly, should not be focusing on. That above all, I believed in myself.
All of you, every single one, the lovers and the haters, the naysayers and the praisers, have played an integral part in helping me to develop where I am today. You’ve helped me keep two feet on the ground when my head’s been in the clouds, and you’ve pushed me away from being “realistic” in favor of taking risks and bold leaps of faith.
We all of people in our lives who fall into these two groups – they help define who we are and who we’ll become.
Stop and think about the people in your life that tell you that you cant, or shouldn’t be doing what you’re doing. Instead of letting that hold you back, let it motivate you, prove them wrong, but more importantly, prove yourself right.
And to those who praise you, cheer you on, and thank you – continue paving the way for them, and others, who have the itch to be doing something different. Who want to make a transition to something new but don’t know how to take the first step, who want to quit their job to start their own business but are worried about money. Show them that it can be done, and more importantly, will be done.
Continue being crazy AND brilliant. No one ever made great things happen without getting a little crazy along the way.