Last week I mentioned a mastermind panel that I was privileged to be a part of. The two most prevalent questions were, “how do I find my passion?” and “how do I deal with others’ lack of support?” We covered the first question in our previous blog and this week I’d like to discuss a bit about how to handle the “alone” factor when pursuing your passion. I listened as many people took the microphone to question us about how we handle it when those closest to us do not support us in the pursuit of our goals and dreams.
First let’s discuss some ground rules. I’ve known people who hadn’t settled their own personal debt yet had a goal of starting their own business by borrowing money from others. I’ve worked for individuals who resorted to unethical means to get the inside edge and acquire more business. If you are pursing something via means that are immoral, illegal or unethical you will be alone, but not for the right reasons.
This blog is about the loneliness that finds those obedient to their inner calling. First of all, if you do find yourself alone you are doing the right thing. In his speech, The Price of Leadership
, Charlie “Tremendous” Jones details the cost of being a leader. The first price you must pay is loneliness. Secondly, don’t expect anyone other than you to truly grasp your passion. Living your life to its greatest potential is a role that has been fashioned for you and you alone. So there really is no other human being who will truly get all that you are trying to do.
The other big thing that can be the source of loneliness for all the wrong reasons is that you personally
cannot be the center of your passion. If your drive is all about bringing power or prestige to you, you’ll fight your true passion and you’ll fail. It’s a constant struggle with ego and pride. Bringing your passion to fruition is about being obedient to painting something bigger than yourself. You are not the center of the picture, but rather the frame. If your closest allies are not supportive of your goals, have you considered that it might be because your goals are all about you
So if you are noble in your goal and pure of heart, please know that you will still encounter loneliness; but it will be for all the right reasons. Many times throughout my career my closest allies and even my family members shook their heads in disagreement over a decision. But I knew in my heart it was a decision I had to make. And I don’t deal well with the regret of not having made a decision, even if I make the wrong one. I consider regretting what I’ve done infinitely easier to swallow that regretting what I haven’t done.
One of the best stories I’ve read recently on following your vision despite lack of support is the story of Walt Disney
as he prepared for the release of his first feature length animated film. Everybody, including his own wife and brother, told him he was crazy and that nobody would sit through a full length animated movie. But Walt’s vision and willingness to endure the loneliness turned “Disney’s Folly” into the highest grossing film of all time.
Reading stories like this encourages me. We assume successful people were always successful and always had the support of coworkers and family. We always assume that the overnight success didn’t have to work day and night for the previous 20 years. But that is the price great leaders must pay for achieving their vision and they are not scared of being alone.