By Liz Ryan
I learned a lot of useful stuff in school but I learned a lot of nonsense, too. I was taught to defer to adults, no matter what — terrible advice! I was taught to be quiet when somebody older and presumably smarter than me was talking.
I was taught to work hard at tasks that other people assigned me. I would never teach a kid to do that now! Kids need to learn to trust their instincts, not to stifle them.
<PI learned that other people are more powerful than I am. That's a terrible idea for a kid to get in their head. Too many adults still walk around believing that other people are more powerful than they are.
Other people are not more powerful than you are, unless you allow them to be.
You get to decide how to live your life and how to run your own career. You get to decide and you have to decide, because “not deciding” is a choice in itself (and the worst choice you can make).
Over the years I believed I couldn’t have the life and career I wanted. I thought I would have to conform to somebody else’s rules instead of my own. Here are some of the reasons I was under that misconception:
1. I didn’t have the “right” bachelor’s degree.
2. I didn’t understand as much about certain topics — finance and technology, for instance — as some of my peers did.
3. I didn’t have or want an MBA.
4. I couldn’t decide on just one thing I wanted to do well.
5. I didn’t realize that I could design my career to suit myself, rather than trying to squash myself into a tiny box because I thought I had to.
Gradually I came out of the fog. I realized that if I wanted my job to combine the things I do well and love to do — speaking, writing, drawing, coaching and singing — then I had to create the job I wanted and step into it. Once I could see my vision clearly, other people would see it too.
If you want to achieve your dreams you’ve got to do things differently than most people do. You have to step out of the traditional boxes that we have been taught define us.
You get to define yourself — and if you want to achieve your dreams, you must invest the time and energy it will take to decide who you want to be. That’s a big step to take. It can feel scary.
People will tell you “Your vision is dumb. It’s been done before — and better. Who are you to have a vision? You should settle down and stop trying to be different.”
If you’re willing to push through other people’s negativity and your own fears, you can reach your dreams. Why shouldn’t you? You have a right to the life and career you want — but to have those things, you have to believe you deserve them.
Here are ten signs you’ve got what it takes to be successful:
1. You are willing to make big changes in your life to reach your goals. If you have to move to a new place, you’ll do it. You don’t have any money? You’ll figure out a way to live on pennies.
2. You are willing to startle and even upset people around you. When you set an ambitious goal, many or most of your friends and family members may scoff. People will try to get you to stay in your little box. You have to be willing to deal with negativity in people around you — or even walk away from relationships if necessary.
3. You trust yourself enough to design a vision for your life and career, even if the vision seems impractical or ridiculous. You will continue to refine your vision over time, and the more you do the more clearly your vision will come into view.
4. You are willing to take responsibility for everything that happens as you travel your path. It is much easier to blame people and things — the weather, the economy, bad bosses, bad friends or bad luck — but you will find that when you give power to other people and things like the economy and the weather, you get weaker — not stronger.
5. You are willing to continue looking for your own part in any challenge that arises along your path, and to keep learning about yourself as you go.
6. You are willing to speak your truth, even when your opinions are unpopular.
7. You are willing to face setbacks and keep moving forward. You are willing to keep facing obstacles and surmounting them for years if necessary.
8. You are willing to make constant changes and adjustments. Your carefully-laid plans will probably not match reality for very long. You’ll keep shifting and learning as you go.
9. You’re willing to work as hard as you need to in order to realize your vision. When your vision drives you forward, it won’t feel like work.
10. You are willing to cultivate a high tolerance for uncertainty. Stepping out of the known into the unknown is inherently scary. We crave security. When you go after your dreams, you leave the familiar behind and step into the land of “I have no idea what’s going to happen now.”
The ability to handle uncertainty is a muscle everybody can grow!
Do you have what it takes to be successful? These are not skills most of us learned as kids. That’s okay — we can learn them now.
You can start this minute! Get a journal and write in it. Write about your vision for your life and career. Who cares what anyone else might think about your vision? Those people are not walking your path — you are!
Read the full article here.
This content was originally published by Forbes Magazine. Original publishers retain all rights. It appears here for a limited time before automated archiving. By Forbes Magazine