At one point in my career, I was going to quit dentistry. I’d mistaken my burnout as a dislike for the profession. Once I built up the courage to let go of my financial security, my social status, and the fear of failure, I put a notice to my office manager.
What surprised me the most about this choice was the responses I got from the people around me.
A common question I got was: “Well, what will you do?”
It was a genuine curiosity from a few and worry from others.
I was so fascinated by the people who worried for me, because in my mind there was an infinite amount of possibilities to choose from. I had the capability, patience, and drive to become a doctor, so I thought, I can do anything! I could be a freelance writer, work in the psych field again, be a personal trainer, teach, or open a bakery if that’s what I wanted. I honestly considered all of it. I’m not saying it would be easy, but it was possible.
I have a very specialized skill set and I think people assume that it is my only valuable skill set. However, I knew that giving myself time and space to create would open up new, unimaginable doors for me. People met me with fear because, with the concept of change, they saw limitations. Well, I saw opportunities.
In this process, I learned that no matter what I choose to do, there will always be resistance from someone. I’m not for everyone, and that is okay.
Resistance from people can sound like:
- Doubt in your abilities
- Criticism of your choices
- Judgment (i.e. you’re naïve – I heard this one a time or two)
- Projected fears (ex: they worry about your bills or loans)
Resistance from within us can sound like:
- “I’m not ready yet.”
- “I don’t have time.”
- Internal fears (of rejection, failure, being out of a comfort zone, etc.)
I’ve had people say that they “needed a change.” That they were exhausted on a soul level, and felt like they were meant for something else. Some of those same people rationalized why they couldn’t change their lives, whether it was the money or the fact that people needed them. I’m grateful to have seen their process. It helped me detach from any external validation. The truth is, most people can’t even honor themselves.
At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is that we are in alignment with our values and vision. If what we’re doing is rooted in love, in doing good, and is what we truly enjoy, then it doesn’t matter how the world responds. We all have a gift to the world, and the greatest thing we can do is show up as our true, authentic selves, despite what people think of us. Even if others don’t resonate with who we are, we can still inspire each other to show up fully, simply by leading by example.
I will continuously celebrate the people who have chosen to create their own way in life, in whatever field that may be.
Celebrate the fact that you dared to work through the internal and external resistance.
Celebrate that you took a chance on something different when it was easier not to.
Celebrate that you chose yourself.
I know I am.