You Can’t Do That

A while ago I ran into a woman I know at the grocery store. We got into a conversation and she asked what I was up to. I told her that I wasn’t crazy about my current job and was thinking about doing something different. She asked what else I might be interested in doing and I ran across a list of several things. To each idea I had, she had a reason why I couldn’t do that. For example, I’ve been interested in trying some voice-over work. “Only celebrities do that. Haven’t you heard all of the commercials on TV, they’re all done by celebrities,” she countered. Nevermind that the most famous voice-over guy in the world is Don LaFontaine, who’s now a celebrity because of his voice-over work. At any rate, you get the idea of the conversation.

In my career and my life, I’ve dealt with many nay-sayers and dream-killers. I should take this job because otherwise, I might not have one at all. I shouldn’t have been a manager because… I shouldn’t take this job because… I shouldn’t take a shot at trying this because… The list goes on and on.

My advice is this: Take these people with grain of salt. They may offer you sage advice, they may just be play-it-safe people who would never take a risk themselves, or they may just be a nay-sayer. The simple fact is this: It’s your life, not theirs. Can you afford to take a risk? Do you want to try something new? Will you learn something about yourself or just learn something at all if you try and fail?

Sure, ask for advice from your friends and family before you try something that might be risky with your career. But, in the end, the risk and reward are yours, not theirs. And if you run into a nay-sayer or dream-killer kind of person, just cross them off the list for future advice. It just isn’t worth the trouble of arguing with them.