Rather than posting today's typical Friday guest post (which is not going to happen due to a week of me either pulling my hair out or lying in bed sick), today I'm going to discuss what inspires me.
This is the main reason I keep doing guest posts, actually--I find them inspirational. I love reading stories from other women who have set their minds on a dream and achieved it somehow.
I like to read about women who work even though everyone they knew thought they should stay home. I love reading about women who stay home even though everyone around them says they'll regret throwing away a perfectly good job. When I hear about executives like Sheryl Sandberg leaving work at 5:30 to spend time with her family, it makes me want to cheer. When I read about two women who job share their position of vice president of public affairs and communications, I want to share it with everyone I know. Stories about women who kept plugging away slowly at their degree or their book or their low-wage job until someone else finally noticed their efforts may not be thrilling, at least in the less glamorous parts at the beginning of the story, but they are motivating.
Slogging away at your computer or putting up with your obnoxious boss is never what drives the story of you, is it? It certainly isn't what's behind those underdog triumph Hollywood stories. Hollywood condenses all the hard work into less than two hours, but that's not really what the audience came to see, anyway.
It's the conviction the person has within, that despite the naysayers who think it will never work out or that you shouldn't even try, despite the odds that make it extremely unlikely that you'll succeed, despite the societal ideal or norm that's completely contrary to what you believe in, somewhere in there, there's still a spark.
And the question is, will you keep going? Will you start that business even though you've never done such a crazy thing in your life? Will you keep submitting that book for publication (or write another) even after you've received sixty-three rejections?
The reason it's so hard to keep going is because you start to wonder after a while if you're completely insane. If it's meant to be, shouldn't it be easy? If everyone else says it's a bad idea, maybe they're right. If you haven't gotten any customers after this many months in business, are you ever going to make a sale?
I won't say there are never, ever times to give up. Sometimes risks aren't worth it, sometimes other things take priority, and some things might be better left for another time.
But if you're going to quit, it had better be for the right reasons, not because you're chicken. When it comes right down to it, the problem isn't that everyone else says you shouldn't--it's that you start to believe them. Other people aren't the biggest obstacle to achieving your goals--you are. It's easy to whine about the obstacles, but other people have overcome much bigger roadblocks than yours. You might not even be able to remove those roadblocks all by yourself, but you have to trust that if you've been given the vision, then somewhere, somehow, and sometime, you can make a difference.