What holds you back from being free to live your life to the fullest? Are there things you’ve always wanted to do but remain undone? Have you always wanted to:
- start your own business?
- jump from an airplane?
- write a book?
- go to Africa and construct roofs for churches?
- bike across America?
- hike the Appalachian Trail?
- take yodeling lessons?
- tutor kids with dyslexia how to read?
- get a tattoo?
So why haven’t you? What holds you back? Lack of money is often the answer. But all too often what’s holding you back is the fear of what others think.
Seeking and heeding the wisdom of others is important. You need input from others. But please don’t allow people with no dreams and a narrow judgmental focus keep you from living your life.
If the worry of what others think holds you back then you are not free. You are a prisoner being held hostage by the opinions of others.
Janis Joplin nailed it when she belted these words out while singing “Me and Bobby McGee:”
Are you worried people are watching you waiting to pronounce condemnation? Do you feel people are judging everything you do? Is it important for you to please your critics?
Too many people aren’t free because they still have something to lose. And most often what they cling to is their reputation. If you continue to worry about what other people think you will never be free.
Authenticity is a hot buzz word today. We marvel when people are authentic. This marveling is a signal that authenticity is a rare commodity. Why is it in short supply? Because we are too worried about what people think. We cannot be ourselves. “What will people think?’ is a question which often drives the decisions we make.
When entering the post-career years it’s important for you to become free of worrying about what others think. You will need all the energy you can muster to reinvent your life for the next phase. Don’t waste your energy trying to please the judgmental critics.
One of the ReFIRE principles focuses on the word “free.” To make the rest of life the best you need to become free. Become free of the worry about what someone else thinks. This is your life. Make it count.
When I turned 50 I did the unthinkable. Like some other Baby Boomers I got a tattoo. For most people this is not a big deal but I grew up in a church culture where getting a tattoo meant riding the fast track to hell. (If you are reading this and want to debate Leviticus 19:28 we can talk about it if you also take seriously the preceding verse which forbids getting a hair cut.)
Why did I do it? It was personal. At that point in my life I faced a difficult situation. My confidence and courage sagged. I wanted to fold my tent and go home. But a verse of Scripture caught my attention. It spoke about God as the source of courage and it became my life verse. So I had part of the verse tattooed on my upper arm. Every day since then I see it and I’m reminded God is with me. It is a tool to give me the courage I need.
Getting my own tattoo, which bolstered my courage, would never have happened if I worried about what people think.
This is the kind of mindset you need as you face the end of your established career. When you begin to dream about what life holds next, forget about what people think. When they hear your dreams too many will tell you not to do it. They will relish the role of being dream-killers. They want you to be like them: someone who slides into old age with a dark cloud overhead.
Don’t do it. Make the decision to be free from worrying about what others think. (If you need a plan HERE’S a great article which gives you 4 steps on how to do it.) . This is the time to be smart. This is not the time to listen to the off-key melody of the boo birds.
Do you need permission to be free? Okay. Here it comes:
I, Randall Hartman, hereby give you permission to be free from what others are thinking. I give you permission to move forward and live your life.
Dream. Do. Make it happen.