I've struggled my whole life, feeling like I had to prove myself to other people.
It’s very isolating when you're convinced no one believes in you. But the truth? That feeling is the result of your internal beliefs -- mine, too -- as opposed to the actions by those around us.
It’s true that in the world we live in, those who try to set themselves apart, those who desire to do something bigger, better, braver than what's already out there are usually the ones who get mocked or laughed at by their peers. The only difference between those who fail (ahem, give up) and those who succeed (keep trying!) is the power they give to those naysayers.
Sometimes there's no way to convince other people of your potential. You simply have to know it yourself.
Just do it
I love Nike’s slogan. It’s the perfect phrase because it eliminates all excuses. Sure, their intention is for you to exercise (using their products, of course). But the idea works well here, too. Don’t waste your energy trying to convince people to believe in you. It’s exhausting.
Just get out there, and do what you believe you can do. I know -- we all want a fan club, people to be our cheerleaders and really root for us to win.
But we run so much faster when we shake off the weight of the scrutiny of others.
The proof is in the pudding
This year, more than ever, I feel I’m done proving myself to other people. With more than 10 years of hard work, blood, sweat and tears, it finally hit me that it doesn’t matter who else believes in me as long as I believe in myself.
That’s not to say there aren’t people I'd love call and proudly shove my achievements in their face and say, “Hah! See? I told you I could, so there!” But really, the only thing I need to say to any of my naysayers is, “Thanks!”
Without them, I wouldn’t have pushed myself as hard as I have.
Finally, I've come to accept that I am who I am. I’ve done a lot of great things I’m proud of -- and I’ll do a lot more. Maybe no one will ever know or realize how much I’ve gained along the way, but I’ll know. And I'm done proving this to other people.
I've proven it to myself. That's enough.