Have you noticed how everybody has an opinion these days? Whether they hide behind the protection of a screen or look you square in the eye and spew their negativity, there’s a fo-real struggle with how to handle the haters who are gonna hate and the naysayers who are gonna naysay. Sister, the minute you step towards your purpose, you better be ready for the Negative Nancys and Debbie Downers to speak their mind, whether you ask for it or not.
Even after two decades have passed since I stepped into my passion and purpose as a hairstylist, I still remember the comments and opinions that were hurled my way.
“Oh honey, are you sure you want to do that? You won’t make any money in that job.”
“Are you going to go to a real college after that?”
“So, you’re just going to do hair?”
Looking back, I am appalled by those remarks, but mostly I am amazed at how my 17-year-old self was able to shake it off and chase after my dream. Now, I not only have the honor of watching some of my clients discover their purpose, but also the privilege of encouraging them to find their grit and overcome the comments from those who don’t understand or support their dreams.
So, when you find yourself splitting hairs about what Mr. Ned Naysayer or Mrs. Hannah Hater said, here are a few snips of my best “Thairapist” advice:
1. Don’t let it deter you; let it drive you.
“…you won’t make any money in that job.” First of all, let’s clear this up: it’s a career—my purpose and my life’s passion, not just a job. There is a difference!
Second, there probably is a teensy-weensy bit of truth in that statement in that being a hairstylist is generally not the most lucrative field, but I didn’t let that deter me from what I knew God gave me the talent and passion for doing. In school, I heard one of my cosmetology instructors warn us that you may not make a lot of money in the first few years because it can take three to five years to build a regular clientele. I could have let that piggy-back onto what I had heard before and discourage me, but instead, I chose to let that drive me as I set a goal to have a full clientele within three years. With hard work and tenacious business skills, I not only met that goal but also climbed the ranks of a large salon and became one of the top three stylists within three years of graduating cosmetology school.
Girl, if you can turn those negative comments into fuel for your fire, realize it’s passion over profit, and let determination drive your purpose, then those naysayers will have nothing left to say or do but stand back and clap in appreciation of your achievements.
2. Know your why.
I recently heard a statement that resonated with me, “When you know your Why, your What has more impact.” So often we dive into discovering our purpose with seeking the answer to the question, “What am I supposed to do? What are my talents and gifts? What am I going to do with them?” It’s a great place to start this journey of becoming, but I want to encourage you to also discover your Whys along the way.
Why are you so passionate about your purpose? What makes you feel alive—pumped from the minute you wake up to when your head hits the pillow at night? If you need a hint, I believe that behind every what to a purpose is a why that is found in helping people. Someone, somewhere needs you; they need your gifts, your talents, and your influence!
I also believe that your Why is also where you’ll find your grit—that fierce inner determination to keep going when it’s hard and when the naysayers almost sound right. I’ve never considered giving up and walking away from my career, but there are days when it’s really hard. Not only is it hard on my body (just ask my chiropractor and massage therapist), but it’s hard on my soul too. The constant pouring out and burden carrying can make my soul weary if I’m not intentional about taking care of myself. My Why is what keeps me going, makes me grit my teeth with resolve to make an impact beyond just a snazzy new do but to encourage a frazzled soul. That’s my Why and let me tell ya, it’s about so much more than “just doing hair!”
Sister, whatever your purpose is, lean into it and shake off those who shake their head in confusion.
If you decided to quit your regular nine-to-five job and pursue your passion in helping others thrive in health and wellness, go for it! There will be some who don’t understand why you made such a big change, but when your people reach their goals and see big differences in how they feel—that’s your Why.
Maybe you desire to create handcrafted jewelry or art, and the naysayers think its just “crafting.” You know it’s more than that when you find yourself up early, digging through your supplies for the perfect jewel so that when you give the final piece to your customer, their eyes glisten in appreciation, touched by the love and detail you put into your personal creation for them. That’s your Why.
Perhaps you decide to walk away from a high power, high paying career and become a stay-at-home mom. On pen and paper, it doesn’t make sense; you’ve worked hard, got the degree, and love the money, but those little souls need more of you. The biggest impact we can make is to lovingly raise children who are confident and kind in a world that is everything but that—that’s your Why.
Listen, it may not make sense to anyone else, but it doesn’t have to. It’s your purpose, not theirs. Dig in, dig deep, and continue to pursue your purpose. Who knows, maybe the very ones who were shaking their heads the most will end up shaking your hand with gratitude, thankful for the way you made a positive effect on their life.
3. Pay more attention to your Creator than your critics.
The same One who knit you together in your mother’s womb and created a living, breathing being is the same One who designed the talented, uniquely gifted woman that is you. The God Almighty Himself fashioned you in such a way so that He could use you in a powerful, purposeful way to impact His creation. He needs you, and so do we.
Sister, when you step into your purpose, make sure you are stepping into the spotlight of His love and truth daily because criticism cannot overshadow a heart that is continually lit by the love of her Creator! In the presence of your Creator is the place where you will find inspiration, strength, and passion, but it’s also where you’ll experience grace in the midst of your failures, mistakes, and harsh criticism. Part of becoming is failing; remember this when Miss Debbie Downer props herself up on your shoulder and whispers her snide criticism in the sound of your own voice, “See, you’re just not cut out for this. You always make stupid mistakes. You’re not worth it… You will never succeed… Just give up.”
Girl, give her a quick flick and shut her up with the powerful truths spoken by the One who gives you all the grit and grace you need to keep going. “I am able to do all things through Christ who strengthens me… I am worthy—I am a Child of God. I am His creation, and I will be used for His creative purpose. When I make a mistake, He makes His mercy known! I am not a failure, I have a future and a purpose, and since God is within me I will not fail, and I will not give up!”
Listen, I know personally that there may be times when you have to repeat this over and over—out loud, looking like a crazy woman talking to herself in the mirror. But it’s so worth the intentional effort because when you learn to silence the naysayers and critics, a beautiful, crazy-good thing happens: a confident woman emerges—a woman full of joy, driven by her purpose to impact her world and to bring glory to her God. That’s you, that’s me, and we were made to make a difference!
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