A funny thing happens when you get serious about exercising your gift and taking those giant steps. Not everybody is going to be on board with you.
Think your family and good friends will be there to cheer you on? Think again. Your biggest foes may be those in your own household.
Instead of the good ol’ boy you used to be, all of a sudden you’re a selfish so-and-so. Just the worst kind of criminal, though your only crime may be in following your passion.
If your writing or your music or your art becomes more important than the weekly poker game, they’ll notice. Chances are they’ll call you on it. How dare you imply that you’re suddenly better than they are?
Wish you well? Are you kidding? Consider yourself lucky they don’t garrote you and dump your carcass down a mine shaft.
Partying in the crab pot
Think about it for a minute. Any crabber will tell you about how the uber-social crab assists in his own capture. They’ll have themselves a good ol’ time in the crab pot, throwing a wang dang doodle, oblivious to what happens next. But as soon as one of those crustaceans tries to escape, the party’s over. Crabs are so social that if one tries to escape, they’ll pull him back into the scrum. Nothing ticks them off worse than one of their chums (why did I say chum?) breaking away to decide his own fate.
Now we’re humans, built from a much higher blueprint, but — craziest thing, we have those same crablike tendencies.
Broadening the horizons
If you’re a talented amateur, then all’s well in your world Everybody’s cool, perhaps tolerant of your proclivities. The instant you turn pro — which happens when you make that declaration to yourself and show a new seriousness about doing your work — the opposition will start. Most folks don’t understand this turning-pro business and are threatened by it.
I certainly don’t advocate forgetting the old friends (they’ll help keep things real), but when you turn pro it’s really time to widen your horizons. Find some new friends who are making the same transition as you, and some more friends who have already done that. That’s two whole new pools to choose from. Find some folks who can be a positive influence on you.
I read once that you can tell a lot about a person by looking at his five closest friends. I mean you can tell a lot — socioeconomic status, income level, values, all that vital stuff. A person really is judged in part by the company he keeps.
OK, let’s drag it out and let a little air hit it: Do your friends pull you up or hold you back?
Up and down the line
Because of this truth I’ve been paying attention to mentors lately. I have a few close friends that I value, look up to, and bounce ideas around with. Any one of them would gladly tell me when I’m too busy chasing squirrels to get anything done. And just because they’ve been there/done that, my ol’ hardheaded stiffnecked self sometimes even listens.
But here’s the rest of the equation. When someone hands me a torch, I need to pass it down to someone else because my hands are not fireproof.
So I have other friends who are likewise discovering their gifts and they wouldn’t mind holding that fire for a minute. Got to keep that thing moving, which is a big reason I’m writing this blog to begin with. Just passing stuff along.
As far as the old crab-pot buddies, it wouldn’t hurt me a bit if they see what’s happening and try some giant steps of their own.