What Will Everyone Think
“Counting backwards in groups of three from 300 can help you to fall asleep” my husband, Bradley Jon Thompson, recently blurted as he was scrolling through Instagram. “You should try that Babe!”
For many years, I have been sleepless. I can fall asleep just fine but staying asleep is another story. Brad and I are both morning people, which means you can often find us asleep before the ten o’clock news. Yet, something happens around midnight on most nights-I wake up.
The problem is that once I am awake, the exhausting sport of mental gymnastics starts and tossing and turning, begins. My mental gymnastics run the gamut from replaying the day’s events, to the items that I need to add to my “to-do” list, to things that did not get done, to overthinking about EVERYTHING.
While chasing sleep is a common occurrence for me, I recall a particularly rigorous round of these mental gymnastics the night we had seriously discussed starting a Network Marketing business. It went something like this….
TOSS-“I cannot believe we are EVEN considering this business! EVERYBODY is going to think we have lost our minds. We aren’t ‘those people’ who do ‘those things’. This is crazy!” Nope, we are not doing this it is foolish.”
TURN-“It’s crazy to me that I am in sales, I am not even a sales person. WHO AM I to even think this is a good option? EVERYBODY knows that I am not a sales person. I am definitely not doing this! We are definitely not doing this.”
TOSS-“But….. I have wanted to start my own business for some time now and this seems like it would be a great product. I don’t have to do any of the hard lifting, I just need to tell people about it. WHAT IF, this is EXACTLY the way I could start my own business? Will we regret this if we don’t do this and in three years, our friends come telling us about it? Maybe we should do this?”
This cadence of back and forth and back and forth, went on for what felt like an eternity but in reality it was probably about 45 minutes. Why do I know this?
Well, because it’s usually after about 45 minutes of my tossing and turning that all my restlessness awakens Brad. After nearly 14 years of marriage, he knows that I am rehearsing my mental gymnastics routine and tonight, he knows that I am working on a gold medal.
I feel his hand touch my shoulder and he pulls me in towards him. In his tired voice, he murmurs, “You are overthinking this Love. The worst thing that could happen is that we learn a ton and have products that we love. The best thing that could happen is this is exactly what we need in our life. Now…..sleep.” Somehow, his lack of stress about, should we or shouldn’t we, was the exact confidence I needed and that I was indeed overthinking the decision.
This midnight conversation is the last thing I remember until I hear our coffee pot start grinding beans at 5:30 AM. It was Sunday, April 15 and way too early to call our friend KD who lived in California, to tell her that we were ready to get started. That afternoon, with a burst of excitement and little bit of #WTH, we enrolled and our business was born.
Somewhat anticlimactic compared to what my midnight gymnastics routine had me believing.
Years later, I would read a book by Martha Beck called “Finding Your True North Star” and in one of her chapters she talks about the ethereal “everybody” that often exists in our minds and keeps us playing small and can often keep us in pursuit of a life that is leaving us unfulfilled. We fear the wrath from “everybody” often times more than we value our own passion and purpose. We conjure up heightened outcomes of their response and often times sensationalize the significance of their opinion. Martha highlights that as it turns out, our glorified “everybody” is usually one or two people at most; and usually those one to two people will have an opinion of what you do regardless; so you may as well do what you love.
It turns out that our “everybody” was just a few people and we were right about them. They did think we were crazy. They did criticize our choice. They did try to shake our belief and confidence. Ultimately, they did not support us.
Turns out though, that a whole bunch of people did! Not everyone became a customer or joined our team or attended our events but they did like our posts on social media, refer people to us, and celebrate with us.
Our business went on to prosper and with amazing team members; together we built one of the fastest growing, highest producing teams within our company.
With every new event, new customer, and new team member our belief grew stronger and stronger. Eventually the noise from the limited circle of “everybody” became quieter and quieter in all areas of our life. In fact, we barely remember the people who said “no” but we always remember the people that supported us and those that said “yes”.
The mental trap of “everybody” creates a space of scarcity, it fosters unnecessary fear, and for me has caused me countless hours of lost sleep. No matter what you do someone is always going to have an opinion; even if you stand still. Remember, that you had a vision and a purpose before someone had their opinion-so play big, play with all your heart, and all your effort. You were called to live your purpose on purpose and be everything you came to be.