Third Way Man: When Lions Eat Your Lamb By Bryan Ward
Your moment has come.
With fluttering stomach and sweaty hands you sit down and tell them your vision:
The new company you want to start…
The radical life change you want to make…
The brand new career path you want to take…
Whatever it is that has seized you body mind and soul and won’t let go.
You finish your spiel and look into their eyes, waiting for the look of awe and excitement to wash across their face.
Instead you get stupor.
An awkward shifting in the chair.
And then they open their mouth and the stream of soul-numbing effluent begins:
Now I don’t want to burst your bubble, but I’m not sure you’ve thought this through…
Why throw it all away to go do X when you’re so good at Y?
Or, worst of all:
Don’t you realize how successful you already are? You have a great job. You make a great income. You have a family who loves you. What do you have to be unhappy about?
And so you leave the room in a fog.
And with astonishing speed, the anger and disappointment that stung you as you walked out that door is gradually displaced by a seeping self-reproach:
Maybe he’s right.
Maybe I WAS a bit grandiose.
Maybe I just need to be more grateful with what I already have.
And in that moment, your tender green shoot of ambition–the embryonic mission that could have electrified your entire life–gets mashed by the boot of other people’s sage reasons.
Here’s the thing:
They don’t know shit.
Through some combination of personality, experience, and luck, you’ve caught a glimpse of the invisible.
You see something no one else sees.
That means the rest of us are categorically unequipped to judge.
Asking others to see what you see and give you their blessing is like asking the lions to look after your lamb.
Is it any wonder it’s been devoured when you return?
Imagine the things they must have said to Steve Jobs:
You drove Apple into the ground the first time, before they kicked you out…and now you think YOU’RE the one to come back and save it? The hubris! Be grateful you have NeXT!
Or Richard Branson:
Look at how far you’ve come! Student magazine is a wild success, especially for someone so young. So what’s this about starting a music label? Stick with what’s working!
ONLY YOU know what you are capable of.
ONLY YOU know what latent powers you’ve been incubating in secret.
ONLY YOU get to decide how far your ambitions reach.
THEY don’t get a say.
Because it’s YOU, not them, who have to live with the regret of playing it small.