Have you ever listened to those Oscar acceptance speeches where the movie stars thank their spouse, parents, and high school drama teacher for always believing in them? Have you ever felt discouraged hearing about how people succeed with that much support, knowing that you don’t have that kind of support?
Everyone has a different path to success. It may be easier to find success with the support of mentors, family and friends, but it is still possible to success even in a hostile environment. If you feel like you are in a battlefield, operating behind enemy lines, you need some help. Here are five strategies to help you succeed in a hostile environment.
1. Keep Your Dreams a Secret
Often the reasons people closest to us do not support our dreams is because they are afraid. They are afraid you will leave them behind. They are afraid you will get hurt. They are afraid you will show them that they are losers for not trying something bold and daring. You cannot overcome their fear.
When you share your plans and dreams for the future with people who are hostile to those dreams, you expose yourself to their emotional sabotage. Even those who love you and mean well will not be converted by the power of your dreams if they are afraid. Keep your dreams to yourself. Only share them with people who will help you achieve them.
2. Celebrate Small Victories
We need positive reinforcement. If you wait to celebrate anything until you finally achieve the success you have dreamed about, you may not have the fortitude to make it that far. Celebrate, privately if necessary, the small milestones on the way. Celebrate your first sale. Keep the celebrations small, but take the time to recognize your progress. A celebration for a small victory could be as simple as treating yourself to a new book or buying yourself a drink. Treating yourself is especially important if you regularly get negative vibes from those around you.
When you celebrate the milestones you are gamifying your success. You are leveling up. The next steps will be more challenging, but you will also be closer to your goal. Celebrating the small events on the way also works to break up your huge goal into more manageable steps.
3. Find Some Allies
Even the soldier trapped behind enemy lines knows there are others fighting for the same things. You will need allies. If you do not have any family or friends that you can count on for support, you need to turn to the web to find allies. There are forums, blogs, Facebook groups, and Slack channels for just about any niche or industry. Spend time finding people who will understand your struggles and your joys. Even if you are too introverted to comment in any of these places, just reading messages from people like you will give your morale a boost. Knowing you have allies will give you the strength to keep working, even in a hostile environment.
4. Learn to Forgive
You are not perfect. Those around you are not perfect. It is easy to feel resentment for the people who should be supportive of your efforts, but instead are indifferent, or worse, hostile. However, harboring that type of resentment will only harm you. When you allow feelings of anger and bitterness to linger, you crowd out the inspiration you need to succeed.
Once you learn to forgive those around you for their cruelty or lack of vision, the easier it will be for you to ignore their criticisms and to fully embrace your vision for your life. You may also need to forgive yourself. Let go of your guilt. Move forward, striving to do better each day.
5. Create Tangible Reminders of Your Goal
Goals are often abstract or even amorphous. It can be tough to remember exactly what you are so desperately chasing. If you are in a hostile environment, you need a tangible reminder of what you are pursuing. Create something you can read or look at to remind yourself what you are striving for. You need a reminder that your sacrifice will be worth it.
Some possibilities include:
- Write what your perfect day will be like in your journal. Reread it every so often to keep you focused
- Create a secret board on Pinterest filled with images that remind you of your goal
- Decide on a song to be your theme song. Listen to it when you need encouragement
- Have a small knick-knack you can hold or feel to remind you of your goal
Success, especially in a hostile environment, is mostly about your willingness to keep moving forward. It is not your speed that matters. It is your direction of travel. If you keep moving towards your goals, one day you will leave your hostile environment behind.