The first time I decided to make a documentary, I had no experience.  I had no experience in filmmaking, picking up a video camera, editing, or creating a storyline.  The subject itself also turned out to be provocative for Ottawans; to be fair I was making a film examining why we had a boring reputation as Canada’s National Capital.  All this to say, I had A LOT of insecurity going into making this film and putting myself in the spotlight to explain my motives.  While on film shoots, or in casual party conversation, I would often encounter people who would get angry and ask why I was making a film on this topic (it’s a subject that rears its head every few years in this city).  Almost worse, though, were the acquaintances or colleagues who said nothing, especially when I reached out directly to them for crowdfunding support.

I spoke to a client recently who is a jazz singer by night.  In reality, though, she would rather belt it out on a big stage, maybe with some rock and roll thrown in for good measure.  She won’t allow herself that, though, because someone told her it’s not marketable enough for someone of “her age”.  That person, as well as both the angry and unresponsive people I mentioned above are Naysayers.  These types of people should not be heeded.  There are so many of them out there, though, and they come in different forms, often as those closest to us: our parents, our siblings, our colleagues.  So what should you do the next time you encounter one?

1) Hear them out, thank them for their advice and tell them you will take it into consideration (but you really won’t).  They don’t get to take control of your fate or your ambition.  If you dream of flying to Vegas and replacing Celine Dion on stage, that is YOUR right.  Life is too short to not take chances.

2) Create a vision board.  I know, I know.  I am a huge cynic and would not ever imagine putting something like this together before either.  This does not have to be a literal board or look like any of these picturesque examples.  It could just be a document that includes images of what you want your ideal life to look like (what kind of home you’d like to live in, which countries you’d like to visit, the kind of happiness you’d like to experience, etc.).  As part of the board, create a vision statement in the present tense to express the ideal you: ex. “I am a successful documentary filmmaker who makes a million dollars a year”.  Don’t judge it, just put it down, but make sure it’s authentic to you.  Finally, include at least 10 affirmations for yourself.  Take some time at least a few times a week to review this board.  The purpose of this board is to steel yourself against Naysayers and to not allow their negative energy to overtake your thoughts.

3) Find a supportive community for yourself.  Surround yourself with people who get you and who want you to pursue your dreams.  Those people are out there.  It could be through an online discussion board, a Facebook group, or Meetup.com.  Even if you only have one person to start with, that is enough, so long as you give them more space in your life than the Naysayers.  Again, this also helps to build up your inner strength in case of negative encounters.

The Naysayers will of course eventually come around once you find success in pursuing your dreams.  Then you’ll get all the praise and compliments!  But if you’re a person with ambition, you’re going to keep butting heads against the Ns.  So buck up and brace yourself for them.  As always, I am here – and now I have a scheduler on my site if you’d like to set up a time to chat about how to manage the Ns!

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