Listen to your beliefs not your doubts...

I find that the very things that I get criticized for, which is usually being different and just doing my own thing and just being original, are the very things that make me successful – Shania Twain, Grammy-winning singer (1965 - )

In looking back, Anne Robinson can understand how people thought she was marching to the beat of a very different drum. It was the height of the disco ear, and John Travolta was center stage with Saturday Night Fever. Anne believed, in her heart, that people would buy good piano music, even in the face of naysayers.

Anne signed George Winston to her new record label, called Windham Hill. Her business objective was to create a company that sought to touch the souls as well as the hearts of music lovers worldwide. “I travelled up and down the California coast,” Anne told us, “in a dilapidated Volkswagen Beetle selling tapes of wondrous music. I attempted to build a community of music lovers by getting to know them and to understand their interests.

“Today, we call what I was doing ‘one-one’ marketing! My sophisticated customer database was an old shoebox with the name, address, and comments of most every person who had purchased a Windham Hill record.” Anne built her love for good music into a multinational company with a dream, a shoebox full of names, and an unrelenting passion.

Imagine a world without Anne Robinson, Stevie Wonder, the Beatles, or Barbara Streisand. A world with no iPod, electricity, or telephones. Just for a moment, close our eyes and imagine a world without the writings of Helen Keller, the courage of Amelia Earhart, the discoveries of Madame Curie, or the insights of Margaret Mea. If those individuals had listened to their naysayers, we would have missed out on all their talent, vision, and wisdom. Actress Jodie Foster said if she had listened to the naysayers of Hollywood, she would have never made a single movie. Debbi Fields founded a cookie empire by refusing to listen to those (including her husband) who thought selling cookies was a dumb idea! Naysayers have been present since Eve left the Garden of Eden. You’ve undoubtedly encountered some yourself. They say things like this:

* You need to be more realistic * Why can’t you just be satisfied with what you have? * You dreamer – always taking risk that never work out. * Why can’t you be more like (your brother, sister, friend)? * If you don’t watch out, this is going to backfire. * Do you realize how much you have to lose if you do this? * There you go again with your pie-in-the-sky ideas. * You’ve always got your head in the clouds. What now? * You’re so selfish. You only think of what you want.

Since they show no chance of extinction, accept and expect that naysayers will be an ever-present part of your life’s journey. That said, be very clear that you will stop listening to them. Vow to start listening to your dreams, not their doubts. Seek out people who will tell you how you can make your dream work. Reprinted with permission by Red Wheel/Weiser LLC, This Is Not the Life I Ordered by Deborah Collins Stephens, Michealene Cristini Risley, Jackie Speier and Jan Yanehiro is available wherever books are sold or directly from the publisher at 1-800-423-7087 or www.conari.com.