The hardest part of my journey so far has been having friends and family who don’t support me in my choices. I think this is inevitable when we decide to break free from the mold: there will always be the people who simply cannot tolerate the fact that we have liberated ourselves and they haven’t. This intolerance may present itself as blatant disapproval, or it make be masked as something kinder, such as “concern for your best interests.” The reason this is so challenging is two-fold: a) we love these people and not having their support hurts b) we respect their opinions and fear they might have a point.

Naysayers come into our experience to give us the opportunity to remember who we are and to stand strong in our convictions – to take ownership of our lives and the choices we make. The silver lining is that their presence is a signpost that we are on the right track: it is impossible to be a maverick or an innovator without ruffling a few feathers. People see you blossoming and become triggered because being in your presence reminds them that you have something they want but, unlike you, they haven’t found the nerve to stop settling and go after it yet.

For this, we must have compassion. It was not long ago that we too were in this position, and it is now up to us to light the way for others. We do this by loving and accepting them unconditionally (even when they can’t do the same for us) and by staying rooted on our paths and unwavering in our visions. Now we are not just visionaries, but leaders too.