"Go where you're celebrated, not merely tolerated" - Paul F. Davis

I spent much of my life being tolerated, and tolerating others. I didn't know who I was, and neither did anyone I associated with. I've always been a bit of an individualist, meandering in and out of large groups and cliques. Getting along well enough, but never being officially invited in as a full-fledged member. I have come to realize this is a natural component of my personality, and now I use it as an asset to blur the edges of the many interests I have in life.

Beware of "haters."

I have had to learn to navigate the treacherous landscape of "naysayers." These people don't really want you to succeed at anything, least of all at being you. Most are not in-your-face opponents to what you love, dream of and work for. Most will smile in your face, and gossip behind your back. Tell you you're "OK" or "average" or an "option" but never actually pick you up, push you forward or lead the way. They may even discourage you and try to steer you in the direction they want to see you go - what makes them feel most comfortable and secure.

Keep these people at bay. If you need to interact with them, or could use some of their skills, expertise or connections, do so with precaution. Understand their dreams and yours are not in alignment. If they're assets to you in some way keep them in your circle, but don't let the gravity of their orbit pull you out of your trajectory. You're shooting for the stars while they're just trying to stay comfortably on course.

Remember, you are special

You are unique. You are beautiful. Don't let anyone dim your shine or steal your light. It's what makes you stand out from the crowd. It's what makes you you. You may have come across "followers" who are taught to stay in formation. And so attempt to nudge or knock weary wanderers back in line with lines like:

  • Don't do that

  • Don't say that

  • Change this

  • Be this way

  • Learn the rules

  • Play the game

  • This is the way it is

Hold your spark sacred

Don't let anyone take your spark of genius and extraordinariness from you. Bend and break the rules if you need to. You may blind some people with your light, but that's OK. Your road may be winding and uncharted, but that's OK. Don't let people who are too afraid to follow their dream deter yours. Don't let people who are too afraid to discover who they are blind you from yourself

Carefully build a "life support" team

Surround yourself with people who believe in you, support you, and will rally for you.They want you to succeed, and hopefully they are succeeding at their dreams as well. Find your family, be it biological or otherwise.

Surrounding myself with soul mates and supporters has change my life and myself for the better. Being accepted, encouraged and guided by others who are stepping out from behind the dividers and taking a chance on passion and joy in their lives is an immeasurable value. My family may be spread out and diverse, but it is a family. We recognize each other's talents, and help each other work on whatever's holding us back. It's usually ourselves.

If it is in your heart, you are on the right path. Find others on the path and walk together. There is strength in numbers. And with so many of you migrating into greatness together, the wolves may still stalk, but are less likely to strike. Stoke the fire and stay hot. You are a star after all!

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