When we set goals that push us outside our comfort zone, it feels wonderful to have people around us who support us in our growth. However, not everyone is supportive, and today’s blog discusses invalidators. What strategies can we use to prevent our goals from being derailed?
What is an invalidator? An invalidator can be anyone in our lives - family or friend, co-worker or boss. Their words and actions have the effect of making us less self-confident when trying something brave. Dictionary.com defines invalidate as “to render invalid, discredit.”
Imagine this scenario. You’re having coffee with friends and tell them you plan to lose twenty pounds in the coming year. One of your friends immediately tells the group how difficult it will be – all the foods you need to give up, the boring exercise, you can’t maintain a diet while traveling, and it is completely impossible to attend group exercise classes while raising a family. Your enthusiasm may be deflated after hearing how hard it is to maintain a lifestyle that will support your weight loss goal.
Now imagine this scenario. You’re having coffee with friends and tell them you plan to lose twenty pounds in the coming year. One of your friends responds, “Cool, what’s your plan”?
One way to get where you want to go is to surround yourself with like-minded people. If you want to improve your golf game would you play with people who truly enjoy the game and are wanting to play better golf, or would you play with a group that is more interested in drinking beer than playing golf? Jim Rohn suggests, "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with." Seek out and maintain positive connections.
Realize that another person’s judgement is more about them than about you. A friend shared her goal of earning a graduate degree in engineering with her boss. He immediately told her, “It is too hard. There’s lots of studying and the math is difficult.” She felt discouraged until she remembered that he had dropped out of grad school six years ago. She re-examined her motivation for earning an engineering graduate degree and realized that engineering truly was her passion.
Find a way to reduce the impact invalidators have in your life. Engage with supportive, like-minded people, be supportive of others, know your motivations, hire a coach, there are many ways to limit negative impact. Control the aspects you can and let go of what you cannot control. You’ve got this, now step outside your comfort zone.