There’s this funny story that I was re-introduced to courtesy of Michael Port. It is the story of The man, His father, and the donkey.
The man, the father, and the donkey were on a journey to a village ahead of them. The man got tired and decided to sit on the donkey. Passersby saw this and exclaimed, “Ha! Look at this evil boy. How can he sit on the donkey while his aged father walks alongside them?!”
Hearing those comments, they switched positions. Now it is the father on the donkey and son walking alongside them.
Passersby screamed again, “Haa! Look at this merciless father. Doesn’t he know that his son is too frail to withstand this long journey?!”
What? I love my son, the man thought. So they both decided to walk alongside the donkey.
Yet again, the naysayers continued, “Stupid people! A donkey is meant to be ridden. They should both sit on it!”
Well, they have a point, they both thought. So they sat on the donkey.
As they approached a bridge, the voices came again, and this time with more fervor than the previous times, “Haaa! Poor donkey. This is animal abuse. Waaaa…”
“Okay! We have to be resolute. We shall carry the donkey across the bridge because we both care about the donkey,” father said.
Together, they began what would be a tragic journey. As they approached the middle of the bridge, they both grew weary and swayed back and forth from the weight of the donkey. In a matter of seconds, they dropped the donkey into the river and it drowned.
The story above is a dramatic opener and a drift from my usual writing style (I actually think like this in real life. I should write like this more often), but it has also taught me the tragedy of listening to every prevailing voice in my life and my career.
Why you should filter the voices in your head
They change the course of your destiny:
It is this simple. Listening to every voice slows you down and causes you to make unplanned and unnecessary detours in life.
Your life is yours to live. Your career is yours to have. But if you open the ears of your heart to every mumble and whisper, this can cause a derailment to your calling. You have been chosen for such a time as this. You have been called to do great things, for God’s sake. You are a darn trailblazer. Act like one!
They cause a disturbance in your soul
The yearning to do what you were meant to do doesn’t stop when you listen to chaos. The pain, the suffering, the envy when you see others living your dream...it only intensifies.
You will only be filled with regrets and “Had I knowns” if you fail to stay true to your God-given gifts and purpose. You only create a void that can never be filled with material things or following latest trends.
They affect the quality of your work NOW
Do you know what it is like to listen to every advice and opinion there is? You lose focus. You lose the ability to make insightful decisions. You become more prone to error. Your lack of judgment rises and blows the rooftop off.
And guess what? You are initially judged by the quality of your work now. A value is placed on you by what you produce. So, will you continue to listen to every expert out there, or will you reach down inside and do what IS right?
I don’t have it all. I have my moments. Like the time when I signed up for almost every training and webinar there was on Facebook. I curated experts and lined them up on my digital shelf. I moved left when they told me to. I ran back to the right when they discovered a flaw in their first command.
I was the proverbial father and son in this story. I carried my donkey, sat on it, walked beside it...yet many experts faulted me for one thing or the other.
It took kayla’s post on Getting Back to the Honeymoon Stage of Bloggingto bring me back to the reality of who I am, who I’m meant to serve, how I WANT to write, and who I wanna have conversations with.
You don’t have to be the same way. I ain’t saying push out every voice and ignore awesome truths. God bless you, Kayla. What I’m saying is this:
Eat the fish and spit the bones
Make a list of people who matter, people who are invested in your success, and learn from their good and bad. Did I say good and bad? Yes, I did.
You don’t have to swallow everything you are offered hook, line, and sinker. Embrace and nurture the ability to say NO and respect your rights as a person. When you do so, you protect what’s dear to you: your voice, your brand, your power.
That’s exactly what Kayla’s blog post did to me. It awoken me to my dead voice. I knew my WHY. But I had let other voices drown my OWN voice of reason. My own voice of passion.
You need to discover the power of your own voice to go far in your life and career!
I’ve found my voice. And like Gabrielle Bernstein says, I’m not about to dance around the perimeter of who I am. I’m going to dive in fully and completely.
You can’t whip, nae nae, and dance reggae at the same time. You gotta choose!
I won't dance to nobody’s music but mine. And you shouldn't, either. In fact, I’m going to sit on my donkey when I get tired.
Why? Because the road ahead is still far.
So, here’s a bonus workbook on how to gain clarity after getting lost in the land of strange voices.
Ever felt like a slave to every expert voice on the internet? Share in the comments below.