I just finished watching Men of Honor, and while I have seen this probably a dozen times, I always come away feeling inspired by the fact that Carl Brashear didn’t let anything define who he knew he was. He was a diver. No one else saw it, no one else believed it, but he knew, and that is all that mattered to him. He didn’t let anything stand in his way of being who he knew he was called to be.

I had a conversation a couple of weeks ago where someone tried to define me. This person told me he didn’t see me in a role that I have worked hard to achieve. His opinion caused me to take a step back and reflect on his words, and after I had time to process his opinion, I decided to reach out to a group of people and get their feedback. I wanted to know if he was right and if he was, how I could make adjustments to fulfill the role I felt I was operating in. This group I reached out to were people who knew me in a day to day environment and would be able to give me honest feedback. After reviewing their thoughts on the topic, I found they did, in fact, see me in the same role I saw myself.

The moral of the story? We must not allow ourselves to be defined by the opinion of someone else. People who try to define you, are (intentionally or unintentionally) placing limits on who you are and what you are capable of doing. Sometimes those opinions will take their toll, and you may begin to accept them as truth, but deep down you know they are not. You know this because no one knows you better than yourself. You have goals to accomplish; you have dreams to turn into reality, and you have a purpose in this world.

Yes, you will come across the naysayers and the doubters. You will have hurdle’s to jump and obstacles to maneuver around, but rest assured, if it’s in you, you can attain your dreams. Sometimes it takes a lot of hard work and time, but that just makes us stronger. Take the negative feedback and use it to fuel the fire in you.

I have seen parents place limits on their children. I have seen employers place limits on their employees. I have seen society tell people they can’t live life a certain way because it’s different. I’m here to let you know, you can do and be anything you want to be if you’re willing to work hard and push past the barriers.

In the hard times, remember: the opinion of others, does not define who you are. Accept no one’s definition of your life. Define yourself.

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