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Make Your Own Way


By: Michael Aun


This is the time of the year when we have the opportunity to visit, review and revise our annual goals. A goal without a plan is about as useful as single-ply toilet paper. You really must have a plan to make goals reality.

Everyone should follow their own intuition when it comes to setting your goals. Intuition is following one’s own instincts and what you feel is right in your life. Do not let others dream your dreams. They will not be nearly as comfortable or as crazy as you will be.

No one is just like you. Because other fish swim one way does not mean you have to follow. Give yourself permission to be different, to take chances and yes… even to fail.

With failure comes fear… legitimate fear. Fear, according to my mentor and grandfather Elias Mack, Sr., is just an absence of knowledge… a lack of information. It is okay to be frightened, nervous or terrified. One could argue, if you do not have some fear in your gut, you are not in the game. Fear is a natural human emotion.

Know that when you create your own path, you are not just brave but you are subject to fail. As a sales trainer and keynote speaker for over 45 years, my favorite line to them was “If you are selling ’em all you ain’t seeing ’em all. Sales is the only profession beside the medical sciences that presupposes a certain failure”

That said, you should be realistic… you should have a safety net, especially if you are just starting out own your own path in life. You should be realistic. Make sure you have the moral and financial support you need to stay the course.

Mark it down… you will fail, sometimes more than you succeed. You simply cannot give up. The pursuit of any lofty goal is noble and difficult. Your goals and your life are yours for the making. All dreams for all people are not equal. Some require you to take a road less traveled.

In short, do not fear failure.  It is part of the roadmap to success. Remember, there is usually more than one way to get there. Embrace trial and error to maximize your path to success and minimize the likelihood of defeat. Grow thick skin. If you do not you will fall victim to yourself before the enemy has a chance to take you out.

Know that your peers will feel compelled to judge you and disapprove of your choices. That can be defeating and painful. Do not let failure breed insecurity. Coaches are fond of saying, do not let one defeat turn into two. When you have a pity party, you can feel betrayed, confused, hurt or even envious. These are steps of the process.

Develop a tolerance for differences. After all, rarely does one size fit all. The things that make you happy might not move the meter for others. Stick to your own plan. When you choose your own path, know that you may accumulate an unexpected community of peers. 

Get used to loneliness. However when you take a path less traveled, you will often meet entrepreneurs like you. Even in the wilderness you will find others who are just like you. Learn from them.

We all want the freedom and authenticity of being our own person. Do not think for a moment that the conventional lifestyle is not fruitful. Be true to yourself and you will define your own meaning. Still, there is much to learn from the inspiration of others, be it from their victories or defeats. It is called O-P-E… other people’s experiences.

Just because your course is different does not necessarily mean you are lost. Your curiosity will naturally lead you to try newer paths. Sometimes you have to get lost before you can find your own way. A path without obstacles probably does not lead anywhere. Go with the most difficult path; there are no competitors. Make your own way.

Michael Aun, CSP®, CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame® received the Legends of the Speaking Profession® in 2010 along with Zig Ziglar, CPAE® and Jim Rohn, CPAE®.