09/12/2013 01:37 pm ET Updated Nov 12, 2013

How to Listen to Your Own Voice Above All the Criticism

Recently, a friend of mine discovered her passion for travel and made a huge decision to save up her money, quit her legal job, and travel the world for a year. Although many of her friends were amazed and inspired by her ability to know what she was passionate about and really take a risk, others -- including her parents -- were more skeptical and resigned to the fact that she was going to move ahead with this plan. I started to think about times in my life when I've had a big decision to make and how good I've felt when I was able to, despite the critics, trust my gut and do what was best for me. Have you ever let the judgment of others affect your confidence in your decisions and throw you off track? Here's some thoughts on what to do if this ever happens to you:

It all starts with trusting yourself. When you get in touch with your inner voice and your needs and wants, it oftentimes becomes clear what truly makes you happy and what you really need to do to get everything that you want out of life. If you rely on that inner dialogue and trust it, you are one step closer to living in an authentic way that is best for you at any moment in time.

Those critics in your life who are close friends and family really just love you and want to see you happy. They may be trying to spare you the pain of making a mistake, or they might believe that they really know what's best for you and want you to come to your senses. What they probably don't recognize, though, is that oftentimes mistakes are actually part of the path to success. Tony Robbins has a great quote: "I've come to believe that all my past failure and frustration were actually laying the foundation for the understandings that have created the new level of living I now enjoy." If you are making a decision in accordance with your authentic self, the result -- good or bad -- will lead you on a journey that you are meant to go on.

Everyone has a different set risk level. Some people are risk-prone, while others are risk-adverse. If you are taking a risky action, your risk-adverse family and friends may view that unfavorably. If you keep in mind the opportunity in every situation, you can look at the comments from family and friends as a checks and balance to ensure that you aren't jumping in too impulsively and that you've thought it out. Listen to the comments and balance the pros and cons of any decision. See if it changes your mind or reinforces your beliefs that you are making the right decision for yourself.

You possess the strength within to give your inner voice more power than others. Always remember: You can listen and acknowledge and understand others differing opinions and still stick to your plan. Your inner voice is powerful and wants to be heard. Now that you have learned to trust your voice, it's time to listen to it above the voice of others as the inner voice is the only one that represents who you truly are and your unique desires and needs.

In the comment section below, I'd love to hear about a time when you took an authentic action as a result of trusting your inner voice.



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