Don’t let naysayers dog you

Follow your heart in doing what you believe.

 Have you ever been in an audience and felt moved by a speaker’s words?

It happened to me recently when I heard John Grogan, author of “Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog,” address the Florida Press Club. John told humorous anecdotes about his family’s mischievous yellow Labrador, which became the focus of his first book, an international bestseller that sold 8 million copies, has been translated into more than 30 languages worldwide and was made into a major motion picture starring Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston in 2008.

John’s overall message was to follow your heart in doing the things you want to do.

“Trust me, I had a lot of naysayers, a lot of rolled eyes and kind of snarky comments from my colleagues,” he says. “‘You’re doing what? You’re writing about a Labrador who jumps through screen doors? That’s the best thing you can come up with?’”

John says it would have been easy to get discouraged.

“I stuck with it and I came out with something I am proud of and believed. So, believe in yourself, believe in your work, believe in what you do,” he says.

Follow your heart. Follow your passion. Those words can be applied to anything and everything in life. His words moved me because I realized I probably would have heeded my peers’ advice if I had been in a similar situation. I would have thought they were smarter and wiser. 

Luckily, John ignored his colleagues. He was a newspaper columnist when he wrote about Marley’s bad-boy antics, yet it was one of Marley’s tender moments that became the catalyst for writing the book. John and his wife, Jenny, had just returned home from the hospital after the miscarriage of their first child.

“I couldn’t believe my eyes. Here was the crazy, wild dog who was perfectly still, his tail between his legs, and he was resting his head in Jenny’s lap and whimpering,” he says. “There was something sweet about the canine/human moment of empathy that unleashed the tears.”

John’s speech left a lasting impression on me to continue to do what I love, and gave me the inspiration to look for new projects, live before my life is over and ignore the naysayers along the way.