Redirecting a Play-It-Safe Mindset

There was a time in my life when I desperately wanted to move to Los Angeles and fulfill my dream of earning a living as a tap dancer. Friends, family, and other people whose opinions I valued called my dream “pure folly.”

Clearly, they had a play-it-safe mindset.

How do I know? Because they made comments like these:


  • So, hold up! You want to quit your job and move to LA, a place you’ve never been, to tap dance for a living—and you have no idea how you will make money?

  • Is this realistic? I mean, how viable is a career as a tap dancer?

  • Didn’t you just spend two years getting your graduate degree?

  • Isn’t that like going backwards?

  • Wouldn’t that be wasting your potential?

  • You know you’re Black in America, right?

  • You’d quit that good-paying job to tap dance?

  • You’re earning six figures with great benefits, including health insurance. You’ve got it all. What more could you possibly want?


You own your destiny. You’re the one stepping up to work to give your life your all. Anyone else’s opinion about how you do what you do is just that—an opinion.

Below is an effective and useful three-step process for tapping into the power of your mind to redirect a play-it-safe mindset.

Step 1. See your dream. If you don’t see the big picture, see excellence—whatever that looks like for you today. Position the dream as a sign that points you toward your end goal. Believe in your power to create what your imagination summons up.

Step 2. Tap into your powerful imagination to summon up your dream. See it in your mind’s eye. Vision board, journal, or paint about it. Evoking the dream signals and confirms to you that you own it  . . .  and, as such, are capable of realizing it.

Step 3. Use the doubt of others as motivation—like it’s a vote of confidence cast in your direction. Use it as ammunition to not only prove the doubters wrong but also to exceed even your own expectations. (How good is that, right?)

When individuals from boxed-in, small, and safe worlds attempt to discourage you from even trying something different or new, it’s time to connect with growth people.

When someone with a play-it-safe mindset expresses doubt about what you can achieve, tell them, “Thank you. Thank you for reminding me not to limit my reach based on another person’s pure speculation.”

Redirect play-it-safe thoughts. See your dream. Tap into your imagination to summon it up. Use the doubt of others as motivation to carry on.

“Own your destination. ~ LaurieTALK

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