The Anti Nay-Say: A Little Love for Libby

by gigigriffis

Luna says share the love.

Okay. So, this February I posted an article over at Married with Luggage about how I handled my nay-sayers and fell in love with my life.

Just in case you aren’t familiar with the concept of nay-sayers, I really said it best in the article:

“You know the ones: the well-intentioned friends, family, and even strangers who are concerned that if you start a business at 26, you’ll fail spectacularly and become a homeless vagabond. Or if you quit your job and travel the world for a year, you’ll get malaria and be eaten by a crocodile (possibly at the same time). Or if you get that English degree, you’ll work at Wendy’s for forever.”

Those are your nay-sayers.

Bet you have a few coming to mind right now.

Anyhow, after my article about nay-saying, I got a lot of emails and comments and social media notes from people who could relate. Some had been dealing with nay-sayers for a long time. Others were just starting to voice their dreams and feeling overwhelmed by the nay-sayery that followed.

And I thought…what could I do for these dreamers? Because nay-sayers can be a really hard thing to combat, especially when they’re important people in your life.

Certainly, I can write articles to encourage people en masse, but what if I could do something a little more personal? Like offer a little love to those who feel overwhelmed by the nay-sayery?

And thus an idea was born: today, I’m going to share with you one person’s story, their dream. I’m going to tell you that, man, are those nay-sayers out in force. And I’m going to ask you for a favor:

Will you pop down to the comments area and leave our new friend some love? Give her a little boost? Tell her your similar story? Tell her that she can do it?

I think if we stop every once in a while and tell people that their dreams matter, that the nay-sayers are wrong, and that we absolutely believe in them…it could make a huge impact on people’s lives.

So, please join in in the comments!

And without further ado, our first participant in the Anti Nay-Say: Libby Walkup.


Libby is a writer with a soon-to-be-achieved MFA from a top-notch art institute and she’s dreaming about starting her own business and building a life in Chicago after graduation before eventually venturing farther afield. She’s just started a little literary magazine and a freelance editing business and has been learning the art of bookbinding as well. She’s passionate about her dreams and is already taking steps in the right direction.

Sounds pretty good, right?

But she’s had some trouble finding like-minded people to encourage and strategize with her. And she’s afraid that she’ll get unwillingly stuck back in her hometown after graduation. She needs a little support from some other big dreamers.

In Libby’s own words: “It took me eight years after high school for the first move [outside my hometown], and I went back after a year with my tail between my legs. Two years in my hometown I used this graduate program in Chicago to get out, but am in fear that I won’t make it on my own and will end up back there unwillingly…I have resigned myself to the fact that I will have to form my own path in life and that few people can help with that path as a whole because they don’t understand it. I have had a hard time shutting off the naysayers…Because of the naysaying, it’s a struggle to believe that I can make it on my own and be a fully independent person, especially financially.”

So hop on down to the comments and leave Libby a little love. What do you wish someone would have said to you when you started your business or moved away or started pursuing your passions? (If nothing comes to mind, a healthy “You go girl!” goes a long way.)

Do you know someone who needs a little Anti Nay-Say love? Send me their (or your!) story.

* Photo on the right taken by: Jessica Fenlon.

Share this post!

You may also like

Leave a comment

* By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website.


Warren Talbot February 28, 2013 - 7:06 am

I love your persistence and willingness to keep moving towards your dream in the face of so much uncertainty. Your actions are what makes sure you will achieve your goals and it sounds like you are constantly taking new steps forward.

You have taken all the right steps to live the life YOU want and that is the most important consideration – YOUR desires. Betsy and I believe completely that you can create the life you desire and start the business you have your eyes set on. You have found 2 people who will always stand in your corner, and you may want to move over for I have no doubt you are about to discover a host of new people ready to stand beside you as well.

Good luck in your quest, though I am certain luck will have nothing to do with your greatness.

Libby Walkup April 5, 2013 - 6:09 am

Thanks Warren and Betsy! I apologize for the delay. It means a lot to have your support. I read your story in Learnvest a while back and fell in love with your life. With grad school I don’t get a chance to keep up with my favorite blogs as often as I’d like, but yours is at the top of my list. Thanks for existing.

gigigriffis February 28, 2013 - 7:13 am

Hey Libby,

I’m also going to pop down into the comments here to second Warren’s words. I completely believe you can build the life you want and from everything I’ve read you are so on the right track. Keep pressing forward no matter what. See challenges as opportunities. And celebrate your successes along the way, no matter how small.

In summary: you go, girl!



Libby Walkup April 5, 2013 - 6:11 am

This is super delayed, Gigi, but I’m briefly caught up with my life. I wanted to thank you again for posting this and I think I’m going to keep it bookmarked so that I can return to it whenever I’m feeling a little lost. You’re pretty amazing. Thank you.

Betsy Talbot February 28, 2013 - 7:28 am

Hi, Libby. Congrats on that graduate degree! You’ve already done something really hard, so what you want to do next is simply a layer on top of what you’ve already started. You’re stacking up your life, and you are well above the foundation now. No need to go back and recreate it. :)

I also come from a small town and had very little support for my dreams because they involved leaving – no one wanted me to go. When you realize the naysayers closest to you usually say/do these things because they love you and want you to stick around, it’s easier to let it roll off. It comes from a place of love, though it is definitely misguided. You can accept the love and let the other stuff go.

What happens when you do finally leave and start reaching out for like-minded people is magic. For me, it was like breathing oxygen for the first time. These people *get* you, and you can simply get on with the business of living your dream instead of always justifying why you should be able to chase your dream. It’s a big difference, and one that will give you more energy than you can imagine if you just seek those people out and make them part of your world.

And hey, once you get to be successful at this dream you’ll be surprised at the people you’ve inspired to chase theirs…even the ones who were originally the naysayers in your life. Blaze a trail, girl.

Libby Walkup April 5, 2013 - 6:45 am

Betsy. You nailed it on the head: you can simply get on with living your dream instead of always justifying why you should be able to chase your dream. That would be such a relief. And I think I’m near it. Being out of that small town definitely helps. Even without like-minded people, I start to feel like I can think clearly without all those voices. It takes a while for them to fade, but once they’re quiet it feels Ike the open space North Dakota always should have been for me. Thanks for your kind words and support!

Dalene February 28, 2013 - 7:59 am

Libby – The only thing I can really say, when speaking with people about following their dreams is:

You. Will. Not. Regret. It.

Hubby and I sold everything to travel the world almost 4 years ago. Nay-sayers? You bet we had them, more than we could count. It took us over a year to put our plan into action, and we doubted ourselves every step of the way (largely because we had lots of help in the “doubt” area thanks to said nay-sayers), but the only thing that kept us going was the thought that:

We. Would. Not. Regret. It.

Even if we hated traveling. Even if we failed spectacularly and came running home with our tails between our legs. We knew that just by endeavouring to follow through on our life-long dreams, it would change our life, and we would be rewarded in some way.

It paid off exponentially. Nay-sayers be DAMNED.

You are on the RIGHT path. You are doing everything to achieve your goals. Now is the time to take all that momentum and surge forward. Do what must be done!

Libby Walkup April 5, 2013 - 6:52 am

Darlene, I’m so excited to read about our adventures. You just blew everything I believed about Canadians and travel out of the water. I just assume that everyone else in the “West” did this sort of stuff all the time, or least to a higher degree than US Americans, with gap years and being more open to having guests, I thought the US was the only place stuck in this capitalist work, stuff cycle. :( I’m sorry to hear that’s not that case. I’m glad you guys went for your dream. Thank you for your support!

Sarah February 28, 2013 - 8:22 am

Hey Libby-

You can do it! You are ALREADY livin’ the dream, because you are ALREADY living (successfully!) in the big city and accomplishing a great academic feat to boot.

After undergrad, I lived at home for a year before moving halfway across the country with my partner. That move was the best thing ever, a breath of fresh air, but I still feel like I’m struggling to get a toe-hold in this whole adulthood-thing. I have big dreams, too, and I get caught up thinking “I’m too young! I don’t know anything!” But really, who DOES know what they’re doing?

My best advice: First, find entrepreneurs or anyone else in your field whose success you admire. Take them for coffee or drinks and ask them for their story (and advice). People love to share. Second, when the nay-sayers got you down, crank the sassy tunes in your apt and jam- you’ll be feelin’ the go get ’em ‘tude in no time.

Best wishes!!

gigigriffis February 28, 2013 - 8:34 am

Ooh, I second the music suggestion! I put some upbeat tunes on my iPod and take long walks when I need to feel encouraged and ready to take on the world.

Libby Walkup April 5, 2013 - 7:06 am

Ah! Yes, music! The best way to lift the spirits. Thanks so much for that. Will also come back to this page where I can read all these wonderful words again. Good luck to you and you’re right. No one has it figured out. I think, in general, the older you get the less you worry about having it figured out and you just sort keep doing, whatever that doing is, so it seems like you’ve got it figured it out. :) (ps. I also loved that quote by Meg Keene on your blog. What a wonderful insite into change!)

David February 28, 2013 - 8:28 am

Dear Libby,

At first, you’re probably wondering why this complete stranger is calling you “dear”. Well, that one is quite easy for me to answer- any dreamer, and hoper, and wishful thinker is a dear, kindred soul to mine. With that being said, I sympathize and empathize with your current plight, and frankly, also your fear. I think that when people find themselves in a momentum, the is a fear that initial movement will stop before we reach that destination we so deeply long for. And without encouragement or support at times? Of course it is terrifying! But, Libby, it is also entirely normal. I don’t believe that anything that is worthwhile isn’t something that is treasured to us; something we want to keep, and keep safe also. Dreams are perhaps some of those things that we hold on to and keepsake with the strongest of intentions.

That being said, I do not subscribe to the idea that we live in a world that is inherently evil, or even overly jaded. I will say that we live in a world, and an age, that lacks courage. For all our advances, I think people live reactionary to the pains of living, and the fears that come from those painful experiences. So it is not that people have stopped dreaming, but more so that they have lost faith in their dreams. They have given into rational and irrational fears about “what if’s” and “what could/would/should have been’s”. And because they live in this fear (not with), these people will see the world by the same limits and margins that bind them to their inability to make their dreams come true. In a sense, they project their fears, insecurities, worries and concerns unto you. Sometimes this comes from a very loving place, where they do not want to see you, a loved one, hurt. And other times, which arguably seems the majority and the most abundant, it comes from people being unable to cope with someone rising beyond those things that holds them back from their own dream making.

I cannot say that your future ventures will not be without trails or difficulties. I can’t even say that you will succeed in achieving all you dream of- but that is because no one really knows what will happen tomorrow. Things could change for good or worse, or even crazier still, you could change, and your dreams too. What I can say about where you are and what you are going through is that it takes incredible courage to take a dream and mold it into a reality. It takes incredible sense of purpose, desire and ambition just to even take a few steps in that direction, regardless of the outcome. So, you, Libby, are an inspiration in courage and determination. And you are currently standing on ground were most people don’t venture to stand on. I hope you will achieve what you want. I hope that in achieving the things that you want you find yourself fulfilled, accepted, happy and loved. And I hope, with all of my heart, that when you feel like faltering, or when you feel like it is too much to handle emotionally and physically, that you remember that to other dreamers you are an inspiration. Remember that to other dreams, you ARE already living your dream by standing up and moving out of the stagnant current that seems to be the home for those that have given up on dreaming.

I too want to be brave and courageous like you, and knowing that someone else is struggling with things that I am struggling with also, makes me feel a little less alone and helpless, and a little more at peace- knowing that for me, as I hope it is for you, this indicates that I’m on the right path.

Keep strong, Libby. And keep dreaming.

With much respect, appreciation and kind affection from Kabul,

David- a wandering dreamer

PS. I often find comfort in music, and while this may or may not be to your liking, I think the lyrics are pretty poignant to your situation. “Crazy Dream” by Carrie Underwood.

Libby Walkup April 5, 2013 - 7:11 am

This is so well said. Thank you David. Thank you v, much. I wish you the vest in achieving your dreams too. If you ever need a pep talk or support or just an ear, look me up.

And. I’ll have a listen to the song. :)

Deb February 28, 2013 - 10:35 am

Libby–I am old and have lived both ways. I started out with the tried and true and then reached out to find another way. I will never regret leaving so-called safe employment and starting my own businesses. In REAL LIFE, there is no safe employment or employer in these recessionary times. You are constantly reminded you are only a pink slip away from being cast out into a jobless world. The only thing between you and being job-home-food less is you. You can’t depend on employers because they don’t REALLY care about you. Only YOU can care about YOU. That’s why self-employment is in my experience the best thing you can do for YOU and your life. If you don’t try to live your dreams, you end up stuck in 4 x 5 cubicles slowly dying inside. All my start ups in going into business were a struggle financially, but I made it through each one and the rewards were great because I was able to make more money than I made with employers and therefore have more control over my life. Instead of working an 8 hour 9-5 job I was able to work all night or skip days. I was able to have my son with me 24/7 the first 4 years of his life. I was able to stop what I was doing and take him to the river or lake to play. I was able to have control of my lifestyle. The time frame to actually making money rather than losing it will be different with each business, but I believe if you LOVE what you do, success comes by default. In every business I started, I was short of funds. In every business I made more money than I ever would have made from an employer. Bumps in my life weren’t caused by the businesses or lack of money, but ill-advised marriages and an unexpected pregnancy. Go for it girl. You’ll be surprised at how many people will help and support you through the struggle and at how alive you will feel. Most people are inherently kind, and you won’t be alone. Immerse yourself in the world of literature, writing and book binding, and meet as many people as you can who are connected to those industries. You’ll find people who can use your services and will be able to survive and eventually prosper. Genealogists are one resource you can use because many family genealogists are writing their family histories and require editing advice and book binding. There are many other resources in every facet of daily living. Jump in and get wet.

Libby Walkup April 5, 2013 - 7:39 am

Thanks so much for the inspiration and the tip. Genealogists are a great market for my skills. I’m so glad you’ve found success in entrepreneurship and I hope to follow in your footsteps. I wish you continued success!

Rebeca February 28, 2013 - 12:34 pm

Good luck and you need to follow your dream (I know easier said than done) but, you can do what your passions and dreams are no matter what everyone else says or does. I am proud of you for starting your own business and working hard to achieve what you want out of life.

Libby Walkup April 5, 2013 - 7:44 am

Thanks for the kind words. :)

Kim February 28, 2013 - 12:53 pm


Get going girl! Don’t listen to the nay-sayers. One time, when I was a teacher with big dreams and all sorts of great ideas about how to do great things for my students, I was surrounded by a bunch of nay-saying bubble bursters. After one particularly bruising round of disagreements, I went back to my classroom and made a bulletin board that said, “YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES!” Tell yourself YES! and don’t listen to the others!

Let us know how it’s going.

(I know it’s going to be great!)

Libby Walkup April 5, 2013 - 8:02 am

Kim. Thanks so much. I’m so glad not only you’re blocking out the naysayers but that you spread that to your kids. I think I’m going to make a bulletin board of that on it for myself. :)

JDN February 28, 2013 - 8:21 pm

Dear Libby,
Dream big. Start small. Keep going.

Libby Walkup April 5, 2013 - 8:03 am

“Like” :) thank you.

Alexandra Franzen February 28, 2013 - 9:31 pm


You have cool glasses + cute dimples.

Follow your hut (heart + gut) and you will be golden.

And even if you have to go back to your hometown after graduation, THINK OF THE UH-MAZING STORIES! (for your memoir. or stand-up comedy routine.)


:: A

Libby Walkup April 5, 2013 - 8:06 am

:) thanks Alexandra. My hut will be in charge from now on. As if it ever wasn’t. :)

Michell February 28, 2013 - 10:40 pm


What a wonderful adventure you are on. If you know what the top of your mountain looks like, then keep your eyes on the peak. Sure, there will be valleys along the way…and you will climb out and travel ever more in the direction of your dreams. When you start to doubt your ability to reach your dreams, just remember a few points: If you don’t ask, then the answer is always no. Take a risk and ask for help when you need it. Other people love to be of service, and usually you can find someone to say yes to helping you along with your dream. Know what you can tolerate and what you cannot. Rice and beans eaten in an environment that you love are so much more nourishing than a gourmet meal eaten in soul-sucking desolation. Know what your priorities are and never, ever, ever compromise your integrity or dreams. You can find a way to keep both. You are a survivor. You have survived and thrived in graduate school, have managed to meet your needs up ’till now, and will be able to meet your needs in the future. Live from an expectation of abundance, and shun the scarcity mindset. You are creative, and have the imagination and ability to create reality from your dreams. Move ever forward toward your goals and engage in healthy self-care. It is okay to disagree with your nay-sayers. A simple “I don’t agree” can be very powerful, and heal the doubt in your heart. Visualize where you want to go and the steps to get there, then practice them by taking a tiny little baby step toward your goal every day. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

Life is an adventure. Make sure that it is a good one.

All the best to you, and I look forward to reading copies of your literary magazine for years to come.


Libby Walkup April 5, 2013 - 8:12 am

Michell. Thanks so much. That was so good. I like that, “I simply don’t agree”. I get so frustrated sometimes with people and I start to argue, when I should just say I don’t agree. Thank you. And I hope you enjoy ginger piglet! We just started accepting submissions for the fourth issue. I’m v. Excited.

Ali March 1, 2013 - 5:19 am

Hi Libby! It’s tough having negative people around you telling you your dreams won’t work. But you have to tune them out. If this dream is important to you, you have to do whatever you can to make it work. Go for it! Even if it doesn’t work out, you will be so glad you tried. If you don’t ever try, you’ll always wonder “what if?” Online communities are a great place to find like minded people who will support & encourage you. You can do this, give it a try!

Libby Walkup April 5, 2013 - 8:14 am

Thanks Ali. You’re right. If I don’t do it i’ll always be wanting to do it and thinking it’s the best path for me.

Sarah Duncan March 1, 2013 - 8:33 am

Hi Libby,

To be honest with you, things are not going to be easy, they’re going to be hard and you are going to have days where you ask yourself ‘what the hell am I doing?’ But things have to be difficult, because the bigger the struggle the more you have to prove to yourself that you want it and that it’s important to you.

For the last 5 years I have been wanting to live in South America and last year I decided to pack up my things, I got rid of my apartment, sold everything I owned and bought a ticket to Bogotá. Of course I had my fair share of nay-sayers, people who had my best interest at heart but who couldn’t really understand what I was doing and why.

But regardless of what other people think about who we are and what we’re doing, there is that strange little voice inside of us that tells us things, it is wise and all-knowing, but listening to it and trusting it is scary. It won’t stop being scary and it should be scary, that means you’re pushing yourself and learning and reaching, which is awesome.

Good luck with it all Libby, go kick some ass.


Lizzie March 1, 2013 - 9:49 am

Libby, no matter what happens, you are brilliant. You are brave and spectacular for wanting to do something you are passionate about. It’s normal to be scared but don’t let fear, or other people’s opinions, get in the way of enjoying your life and following what feels right for you. I have two examples from my own life, one that worked and one that didnt:
1. In 2012 I moved from Australia to Scotland by myself, without knowing anyone. It was the best decision I ever made and I love living here every day
2. In December I left a shitty but OK paid job for a dream job that didn’t pay very well. And that job didn’t work out meaning I’m now unemployed on the opposite side of the world to my family. But you know what? I don’t regret that decision AT ALL. It hasn’t changed my love for Scotland, or my value for myself. Because at least I am trying to live a life I am proud of.

So do what you want. Believe in yourself, no matter the outcomes. Here are some quotes I keep with me in moments of doubt:
“All you are, right now, in this moment, is enough.”
“Do it for yourself (not for them).”
“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all.”

gigigriffis March 1, 2013 - 9:58 am

I LOVE those quotes. Hear, hear!

Andrew March 2, 2013 - 1:51 pm

Pursuing a dream is a better option than running away from it. If you run away, the regret and the “what ifs” are far worse than going after it and the regret of (possible) failure. I tend to worry A LOT. And yet failure is never as complete, utter and destroying as it might seem. There are always pieces to learn from and steps to take that are visible from a different point of view.

Philosophical rambling aside. Let me add my positive encouraging thoughts.

Jeannea Spence March 2, 2013 - 2:58 pm

Libby, congratulations for being courageous, persistent, and amazing. Know the Truth of who you, be clear about your values, and align your actions with those values and stay away from “energy vampires.” You feel a tug to do something because it is what you are destined to be. Choose it! And when you feel afraid — as all amazing entrepreneurial spirits do occasionally — reach out to a network of people who will build you up, remind you of the Truth of who you are, and encourage you to go where your intuition leads you. Best wishes to you and much success!!!!

Libby Walkup March 2, 2013 - 6:14 pm

Your are all so so so lovely. Thank you so so so much for your love and encouragement and I can’t wait to read your words more carefully and often and I hope that I have an opportunity to share words with each of you and maybe offer encouragement at moments when you need some.

Thank you thank you thank you.

Other Stuff I Wrote This Month, February 2013 | the ramble March 4, 2013 - 3:15 am

[…] AMAZINGLY LARGE Thank You to A) everyone who left some encouragement and love for Libby during our first-ever Anti-Nay Say, and B) everyone who responded to my questions about inspiration earlier this month. I want this […]

Rach // In Spaces Between March 4, 2013 - 5:09 am

Libby, you are brave and awesome and you’ve GOT THIS!

When I left my corporate job of almost 5 years in December last year the first thing some of my colleagues said to me – before congrats, before anything else – was “But will you have enough money?”

It was a beautiful lesson for me to not attach to other people’s conditioning/ limiting beliefs/ nay-saying nonsense and hold strong with what I knew in my bones was the right thing to do.

When you’re living from a place of purpose you start vibrating at a higher frequency and your soul tribe find their way to you.

Cheering you on!
Rach xx

Jonathan Welford March 20, 2013 - 12:55 am


You only regret what you don’t do. You’re living where you want to live, so score that one off your want list, it’s purely maintaining. As for the business ideas, it sounds as though you’ve already started down the route you want. So long as you can pay your rent, feed your belly and you are content you are doing what you love then you’re already living the job you want. Yes you will stumble along the way, but life is a learning curve.

The last thing you want to be is hit 40 or 50 and realize life has passed you by. Don’t delay your life. The older we get the more challenging it is to divert from the routine that’s expected of us.

Keep on going, work part time jobs, temporary jobs and accrue money where you can to make your life yours.



This website uses cookies to improve your experience. Opt-out here if you wish! Accept Read more