All of us have dreams and aspirations, but only a few of us are prepared to take action. As you are reading this, I assume you are one of the motivated minority.
However, on the long and rocky road to realising our ambitions, one of the biggest threats to our fragile dreams is the well meaning but misguided “advice” of our friends and family. Let’s face it, it’s tough enough to get yourself motivated to begin with, the last thing you need is discouragement from others.
So exactly how do you handle the dream destroyers? The following tips will help you get past the worst and keep you going on your mission.
Tip #1 – Understand them. The reason that those close to us seem to be discouraging our dreams is because of fear. They will tell you that they fear for you and that they are protecting you from failure, disappointment and humiliation. All of that maybe true but they also have fears for themselves.
They are afraid, that you will change. They are afraid that they will have to change and, finally they are afraid that you will succeed and they will look inadequate in your eyes, their own eyes and other people’s eyes. Your task is to accept their fears, try to calm them as best you can, but recognise that ultimately they are no reason for you to let go of your dream.
Tip #2 – To tell or not. We often expect our friends and family to unquestioningly believe in us and give us support no matter what, but they can’t always see things from our point of view. Sometimes it’s better not to tell them what you hope for until you are a little further on your journey and have gained some confidence in your own belief before you have to defend your dreams against others.
Of course, some plans will absolutely require their full support. If you’re planning to give up work to start a business for example, then maybe you need to involve the family from the beginning.
Tip #3 – Show them your determination. Having understood and sympathised with their fears, you must make it clear that you have no intention of allowing them to deter you from your goal. If you have a history of compromising and allowing their needs to become yours, then your new determination may be a shock for them, but if you truly believe in your dream, now is the time to break that pattern
You must explain to them that this is the most important thing you have ever done and that as a result you will be a better person and that your relationship will be better. Help them to realise that the pain of change will be worth the reward for all of you.
Tip #4 – Put them in perspective. When those close to you start to tell you why whatever you’re planning won’t work and why it’s doomed to failure, stop for a minute and examine their credentials.
Have they ever done what you’re proposing? Have they ever achieved what you’re aiming for? Are they qualified to judge your plans? If not, then why would you listen to their advice?
Instead, seek out people who have achieved your goal or something similar. Find an expert; a mentor who can look at your plans with sympathy and understanding and give you helpful guidance instead of dire warnings.
Tip #5 – Don’t accept their influence. Remember that the only person who can demotivate you, is you. We can only be demotivated by others if we allow it to happen. How we react to the people around us is a choice we make, not something that just happens to us.
Some friendships, partnerships and marriages are mutually destructive and it may be that you would both be happier, more fulfilled and more successful if you were not in each other’s lives.
Only you can make that decision, but provided you make it from a position of strength, love and understanding, it will be the right one.