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. We all know how hard it is to get motivated in the first place, you certainly don’t want someone else to demotivate you.
So what can you do to manage the caring ones who will unwittingly destroy your dreams? 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. This might be true, but their worries are also for themselves.
Their fear is that you will be dramatically changed. 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. What you have to do is recognise their worries, calm them as much as you can, but remember that they are not a good reason for you to abandon 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. Although you can sympathise with their worries, be open with them and tell them that although you appreciate their concern, you have no intention of being deterred from your path. 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 share your vision, give you support and encouragement, without the warnings of disaster.
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.