You’re gripped by an idea.
It's so exciting that it keeps you up at night thinking about it.
It's so thrilling that the idea of making your dream become a reality makes you feel instantly happy.
Whether it’s starting a new business, switching careers, satiating that travel ambition, or writing a novel, the dream is so deep and personal to you that it sets you on fire. You can’t wait to make it happen.
Then, eager to share your passion with those you love, you tell your family or friends, expecting a positive shower of “You can do it!” and “Go for it!”
Instead, you get a funny look back, perhaps with a raised eyebrow, and maybe a deflating comment thrown in for good measure. All your confidence seeps away and you start to feel like a fool, or you get angry with the person who doesn’t believe in you. Either outcome doesn’t feel good, does it?
Here’s a five-step process you can follow when it comes to sharing your dreams with your friends and family to avoid all the heartache, drama and fallout:
Step 1: Look at your past patterns
Without getting critical of yourself, take a step back and look at how things have gone in the past. Have you had similar ideas that came to nothing? Do you always abandon projects half way through? Does the fire of inspiration grab you for a while, then fade and wither away?
If so, that’s not to say you should give up on having dreams. Not at all. But it could explain why people around you are hesitant to invest their enthusiasm in your idea. That’s okay. They’re just basing their judgment on past experiences. To make them believe in you, you’ll have to work out how you can break out of former patterns and stick with this idea until fruition. Prove to them by your actions that you’re in this one for the long haul.
Step 2: Build another support network
Family and friends can be a good support network, but not always. If you have a passion for starting a steel pan band or starting a blog about beekeeping, they might not be the best resource of support or guidance for you.
Seek out communities that you can join to gain support. Whether those be online or in person or both. An online group can be great because it means you can get in touch whenever you feel the need for inspiration or support, or when you want to encourage others. Finding mentors and peers who share your passions is a great way to keep your dream alive.
Step 3: Talk less, plan more
A study at NYU found that if we announce our intentions, it actually makes it less likely we’ll achieve them. Instead of confiding in friends or family about your next steps, spend that time and energy planning. How are you going to succeed? What pitfalls and obstacles will you encounter? How might you get around these? Though you can’t plan for every eventuality, having an idea of how you’re going to reach your goal is essential.
Step 4: Listen to their dreams
Have you been supportive of your friends’ and family’s dreams in the past? When they have come to you with their plans for their own life, have you been encouraging and uplifting? If not, it doesn’t make sense to expect something from them you’re not willing to reciprocate.
But it’s not too late. You can start to ask your family and friends about their dreams, and listen and respond encouragingly. However it’s important to note they still might not be supportive of you, and that’s their choice.
Step 5: Believe in yourself
“When people don't believe in you, you have to believe in yourself.” – Pierce Brosnan
Before you even put faith in your dreams, it’s important to have faith in yourself. Though not every idea you have will work out – that doesn’t happen for anybody! – you certainly have the skill and determination to try to learn and grow. And no one can ask for more than that from you.
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