One of the hardest lessons for a dreamer and entrepreneur to learn is:
Be Careful Who You Share Your Ideas With.
I'm not talking about the fear of having an idea stolen (though that certainly is a viable reason to be careful). Rather, I am talking about who you tell in your family and circle of friends.
The skill of recognizing what I call, Dream Squashers, will be invaluable in your journey. These people, often with the best of intentions, may feel it is their duty to point out the 'obvious' reasons why you will not succeed in your goal.
As there will ALWAYS be a million reasons to not go for a dream, Dream Squashers often have very logical arguments that will resonate with the cautious part of us. "You don't have enough time to start a business." "You don't have the self-discipline to stick with a project like this." "It takes too much money to start an online business." Or the most dangerous, "Now is not the time, just wait until you know it's the right time to start."
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But remember, there were a million reasons against Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, Malala Yousafzai, Thomas Edison, Victor Frankl, and Nadia Comaneci. (Most of the them the same reasons that will be thrown against you!)
Avoid sharing the sparks of your ideas with these people until your spark has become a strong fire.
What I mean by that is that there may be a good time to run an idea by these people. Getting different perspectives can sometimes lead to improving a good idea.
A glimpse of what they call "reality" may help you identify potential challenges.
[Please note the italics and read about Stage 3 below.]
But I have a very specific time frame for receiving this kind of feedback. I never open up to their feedback when an idea is just starting. [And with some ideas, may never feel the need to reach out to dream squashers. Honestly, they often come to you as an idea grows whether you want them or not. :) ]
I feel like my journeys from ideas to businesses come in three stages. And I have very specific people that I have chosen for each stage. This is my Dream Support System. This enables me to get the kind of feedback I need, without having my ideas crushed before they've even begun.
Stage 1: DREAMERS
When an idea pops into my mind and I need to process it out loud, I have only about 3 people that I feel comfortable being vulnerable with enough to share a spark of an idea. These are true dreamers.
Dreamers are good listeners and full of encouragement. I have more than enough negative voices in my head during this stage of the game that I simply need people who will help nurture an idea (and help nurture me as I battle my fears and doubts).
Dreamers are the kinds of people that will protect a dream to the very end because they KNOW that any idea can become successful. They see and point out the positives, recognize your capabilities that match this kind of an idea, and seek to empower or support your journey to reaching this goal.
Stage 2: PARTNERS
When I'm developing an idea by doing research and building a website (usually my first steps on a project), I have only about 10 people who I turn to in stage two.
Partners are the people who say "maybe try ___" or "if I were your customer, I would want ____." These are fellow brainstormers who identify the best parts of my idea and present ways to capitalize on it. They are also the kind of people that are able to step into your shoes and act like a partner - not just a adoring fan or pessimistic critic.
I have to say, one of my favorite things is to be a stage two Partner for someone else's dream. Partners are a very action-oriented group who identify first steps and work on solutions. They are enthusiastically progressive and productive.
Stage 3: REALISTS
Realists are quick to point out potential problems, quickly identify missing pieces in your idea puzzle, and are often quite blunt in their assessment of your progress (or lack thereof). I have a few realists in my life that I have carefully selected to play this open and honest role in my goals.
To be honest, it may seem easy to confuse Realists with Dream Squashers. Is there a difference between the two groups?
Dream Squashers pick holes in your ideas and are quick to criticize.
Realists present both potential problems and potential solutions in the same breath.
Dream Squashers point our your flaws and voice their doubt in your ability.
Realists respect your tenacity to go for a dream even if they're concerned about your idea.
Dream Squashers only see your venture as unlikely to succeed.
Realists recognize that pursuing a goal (not just succeeding) is worth the effort.
Today, identify the Dreamers, Partners, and Realists in your life that you can turn to while pursuing your ideas. Build a Dream Support System. Also identify the Dream Squashers in your life that you should avoid.
Keep in mind that often your greatest Dream Squasher may be the negative voice in your head. That ever-doubting presence in your mind can do more damage than the doubters around you.
Write down your greatest doubts and identify at least one positive thought for each. Repeat these positive thoughts to counteract the power of negativity that will come with a good idea.
Trust that when negative thoughts come, it's because you're having a really good idea.
15 Aug 2016
Salt Lake City, Utah
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