Don’t you just hate it when someone throws cold water on your dreams? When you’re really excited about the direction that you’re going in, but a well-meaning Negative Nancy tries to throw a roadblock into your path? I hate that too and I’ve fallen victim to unintentionally letting others dampen my excitement, which ultimately led to me second-guessing myself and what I really wanted. There are ways in which you can protect against that, and I’d like to share a few of them with you today.
Get On The Offensive
The most important thing to do in order to guard your dreams from outside negative attack is to get your story down pat. When you sound doubtful or confused when people ask you questions, they will be doubtful and confused about your vision. For example, if you’re in the midst of switching careers and your current job is perceived as a ‘good job’, people will wonder why you are switching and how you can leave that money behind. To prepare for the inevitable questions, work out in your mind what your response will be. If you just say “I’m following my passion”, you’ll likely sound flaky and unrealistic. But if you have a succinct, logical story about your vision you’ll fare better when questioned about what you’re doing. You could simply say “I’ve always been passionate about creating gift baskets, and I’m finally doing me and starting my own business”.
In that short statement, you’re not only saying that you’re doing something you’ve always wanted to do, but you’re also showing that you have experience doing what you’ve planned. It’s also helpful to be prepared to answer questions such as, “why would you do that in this economy?” or “that sounds pretty difficult to make a living from, how are you going to do that?”. If you don’t know, say you don’t, but be confident about it. “I”m doing my research,” or “there’s no time like the present”. What you don’t want to do is give too much information and open the door to all kinds of probing questions.
Frankly, its no one else’s business what you’re up to. Unless the person asking questions is your spouse, pays your bills or is responsible in some way for your livelihood, you don’t owe them an explanation. It may be easier on your relationship with that person to give a brief explanation, but don’t feel like you need outside approval for your decisions. You only have one life, and you are the only person capable of living it. Its great to get the support and encouragement of those we love, but they certainly don’t live their lives to please you, now do they?
Learn To Save Your Breath
You can also save yourself some grief if you know your plans will fall on deaf ears. Sometimes people ask what you’re up to, not out of a supportive curiosity but as part of a pissing contest. Don’t feel like you have to participate. If they need to compete with others in order to feel worthy or superior, that has nothing to do with you and your plans are ultimately irrelevant. You can just keep your response vague, such as “I’m not up to much,” and keep it moving. Or, if you know the person asking won’t really understand where you’re coming from, you can craft your answer in terms that will resonate with them.
Using myself as an example, my mother doesn’t really get the internet. When I told her that I found my cousins on Facebook, she doesn’t really know the difference between that and Googling someone. So when she asks me what I’m up to, I simply say I’m working on my t-shirt business and that I’m learning about other businesses I want to pursue, such as freelance writing (when its really copywriting… that’s another post lol).
Its not that I’m cutting her out, honestly I’m helping her. Does she need to know about affiliate sales, internet marketing, blogging, social media and other ways to generate income online? No she doesn’t. All she really needs to know is that I’m working toward the goal of being my own boss and that I’ve establised one business already. Everything else will just cause more questions and more confusion, when all she wants to do is know what I’m working on and have bragging rights (lol).
Keep Your Cheerleaders In Mind
You won’t be able to avoid all negative comments or Doubting Thomases. Sometimes when you discuss your dreams with people, particularly if they’re not a dreamer themselves, they will have something negative to say. It helps if you remember that some folks will be in the same spot in life, long after you’ve achieved your dreams and are working on the next ones. It also helps if you have a person or persons in mind who will help you feel better after a negative hit.
As another example, last night I was feeling frustrated about my dating prospects. My best friend reigned me in and helped me to regain focus on the big picture. And in an instant I was back to being my motivated, inspired self. But if I were stuck in those thoughts alone, I could have easily been stuck in a negative spiral that was initially caused my another person. So we all need that back up, that understands exactly what we want and knows precisely where we’re coming from when it seems like others just don’t get it.
Other Things To Keep In Mind
No matter what you say, there will be people who doubt you. And no matter what you do, there will be people who don’t see your vision and think you’re out to lunch. But those people don’t matter. The most important thing is that you’re happy and fulfilled, and pursuing your dreams does that for you in ways that trying to please others never could. Its your life, you deserve to live it how you feel is best. Its unfortunate that we have to justify our actions to others, but its best to be prepared for the inevitable and hold your head high about your choices.