Who Are You Listening To?

Jim Donovan

The other day I shared a new business idea with a few friends. They began telling me how hard it would be to implement it and why it would not work. I'm not entirely sure why but, for some reason, they seemed set on "raining on my parade."

Fortunately, for me, I have enough confidence in my own abilities, years of experience, a coach and close business associates to whom I can turn for advice.

Sometimes, I'll even ignore the advice of everyone and go ahead with an idea just to see if it will work. Sometimes it does, sometimes, it doesn't. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Most of what we attempt to accomplish is not life threatening:-)

The friends whose opinions I asked, whether knowingly or not, are what I call "Dream Crushers."

These are the, many times well intentioned, people who for whatever reason, are set on sucking the wind out of your sail and undermining your dream even before it has a chance to succeed.

They may be friends or family members who just want to prevent you from making a mistake and being hurt. They may, in fact, be envious, either consciously or unconsciously, of your initiative and successes.
Or they may just be the type of people who can never see the value in an idea until someone hits them over the head with it.

Take, for example, the college professor who told Fred Smith his idea was crazy and gave him a "C" for what was to become FedEx. Not to pick on teachers but many of them have not been outside academia for a decade and are totally out of touch with what's happening.

Then there's the eighty year old entrepreneur who had an idea to sell merchandise on television. His staff thought he had gone senile until the Home Shopping Network became a huge success.

I had people, in the early 1970's, telling me I was crazy to think anyone would watch rock n' roll bands on television. Don't tell MTV.

If you have these "dream crushers" in your life, and we all do from time to time, here are a few ways you can prevent them from taking a wrecking ball to your dreams:

- To begin with, unless you have to, don't share your ideas with anyone who is not qualified to comment on them, especially the negative people around you. Wait until your idea or new business has had a chance to gain some momentum and starts to succeed.

- Listen to the comments from these people, in the event that they are right but don't internalize them. Thank them for their comments and just let it go. Don't try to bring them around to your way of thinking.

If other people's negative comments cause you to begin doubting yourself, they've succeeded in crushing your dream.

Keep your dreams to yourself and trusted advisors and go out and live them.

Jim Donovan is author of This Is Your Life, Not a Dress Rehearsal  www.jimdonovan.com  Copyright 2007. All Rights Reserved.

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