According to a close friend of mine, she keeps sharing her
dream (in this case we are defining a dream as an ultimate
business success goal) with people who call her “silly” and
otherwise put her down for having that dream.
I asked her, “why put yourself through that?”
“After all” I suggested, “If you’re going to share your
dream, share it with those who will encourage and support
you; not insult you.”
That’s not to say, of course, that you shouldn’t seek
counsel from people; even if those people might be negative.
If they are “thinking people” whom you respect, you can use
their thoughts to see where you might or might not need to
adjust your planning.
Roy Disney was notorious as the person who always told his
brother, Walt why something “couldn’t” be done. Of course,
Walt typically did it anyway, and quite often his projects
succeeded, but he respected his brother’s wisdom enough to
take counsel in what he said.
That’s fine. I also have a “Negative Nellie” – type person I
seek out to run ideas past because I know that, if he tells
me it’s a winner; it probably is. But, if he tells me it’s a
loser; even if I don’t agree with him and decide to go ahead
anyway, I’ll usually learn a couple good points in which I
need to re-think my plans. That’s different from what my
friend is doing.
You see, if you’re sharing your dream with those you feel
close to and being flat-out insulted or put-down because of
this, you’re not doing yourself (or your dream) a service,
but instead doing something most likely very
counterproductive to achieving your goals.
“Joan” said this person called her “silly.” To me, that’s
not a critique worth taking seriously. Had he said, “here’s
why I don’t think it will work” and then went on to list
some reasons, then it gives her something to consider and
think through. That doesn’t mean she has to agree or act
upon any or all of his suggestions.
However, it might be a good idea to consider the source. If
that person has a track record of accomplishment, it
certainly would be worthwhile for her to seriously weigh
However, “it’s silly” does not sound like that is the case.
That kind of “critique” typically comes from people who call
And, remember what Jim Cathcart says,
“….a realist is simply a pessimist who doesn’t want to
admit it. I’ve never heard a ‘realist’ take an optimistic
posture on any topic. They always say, ‘Let’s be realistic,’
and then go on to explain why your idea can’t be done.
Imagine a realist saying, ‘Realistically, we don’t yet know
what the possibilities are. This could be easier than we
I like Jim’s take. And, I think it’s important – not only
that we seek out people who, at best, support our dreams
and, at worst, critique with “consideration and
thoughtfulness” (meaning they are truly considering their
suggestions and are filled with thought) – that we do the
same when someone runs an idea past us.
This doesn’t mean we should tell someone that we think their
idea is terrific if we think it’s a “turkey.” What it does
mean is that, if we don’t feel it’s going to be the next big
success, we consider it carefully, and explain why. And, it
goes without saying, that we do so with “consideration and
thoughtfulness” (in this case, meaning we consider their
feelings and filled with thought on how we phrase our
Remember, most people are not interested in your dream. And,
half of those who are interested, are only interested
because it gives them a chance to say something negative
about it; thus making themselves feel temporarily better.
So, choose wisely those with whom you share your dream.
Learn from everyone, but share your dream with few.
by Bob Burg