Have you ever shared your dream with someone, only to have them stomp on it with a few unsupportive words?
‘I’ve been thinking about writing a book, and—’
‘It’s really hard to get published, you know.’
In an ideal world, you would define your dream, tell your family and friends —and be flooded with support and offers to help you get there. But let’s face it: this isn’t an ideal world and some people, even those closest to you won’t support you. How do you handle that? And how do you ignore the naysayers and press on?
Well let’s start here…there’s a breed of control freaks who quietly lurk, ready to attack your precious, vulnerable ideas as soon as you share them with the world. These people are known as naysayers, non-supporters, or just plain dream killers.
You’ll find them in the workplace, in social circles, in the family, or in your own bed. It could be your partner, your best friend, your child, your parents, your neighbor’s mother’s husband third cousin …….
Regardless of who they are, naysayers all have the same toxic tendency: they get off on popping bubbles, and raining on parades.
How to recognize a naysayer….
This is usually how it unfolds: you dream up a plan that excites you to the core of your being. It may be a new hobby, a career change, or an outrageous invention.
Some will pat you on the back and say, “GO FOR IT,” but there’s always some people who get off on pointing out reasons why you can’t do it. They may even try to mask their doubt as support by saying something like “I’ll support you….don’t know if that’s reasonable but go for it”.
Common remarks from naysayers:
‘The average person who does that usually isn’t successful.’ Which in response you say “I’ve never been average so I don’t live by that idea”
‘Are you sure you’re qualified?’ Which you respond by saying “Is this a job interview?”
Naysayers love to highlight the impracticalities of your dream, “You can’t make any money doing that.” In which you can ask “Really? Have you tried it?”
Or, they’ll call upon ‘normal people’ as the basis for their argument, pointing out how you’re destined for failure because you’re not acting like one of them. ‘Normal people usually just get a real job,’ or, ‘This isn’t what normal people do.’
Most often, naysayers have not fulfilled their own dreams. They don’t live an inspired existence because they’re too busy living in fear. Maybe they made the mistake of listening to their own naysayers, and they’re just parroting words that have kept them down their whole life? Perhaps they believe that life is all about living inside a fantasyland called Normalville, where regular people populate the average town of Mediocrity, sipping on lukewarm cups of boring?
But seriously…. chances are if they are a loved one and a naysayer, they’re just scared. They fear that if in fact you do fail…you will experience devastating loss. However, we have learned in recent times that even while ‘playing it safe’ the same thing can happen. We are in LESS control of our destiny by remaining wage workers and fulfilling someone else’s dream. So I recommend talking it out with a close loved one…such as a parent or spouse. Ask them what their concerns are and, without judgment, address them one by one. Don’t let it escalate into an argument—stay calm. Comfort them through their fears, while peacefully standing your ground. This is your life, your journey and your happiness, so own it and make it clear that you won’t sway from your dream. Negotiate and compromise if possible, but make sure you leave the conversation with your heart fluttering. If you come away from the conversation feeling heavy and sad, you’ve just been naybashed once again.
However…if it is a family member or friends who really has no vested interest in your life do one of two things.
- Ignore them. Have confidence in your plans, and refuse to hear their joy kills. Locate your internal switch called GIVE A CRAP and simply flick it over from DO to DON’T.
- Sever ties. Perhaps the naysayer is a friend or partner who never supports your dreams? If you find yourself in a relationship with a toxic person who continually tears holes in your ambitions, it may be best to cut off the relationship. You have the power to control your environment and the people you surround yourself with. Avoid negative people and those who will bring you down. Surround yourself with people who are positive, zestful and who are also pursuing their own goals. This type of attitude and behavior has been found to be contagious.
I live by a theory I got from Caroline Adams Miller, author of Creating your Best Life. The positive to negative comment ratio should be 5:1. For every 5 positive comments said to me people are allowed one negative. Once the ratio drops below 3:1 it has the effect of reducing my well-being and every other positive emotion or action that would help with accomplishing my goals. So that means they have to go!