Have you ever enthusiastically shared your dream with someone only to be met with rolling eyes, a discouraging comment, or even a laugh? It hurts when someone shoots down your dream. I run into people all the time that have had so many years of people in their lives telling them they can’t do this, or shouldn’t try that. Has anyone ever responded to your dream proposal with a “Are you kidding? You would fail for sure!” Those messages from others become part of us. They go deep down into our psyche and take root as doubts and fears. It’s hard enough to keep a dream alive without this kind of discouraging messaging making it worse.
To counteract the damaging effects of negative messengers, you need to find at least one person (a whole group would be ideal) that will give you encouraging support. That’s truly at the core of what a dream partner is; someone who will see your capability, not what you have done, but what you can do, and encourage you along that path.
Here are some ground rules for supporting someone in their dream: Listen and ask clarifying questions. Resist jumping in to offer feedback before you have heard the whole story. Help them to see all angles of their situation, both opportunities and obstacles. When obstacles are identified, help them to find the solutions, rather on dwelling too much on the negative. Remind them of their gifts; help them to use their gifts at all times.
I know what you are thinking; sometimes the big dream may be out of reach. I think about all of those American Idol contestants that really can’t sing making fools of themselves on the TV. If you are a real supportive dream partner, you will always tell the truth in a loving way, but never dash a person’s dream. Help them to see a reachable way to use their gifts, talents and passions. A dream is there for a reason, so fan the flames whenever possible.
When you create a support system around you that will challenge you, and encourage you in your gifts, you will find that you will not only feel more empowered, but, even YOU will expect more of yourself.