What to Do When People Don't Understand Your Big Dreams
Four ways to combat the limiting mindset that comes from other people.
Every entrepreneur or creative has reached a point in his or her life where he or she feels like no one understands. We may be told to think smaller and be realistic, and receive little support in our endeavors. I mean, everyone says they’re going to “make it,” right? What makes us so different from the many that have said that, but, in fact, didn’t make it? That’s what some people think when we tell them our ambitions. So understandably, charting your own path and making it to your version of "the top" may feel lonely.
Being different is okay. Here are four things you can do when people don’t understand your big dreams.
1. Limit the information you give certain people
Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries. All it takes, sometimes, is one more person telling us it’d be easier if we did something else, or that we’d be so great at doing XYZ. The most gentle breeze can blow out a fire that was already struggling to stay ablaze. The same goes for you. Want to know why so many people don’t make it? For one, too many voices got in their heads and changed the narrative they have been telling themselves. When you are around negative people or people that “don’t get it,” it’s easy to go from “I’m going to make it” to “I’m going to give it my best shot” to “I mean, if it happens, it happens," which all lead to settling for the easier path, then regret. Why regret? Because the same people that didn’t support you may be the same people that later question why you quit.
Sometimes, we mistake silence or misunderstanding as people not supporting us or thinking that we can do it. Sometimes, we view those things as signs that we should quit. But in actuality, most people don’t personally know anyone that has made it. It’s very likely that they are used to seeing the end result of success, not the actual journey of getting there.
They may not be trying to blow out your flames, but just in case, limit your exposure to them. You don’t need any more doubt than you already have.
This is most likely your first go-round with this endeavor, and things always seem harder and more uncertain when you haven’t done it before. It's a good idea to narrow down your inner circle to cheerleaders and supporters only.
2. Seek out support groups
Where can you find people that are like you and okay with being different? Are they on LinkedIn? Social media? Is there a local co-working office that has the vibe that you like? You need to find these people because they will normalize your ups and downs. They will normalize your ambitions and most likely tell you you’re thinking too small rather than thinking too big.
A good way to meet people is at mastermind groups that wealthy people create. You can either join their memberships to gain access to the people in the group that you feel you may benefit from, or you can do what I do and focus more on the wealthy person themselves. Participating in their programs reveals how they think, what they prioritize and how they make their decisions. For me, that is crucial. I join programs to watch how they market, see what press they are appearing in and take note of their approach to achieving happiness and success. Everyone has a different approach when it comes to manifesting their results. I subscribe to a small handful of individuals’ offers and attain their mentorship.
3. Embrace positive input
Take in content that supports your dreams and visions. Listen to audiobooks that inspire you. Consume the content of those that you admire and make sure to keep yourself in the mind frame of success, focused on where you want to go. Watch as many videos as you need; read as many books as you need. Say as many affirmations as you need, but make sure you are consuming content that matches your future. Do some inventory. What shows do you watch? What’s in your social-media feeds? What radio stations do you listen to? What do you see and hear on a daily basis that encourages and fuels your future? Being different is okay, but it makes it harder not to conform and be like everyone else. So to combat that, you have to take in twice as many things that are going to be conducive to your success.
4. Find great mentors
You need someone to show you the ropes. You don’t know what you don’t know, and unless you’ve been there before, you have no idea what stage of the journey you’re in. You could be approaching the finish line unknowingly and quit because it doesn’t seem like you’re making any progress. Having a mentor is the equivalent of having someone saying “No, you’re on track. Turn left a little though."
This path takes a lot of discipline. Something that may also be helpful is hiring an accountability coach. This is something I’ve done with my clients to help them stay on track.
It’s so easy to get caught up in everyday life and everyday people, and before you know it, you start sinking back into less than what you pictured for yourself. You start asking yourself what lesser goal you’d be okay with achieving so that you can still feel like you achieved, and you start settling. Having an accountability coach holds you accountable for doing what you said you wanted and needed to do. My clients saw much better results when I actually worked with them one on one and checked in with them versus just telling them what they needed to do and leaving them to it. Life happens, and everyone can benefit from having someone help keep him or her on track, monitoring his or her progress and making sure he or she hits certain milestones at the desired time.
Even without an accountability coach, you have everything it takes to live the life that you envision. Keep being different — and showing other people who are different that they aren't alone.
Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor