Apr 302013
English: Seedling Deutsch: Sämling

English: Seedling Deutsch: Sämling (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Are your dreams safe from your friends?

A few weeks ago the1bigthing’s Facebook page received its first negative comment. It was to be expected. After all when we put our thoughts and opinions out there we’re bound to get people who don’t agree with us. What was less expected however, was that the comment was made by a friend.

I brushed it off at the time but have recently realised that the comment made me abandon all efforts to post inspiring quotes on the page. An idea I had only started to put into practice the day before. It surprised me to think that a small, thoughtless gesture could have such a big impact on my behaviour.

It got me thinking that our ideas, just like our dreams are very fragile when they start out, quite similar to a little vulnerable seed that’s just been planted. They’re extremely sensitive to their environment and that includes other people’s reactions to them.

Have you ever shared a dream with a friend or a loved one only to have them advise you against it with a version of ‘I’m only saying this for your own good?’ Doesn’t feel great does it?

The sad thing is that while the perpetrator will instantly forget about their comment the minute they leave your company, the effect of their words will linger like a thick icy frost on your little seedling. Before you know it, the dream is dead.


 So what can we do about it?

Our seedling dreams need to be nurtured and protected until they are strong enough to withstand the elements. In come The Greenhouse Tactics. (I know I know, I’m totally stretching out the analogy here.)


4 Greenhouse tactics that will protect your dream:

  1. Give the dream time to grow before exposing it to the elements. Keep it to yourself for a while. Give yourself time to think about it and let it develop.
  2. Assess the terrain. Before sharing specifics ask your friend’s opinion about the subject in general. So if you were thinking of leaving your job to go travelling for a year, ask your friend what they think about long-term travel. If they have an aversion to it, that’s a pretty good sign they’re not the people to share your dream with. Remember at this point your main aim is to let your idea grow, not to convince anyone of its merits.
  3. If you want to share it with someone close to you, make a request beforehand. Ask them to help you brainstorm ideas on how to make it happen. If the conversation starts on this note it’s much more likely they’ll continue to support the idea.
  4. Give it a boost. Find someone else who has made a similar dream happen. Talk to them about it, get their ideas and suggestions. Find out what they wish they knew before starting.


I hope these tactics help you protect your dream and let it grow. Keep in mind that this is YOUR dream. It doesn’t need to please anyone else but you (unless you’re trying to get someone to do it with you of course).

I’d love to hear your experience with this. Have you been supported in the past? Or has someone tried to discourage you? How did you deal with it? Pop your answers in the comments box below – you might be helping someone in a similar situation to you.

With love



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  4 Responses to “Are your dreams safe from your friends?”

  1. Moreover, we can also kill our own dreams. I am my own worst enemy…i come up with exciting ideas but then proceed to overanalyse them and shoot them down. I end up listening to the little voice saying ‘how are you going to achieve this? There are so many experts out there, you don’t have half their knowledge; what if you make a fool of yourself? Is it worth the investment?’

    I definitely agree that you need to select the friends to share your ideas with. I am very happy to have you Karen as a close friend who always shows enthusiasm and excitement!!

    How can I download your ebook? I tried to download it but was told I am already a subscriber.


    • You’re so right. Our thinking is the main culprit in keeping us stuck.

      When we’re trying to come up with ideas we often combine two separate stages together (Idea Generation and Idea Evaluation) and that’s when the problems happen. And then once we get an idea we expect to have all the answers for it. No wonder we often get paralysed and end up discarding the idea all together.

      I’ll email you the book Gaby – I think it’s a great one for managing that little voice in our head.

  2. Wow, this has really been thought provoking! I think this has been “my life” for a long time….. When I was young I wanted to be a dancer – but I had never done it and wasn’t trained either…. I told the careers advisor at school and was told “too many girls have silly dreams and you won’t make it, you’re not the first, you’re not dedicated and you’re trained”….. So I didn’t bother even trying as I believed he was right! However – yes – all of what he said was right EXCEPT…..40 years on and I still regret not getting the proper advise and trying! I went to them to find out what I could do – not what I already knew! After that I believed him – but the dream never went away!! The what if is worse than him telling me what I could do and not what I couldn’t! He set me up to fail and I’ve used this excuse my whole life……. And I regret it – and for going to someone who didn’t say to me “I don’t know either – lets find out”…… Amazing I remember it so well as I was 14 and who knows what might have been if I hadn’t listened to his advise as someone I believed had the right answers! Just thought I’d share…….that moment shaped my whole thinking – I just never realised until now? He sent me onto office work and pointed out I was organised and clear speaking for reception – jobs I always did (with no passion) and hated every single one of them!

    • Hi Lisa

      Thank you so much for sharing your story. How sad that someone in a position to have a huge influence on young adults could be so unwise. And it raises a great point – it’s not just friends or people we care about who could hold us back, but also people who are there to guide us.

      I wonder if you could re-connect with that dream. What could you do to start dancing again?

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