I just read an article at LinkedIn, and then perused the comments, where a self-described "Entrepreneur/Professional Speaker/People Mover/Branding/Marketing/Transformation Expert" (he must have a very large business card) provided a short list of steps to achieving major career goals. While some of his ideas seemed sound, I found myself vehemently disagreeing with his #2 item:
"Tell no one your dreams and desires - they will only pull you back."
What? Are you kidding me? That is TERRIBLE advice. Not only does it represent a horribly cynical view of humanity, but it's a great way to shoot yourself in the foot before you even begin the race. (HINT: If you're really surrounded by the kind of people who will tear down your dreams, telling them about your dreams is NOT the problem.)
Here are three important reasons why you should share your dreams as often as possible:
- Like speaking the name of Voldemort (or is that Beetlejuice?), every time you verbalize your dreams, they become more real. That is, speaking it aloud - to another human being - causes the dream to begin to coalesce, to gain a more concrete form, to develop a life of its own and get traction. If you don't believe in your dream and in yourself enough to share it with others, you probably won't succeed. Also, speaking of the dream keeps it at the front of your thoughts, not simmering somewhere on a forgotten backburner. Thoughts lead to words, words lead to actions. Don't short circuit that process by staying silent about the things that matter to you most -- things that should occupy a rightful place in your daily conversations.
- Telling someone else (or lots of someone elses) about what you plan to do adds an important component of accountability to your dream. You may not actually say, "Now, I expect you to hold me to that!" - but when you tell people about what you are working toward, it is at least implied. When you come into contact again, you may hear, "How's that dream coming along?" or some other form of benevolent "checking up" on you - a follow up that is offered out of sincere interest, because people like to see their friends succeed - it's inspiring. And their interest can be a catalyst to keep you doing a little something every day toward your goals - a reminder of the track you should be on.
- The more people you tell, the more likely you are to find someone who can actually HELP. It's a subtle form of networking. You may be able to do it alone, but if you can get assistance, all the better. Sharing your dream with others is a great way to build support - whether it be practical support or just moral support.
So, if I may be so bold: don't listen to that blah-blah-blah-transformation expert dude. Dream your dream and shout it from the freaking rooftops. Talk about it to every single person you meet. Talk about it every day, ad nauseum. Sell your idea to those who can hop on board and add value to your plan, or simply point out ways you can improve on your strategy. Get others to believe in you and your dream and you'll go much farther than you can on your own steam alone.
But don't fall into the trap of being just a dreamer and a big talker. Remember, that critical process is think-speak-do. Figure out what you want. Discuss it openly with others regularly. And take action each day - even if it's just a little step - toward that goal...and your dreams can come true.