Your dreams are unique to you. Your identity, talents, and the knowledge you’ve gathered from your past experiences have created the vision you hold for yourself. It can take decades for people to discover their vision. Many don’t discover theirs at all.
The biggest mistake people make is sharing their dreams with others too soon.
Oftentimes we get excited; we become fueled with passion and motivation that we’ve discovered our purpose. It makes sense to want to shout it out from the rooftops. I’d argue that what we’re truly seeking in these moments is validation. We want the approval and encouragement to actually follow through.
We feel like we need permission to get started.
Naturally, the problem arises when others start critiquing your dreams. Perhaps they think your dreams are outlandish, or even worse, they start telling you what they think you should do to make them happen.
Your vision is your vision. Why would anyone understand it better than you do?
Don’t get me wrong, constructive criticism is a good thing. But when your dream is in its infancy, it’s easy to be influenced or discouraged by the good opinion of other people.
Most women keep their pregnancy a secret during their first trimester because miscarriage rates are high during this stage. You should treat your dreams in the same way.
Yes, you should treat your dreams as a pregnant woman afraid to jinx her baby by spreading the word too soon.
You’ve been impregnated by a dream so much greater than you. You’re going to be full of self-doubt during the early stages. The people around you will be even more doubtful.
Remember, 98% of people die without fulfilling their dreams. They will project their self-imposed limitations on you.
Four tangible actions you must take before sharing your dreams.
I like to devote my leisure time to studying the habits and mindsets of successful dream achievers. Below is the basic blueprint they followed during those early stages of development. Note that telling others is not one of them.
(1) Figure out your why.
Why does it drive you, motivate you, or compel you?
If you initially have a hard time figuring out your why, know that it’s okay. Dreams mostly come from the subconscious mind, which is why this exercise is necessary. We need to materialize them into cohesive thoughts.
If it keeps you up at night or it’s been nagging at you for a couple of months now, it’s probably worth pursuing.
Dig deep and figure out why it motivates you. The more reasons you have, the harder it will be to convince you otherwise.
Your why will always be more important than your how. Engrave this into your head because your how won’t matter this early in the process. If at all.
“If your why is strong enough, you’ll figure out how.” — Bill Walsh
If you can’t come up with a good why, then you might as well let go of that dream and find a better one. A great place to start is to ask yourself: “What would you do in this world if money was not an issue?”
(2) Paint a clear vision in your head of what that dream looks like.
Don’t focus on logistics. Be confident that it’s what you want, and visualize what it would look like for you to have your dream realized.
Visualization is a fantastic tool for building internal motivation to take action towards achieving your dreams.
Keep that image playing in the back of your mind as much as possible. Write it down on a card and read it every day. This is akin to having a vision board. Become obsessed with it. Spend your leisure time imagining the fine details.
(3) Take small, tangible actions.
Write down a list of things you can do at this moment, right now (or by the end of the day).
For example, if you want to be a writer you can brainstorm topics that you’d like to write about on a piece of paper. If you want to build your own Youtube channel, set up your Youtube account, and follow similar channels. Joining an online community of like-minded individuals with similar goals is another great way to get started.
Smaller actions will be more beneficial to you than larger ones because you’ll be more likely to carry them out repeatedly.
(4) Make a simple game plan and stick with it.
Simplicity is key.
Commit to working on your dream at least 7 hours a week.
That’s an hour a day. Or two 3–4 hour sessions on the weekend. If it’s really a dream, this should be no problem. Do this for a few weeks, then increase the time. This is where obsession can become the fuel that creates a snowball effect of activity.
Getting started is always the most difficult part. Many people feel more inspired by the simple act of starting on their goal. Use it to your advantage.
“Little by little, a little becomes a lot.” — Tanzanian Proverb
Note that a detailed plan is not necessary because it will change over time. You’ll figure out what works for you and what doesn’t. You’re going to get better insights and strategies over time. The important thing is that you stick to your time commitment.
When the time comes to share your dreams, keep them as vague as possible. If you’re not ready (meaning you have the slightest doubt), just change the subject. The more you work on your dream, the more you’ll feel confident.
I made the mistake of telling people I wanted a successful writing career before I had taken any action. I was two years into my chemistry Ph.D. program, no one took me seriously.
So I put that dream on the back burner for another two years.
Now when people ask me why I left my research career, I tell them I’m going to write. When they ask me what I’m going to write about, I tell them whatever pops into my head. But what about the money!? I’ll figure that out as time goes on.
Be patient. Don’t sabotage your dream before you’ve actively pursued it.
Decide what you want as soon as you can. Become unshakeable about your dream. Know that there will be a whole lot of naysayers, but get to the point where nothing anyone can say will stop you. If this is what your heart desires, then it’ll take a whole lot of discouragement.
So do yourself a favor and keep your mouth shut.