Posted on 23. Mar, 2011 by in Blog

Do you remember the first time you announced you were going to start a business?  Who did you tell and what was the reaction?  Hopefully, your entrepreneurial spirit was embraced.  If not, don’t be discouraged.    I can easily recall the day I excitedly told the people closest to me about starting a business.  There was no excitement and no support.  Unfortunately, family members are often the worst offenders when it comes to stealing your dreams.  I call these dream stealers.  They’re the people that encourage you to play it safe, to get a job. In their view, a job is security.  They want what is ‘best’ for you.  I honestly believe this was what they believed and their beliefs were expressed out of concern.  Still, there was no support.  Sound familiar? Do you have family or friends who have tried to hold you back from pursuing your goals and dreams?  What do you do? Be determined to succeed no matter what the challenge or obstacle.  I have several success strategies on handling dream stealers to be unstoppable.  This is one of them.  I only share my dreams with the people who will be excited about what I want to accomplish with my life. This is important because you do not want to run the risk of dream stealers stealing your energy.  You may find, like I did, family members do not understand and support and encourage your dreams.  Find others who will. Surround yourself with like-minded people.  How do you handle the dream stealers?

Tags: , , ,


  1. Roy A. Ackerman, PhD, EA 23 March 2011 at 12:41 pm #

    Your family may be a dreamstealer- but, at least at first, it’s more likely you did not do your homework. You need to explain to your loved ones (at least the ones you live with or plan to live with) why you are doing what you are doing and what the commitment will be on your end, as well as what you would like to have from them. Once that has been done and everyone has signed on (or left :-) ), then you can term them dreamstealers.

    I’ll provide a concrete example: I was an academic. It so happens, I was an entrepreneur as well (we did not call them that then- or term 8 year olds as such, either). My (now ex-)wife only saw me as an academic and had “dreamt” up her life as a university spouse. She wanted nothing of the entrepreneurial life. I did not explain same- and just kep on doing as I did. Her attitude elevated her tot he stature of my worst competitor. But, it was not totally her fault.
    (I did much better on the subsequent matters…)

    • Julie Henderson 23 March 2011 at 7:40 pm #

      Communicating goals with the people that may be affected is definitely important. Congratulations to you for taking responsibility! Thanks for your comment, Roy.

  2. Lisbeth Tanz 23 March 2011 at 2:03 pm #

    Julie – It’s so sad to see someone enthused and excited about their new endeavor only to be shot down by those closest to them. It’s so hard to move forward when you feel unsupported, but in order to succeed, you have to put on your suit of steel and push forward no matter what. And, develop your own support system, as you suggest, of people who WILL be supportive and helpful. Sometimes, those who love us most just want us to be safe and secure. Or, maybe someone shot down their dream, so they’re just passing that on to you. Whatever their reason, love them, but keep your eyes on YOUR prize. Love this post because it tackles a tough truth with generosity and great advice. :)

    • Julie Henderson 23 March 2011 at 7:51 pm #

      I agree Lis! It’s amazing how that works, when you stop seeking approval or looking for permission, you can channel all that energy to fuel bigger dreams and goals. I am so thankful for my dream stealers, because I wouldn’t be who I am or where I am, if it were not for them. I truly love my dream stealers! Thanks for taking the time to comment. I appreciate you.

  3. Steve Nicholas 23 March 2011 at 3:32 pm #

    Great post, Julie! I got that myself when I first started, and I got it again when I tried a second one. However, I’ve learned that there are times where it’s best just to wait until you start to make some progress before I tell my family about something, or if there is something where there is a possibility to get the seed money (my college is having a contest for seed money, but that’s another story), then that seems to be better received, but it’s kind of weird how people think that they are offering the best, but even though you love them and will do everything for them, sometimes you see what they’re doing and what isn’t working, and you know that you have to go another way.

    • Julie Henderson 23 March 2011 at 7:54 pm #

      Absolutely Steve! Very good strategy! Good point, too, if you are not supporting it financially, why worry? We can’t save the world! Thank you very much for your comment.

  4. Michelle 23 March 2011 at 3:46 pm #

    This made me think back to when I was in 5th grade. Up until then I was convinced I was going to be an astronaut (yes, I hear you giggling as you read this…) but my 5th grade teacher told me I could never do it because I wore glasses. I cried and it didn’t occur to me at that age that maybe he was wrong. Today we’ve got Lasik. An inability to imagine the future being different than the present crushes a lot of dreams.

    That experience as a kid made me even more determined as an adult to ignore those who try to discourage me in my business. I can point back to that experience and remind myself that he was wrong, things change, and I won’t let myself give up on another dream.

    I love your advice in this post to choose carefully who you share your dreams with.

    • Julie Henderson 23 March 2011 at 8:19 pm #

      Okay…so I only giggled because of your prompt! What an amazing dream! (I remember deciding I wanted to be a mom when I was in 5th grade) Interesting…guess your 5th grade teacher was not a possibility thinker …why didn’t he think of Lasik!!! You were much wiser at that age than I was, Michelle. A favorite quote of mine, “A setback is a setup for a greater comeback.” That experience set you up to become more determined than ever. Good on you, Michelle! Thank you for your comment.

  5. Rhonda Neely 23 March 2011 at 5:28 pm #

    Great article Julie and such a valuable suggestion that you offer. Some people simply don’t want others to be successful and don’t have a belief system that it can be done. It is so heart wrenching when this happens to someone that is excited about their dreams and destination. I’m very fortunate that my family is supportive as that means more than one can imagine.

    • Julie Henderson 23 March 2011 at 8:26 pm #

      I wonder, Rhonda, if they don’t want others to succeed, or if they are scared, because if they do, it may change the relationship. I also believe some people are very traditional thinkers and don’t think about what is possible, only what they know…whether it is working for them or not. Disappointments and discouragements are part of life, and it only matters how we respond. I focus on the people who are supportive and love the others. It’s all good! I appreciate you taking the time to comment, Rhonda.

  6. Maureen Wielansky 23 March 2011 at 5:41 pm #

    Oh Julie:

    I remember when I started my business a year ago and my husband asked me who would pay for that?

    I told him he was being negative and that I refused to be a part of his doubting Thomas ways.

    Now he is my biggest cheerleader! I also have others who ask me why would I do this now?

    When I realized that what I am doing was for a bigger reason than me the naysayers comments meant very little.

    Thanks for a great post!

    • Julie Henderson 23 March 2011 at 8:33 pm #

      Nice to meet you Maureen! Sounds like your husband responded well to your new business. I’m sure you appreciate his support. You remind me of exactly what I told my coach today, “At the end of my life, I am going to stand in judgment.” …and it won’t be in front of the naysayers!! Thanks for your comment, Maureen.

  7. Diana 24 March 2011 at 2:48 am #

    Hi Julie,

    This post is for me!! Sometimes I feel bad not sharing what I am doing with the people closest to me precisely because I know what I will hear. I know they have good intentions but it does bring you down and I don’t want to feel that way.

    So thanks for sharing your experience!

    • Julie Henderson 24 March 2011 at 6:53 am #

      I’m glad you found it helpful, Diana. It sounds like you found a way to handle potential dream stealers, by not sharing your goals or dreams. If you have had a negative response in the past, you have learned to protect yourself. I like to say, “Why would you want to stick your hand in a blender?!” Keep focused on what you want to achieve and surround yourself with positive people who can support you on your journey.

  8. laura Clark 27 March 2011 at 3:25 pm #

    Julie!! My Dream Stealers tend to also be my biggest supporters—funny this! They are family members who want what is best for me but don’t want me to take on some of the risks associated with ‘dreaming’. I do two things 1) I tell them–in my own mind —“thanks for bringing out the evil twin in me! I have doubts enough—I will not let you ZAP MY ENERGY!!!”
    2) I ask them if they really ‘believe’ their critiscm of my dream and why they see it that way…it usually shows them that I’m receptive to constructive critique and that their ideas will help overcome some hurdles in my dreaming OR that their Energy Zapping is simply that and their own problem–not mine!!!!!!!

    • Julie Henderson 28 March 2011 at 4:44 pm #

      What a great strategy, Laura! It sounds like you’ve turned a negative into a positive. Who knows? You may inspire them to go after their dreams!

Leave a Reply