You’ve now got a great set of goals for 2014 or you’ve defined a major life or business project. You’ve started doing the work and you’re feeling really pleased with your progress. Then out of the blue, your spouse or best friend starts criticizing your dream or your effort. You’re shocked. Shouldn’t they want the best for you?
Whatever the goal or dream, if it’s big enough, it’s likely to impact other people. Maybe you want to start your own business but this means earning less initially and this doesn’t please your spouse. Or maybe you want to write a book and get it published but your best friend finds this threatening and is not supportive. Or maybe, your business vision involves a big upheaval for your employees? Whatever your plans, if your dream is a big one, it is likely that it will involve other people or impact them. Here are some things you may want with to think about if this is the case.
Make a list of the people impacted by your dream
A vision or set of goals is often a personal thing. Something we develop on our own without really engaging others. Well at least not initially. So it’s easy to forget the need to engage the people around us, to ensure that they understand our plans and can be supportive of our efforts.
Before you really start to take action, make a list of the people that will be impacted by your dream, those whose help you may need and those whose support you would like. Really brainstorm this.
Start by the people who are impacted by asking yourself who would benefit / lose out if you had your new life? Some losses may not be obvious. For example, a friend with whom you’ve been commiserating on your lack of success at work, may feel threatened by your sudden desire for a change.
Then think about the people whose help you’d like. Maybe your best friend is an accountant and they could give you some advice for your new business?
Then think about the people whose support you would like for example your spouse, your immediate family and your circle of friends.
Decide how you will engage these people
Once you’ve got a list and you know whether you are impacting people or you’d like their help or support, give some thoughts to how you will engage these people in your project. If you need their help and support, you will need to explain to them what you’re doing and how you would like them to help. Unless they feel threatened by what you’re doing, most people will be happy to help you. Particularly, if they are close to you.
The issue comes when someone feels that you having your dream will impact them negatively in some way. Then you need to thread more carefully. If these people are important to you, it is a good idea to spend the time it takes to explain your project to them and explore how you can make them more comfortable about it. It wouldn’t be good to ignore the issue. You’ll need all the support you can get.
Why do people resist change?
You may be wondering why someone would criticize your dream. This can be for a variety of reasons but always boils down to some fear. Maybe your success will highlight that they aren’t doing as much with their life as they could or maybe you getting what you want means them losing out on something.
People always resist change because of fear. It could be a fear that your relationship with them will change, or that they will not live as comfortably as before or even that you will be less available to them. It could be anything but it will always be a fear. Uncover the fear and you can start doing something about it.
What can you do?
Don’t get angry or upset. Realise that this is normal. The first thing I would say is to uncover the fear then to work to reassure them that it’s unfounded or that you can do something about it. Also, remember: it’s your dream. You’re the one who wants this. You’re the one who is excited about this. Other people are unlikely to feel the same unless you show them ‘what’s in it for them’.
You may not convince them at first but if your dream is important, keep at it. Wining the support of the people closest to you is going to pay big dividends when you hit some challenges with your dream. Plus if these are long time partners, friends or colleagues, you do want them on board when your new business takes off.
Is everyone around you fully engaged and supportive of you 2014 goals?