“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great. When you are seeking to bring big plans to fruition, it is important with whom you regularly associate. Hang out with friends who are like-minded and who are also designing purpose-filled lives. Similarly, be that kind of a friend for your friends.” - Mark Twain.
I love this quote! I stumbled across it a little while ago when I was looking for inspirational quotes, and it absolutely hit the nail on the head.
Can you remember the last time you were telling a friend or family member or even your partner about a dream, a goal you really wanted to achieve? It was probably something you were quite passionate about and talking about it with someone close to you. It got you in high spirits because you could already SEE IT. You could picture yourself opening the door to your new restaurant, salon, clothing store, etc.
The person you are talking to responds to what you’ve said, and your energy changes. You are not so excited any more… the vision you had of opening the door to your brand new establishment seems to fade and disappear. Your spirit now feels low, and that disappointed feeling seeps in and your self esteem drops. If this sounds familiar, know you are not alone. We all have encounters with Dream Killers.
Dream Killers aren’t necessarily bad people; neither are they haters. A Dream Killer could be that good friend/sister/brother/parent who has never really taken a risk on anything because they are terrified of failure. So naturally when you share your thoughts of starting your own business that would obviously involve taking a risk, they are quick to dissuade you with care. They might say things like ‘that will never work in Nigeria‘, ‘I don’t think you can do it‘, etc.
I personally feel it’s important to seek advice from the right kind of people. I’ve been in the Nigerian entertainment industry for just 3 years, and for the first 18 months the rate at which my dreams were being shut-down was stupendous. I’d have an amazing idea, talk to a few people about this amazing idea and before the end of the day, I’d be so depressed because my idea had been stomped on and mortally crushed. It wasn’t like the people I would talk to didn’t want me to do well, far from it…they just couldn’t see my vision.
After a few more months of dream crushing, I decided that I had had enough. I thought about what I wanted to achieve career-wise, and researched people in and out of the industry that I admired. I had role models in and out of Nigeria that I studied and when I got a chance to meet one or two in Nigeria, I must have tired them with my never-ending questions, but hey when it comes to chasing my dreams I’m like a rottweiler!
In my life I have encountered 2 types of Dream Killers – the accidental Dream Killers who care about you, but will unknowingly discourage you from chasing your dreams, and the deliberate Dream Killers who are basically unhappy in their own (most likely) unsuccessful lives, and really don’t want to see you progress.
I’ve learnt that on the journey to achieving your dreams (and greatness) you need to possess the following tools (excuse the pun):
1) Prayer – Pray, pray and don’t stop praying.
2) Self belief – This is not to be confused with cockiness; just that belief that you deserve to be happy. The belief that you are worthy of success, and that you deserve to accomplish great things IF you put in the work.
3) Have some amazing passengers – Surround yourself with the right kind of people. The kind of people that believe in you and will be honest with you. They will constantly push you to aim for your best. Do not confuse these people with ‘yes-men’ – in fact BEWARE of people that think every single thing you do is amazing. (I may have to write about the dangers of yes-men later)
4) Be prepared to work hard – Nothing in this world worth having comes easy. Don’t expect to achieve anything worthwhile if you are afraid of hard work. My father taught me that. I have never thought I deserved anything just because… If I wanted a new anything I had to work for it; do overtime to earn the extra money or just wait till I could afford it.
5) Be tenacious – You will fail at certain things; accept that. However, knowing how to pick yourself up, figure out where you went wrong, re-group and try again is an amazing skill to possess. Think of the Richard Bransons and Oprahs, how many times do you think they failed before getting it right? As the late Aaliyah famously sang: If at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again.
6) Be able to reflect – Take time out to think about and celebrate what you have achieved in your life, and likewise think about where you may have gone wrong or what you could have done better, and make adjustments where necessary.
7) Be happy for the success of others – Honestly this one isn’t always easy. You can choose to be envious of other people’s success or you can learn from their success. You can let their journey inspire you to be more disciplined in your own.
There are probably loads of other steps I could add to this list, but these are the ones that I’m currently doing my best to incorporate into my journey. Please feel free to add any useful ones below, because we’re all here to learn.