You have friends in similar boats all around you. Maybe you’re moored at the yacht club, maybe you’ve dropped anchor in a pirate bay, but whatever port you choose reflects on you.
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn
Chances are, they’re similar to you in politics, religious beliefs, socioeconomic class, risk-taking behavior, etc. You even have one or a few people you view as anchors – that friend who ‘keeps you grounded.’
Now, anchors are great – sometimes we all need a dose of reality. But that ‘reality check’ should be fuel instead of dead weight. Want to launch a new business? Your anchor should ask you questions that move you forward, not discourage you. Your anchor should want to be drawn and stowed safely on deck, ready to provide help on your journey out to the open ocean.
The problem with most of our designated ‘anchors,’ though, is that when we decide to take a risk they dig themselves into the sand. They refuse to move. They won’t leave the safety of the bay. This kind of anchor negates the point of even having a boat. Having a friend, partner, or parent who constantly shoots down your ideas because they want you to be “realistic” or “safe from disappointment” is about the same as buying a new car, driving it home, and putting a boot on it in your driveway. The boot renders the car useless. The anchor stuck in the sand renders the boat useless.
Your dreams are useless noise if you don’t act on them.
Today, ask yourself the following questions. Get out your journal and let the answers out on the page. Remember, free-form journaling will take you places you may not predict. Let it flow. Do your best to remove your own value judgments (“this is good,” “this is bad,” etc) and just write down facts of what happens and the facts about how these events make you feel.
So, who are the people you view as “anchors” in your life? Who are your closest friends? Who do you bounce ideas off of? Write out a list of these people, leaving space between each.
Now, how does each person respond when you bring up ideas, whether ‘realistic’ or far-fetched? Do they offer blind support, helpful feedback, fear-based critique, or negative judgment?
For each set of reactions, how do you feel when you receive these?
Think specifically about each person on your list. For each individual, do you notice any pattern to their reactions to your dreams?
How do you think these patterns are related to them, rather than to you? How does their pattern of response show a direct link to how they’ve lived their life, or to their past experiences?
Are their reactions to your dreams about you, or about them?
Now, turn the page. It’s time to build your team!
Think about who you need in your life. When you have an idea, what feedback do you want? What feeds your idea? What provides positive stress to your idea, forcing it to grow and solidify? What kind of person or response gives you energy to work on your idea? Who provides you an example of where you want to be? Who gives you courage? Who tempers your ideas and reminds you to buy insurance? You need all of these people.
What kind of person could provide these things? Remember to split up your needs – you won’t often find the constructive criticism you need to build and fortify your ideas in the person you lean on for cheerleading. List out your needs, then determine if you have each of these people in your life. Write names down by traits.
Where are you coming up blank? List out the traits or specific people you’re missing, then look around to see if you’ve forgotten someone. After this step, it’s time to get out there and meet people.
The last step here is to address the common denominator in all of your problems: you.
Again, turn the page. List out the negative Nancies from the first page – how were you allowing others to hold you back? What judgments did you let in? What excuses did you latch on to so you could avoid the fear and work of following your dreams?
Take your time here. Use several pages and several days, if you need to. Get to the heart of your issues, because again: the problem here isn’t the people in your life.
The problem is you, and that is a gift.
Now that you have a good look at who you have chosen to be in the past, ask yourself two more questions:
Who do I choose to be tomorrow?
Who do I have to be today in order to be that person tomorrow?
You have an idea of the support you need, and you no longer have any excuse. Go build your support team.