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Tips on dealing with those who are trying to destroy your dreams

Do you have people around you who make you believe that you will never achieve your goal of starting your own company? It may be your parents, your spouse, a workmate or ”well-meaning” friends who, in some mysterious way, make you feel bad every time you talk about your dream of starting a business.

If you look a little closer at those people, I’m willing to bet that you'll find people who have always played it safe. It's often the same people who feel the need to put on an orange vest when they leave the house to throw out the garbage in the dark, or put a helmet on when they ride their bicycle a few feet over to their garage – just to be on the safe side. They are afraid and I feel sorry for them. But it's really sad if their ideas about how life should be lived are allowed to destroy your dreams because those are your dreams, not theirs.

There are two types of dream thieves out there:

1. Distressed dream thieves – it's those who love you so much that they can't bear to see you fail in your business. They want you to have a comfortable and secure life (like they have). And they want you to actually do well, but they still don't understand that happiness for you is to try to achieve your goals, not always have full control over everything.

2, Jealous dream thieves. These are the same people who feel that any chance has already passed them by. They have given up their dreams of self-fulfillment, and can't stand to see others succeed with whatever they failed to do. They will do everything they can to get you to give up your dreams too. There is nothing worse for these people than to see you, insignificant you, walk past them and succeed.

Here's how to handle them:
• Don't talk about your dreams with the wrong people. The mistake that many people with awesome plans make, is to hope that others will be as enthusiastic as they themselves are about what they hope to do with their lives. This is very provocative to some people.
And here is the hard truth: You should be careful not to talk about your business dreams at family gatherings. If you don't believe me – go ahead and see for yourself how the ones that love you the most respond. They are afraid that you will fall and hurt yourself if you try. It's not out of malice that they try to tear your dreams to shreds - it's strangely enough of care. So learn to be quiet until you have succeeded and enjoy watching the surprise in their eyes instead.

• Only share that which you succeed in doing. Every time you succeed at something you will believe even more in yourself and that will give you more confidence. When you share the things you succeeded in, you take away people's power over you. If you share your failures it'll only provide energy to those who think you are destined to fail - they only get their fears confirmed.

• Sometimes you get support – at least that's what you think. It comes from people who want to give you tips and advice on how to reach your goals even though they themselves never reached their own. Maybe they're talking about all the great stuff they had going on. They had ideas and they've had chances (but strangely enough they are not ashamed that they didn't do anything about them). The best thing is to listen politely, nod and thank them for the interest - and then do whatever you originally wanted to do anyway.
So - the toughest part of starting a business may just be fighting other people's ideas of what they think you can do and this may surprise a lot of people. But the beauty of this is that you'll soon find out what people who are truly open and supportive.

About the author

Stefan Ekberg has worked in marketing for small business for 20 years and has written around 30 books on how small business owners can market themselves with limited resources. . In 2012 Stefan was nominated as Entrepreneur of the Year in Stockholm.

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"The 5 minute marketer" - the book
You run a small business and you want to get ahead of the competition, but how can you give resources to marketing when you're short on time and the budget is tight? The solution is here! The 5-Minute Marketer is packed with 395 tried-and-tested ways to market your business in 5 minutes or less.