Recently I was speaking at Lee’s Summit West and Lee's Summit North high schools in Lee's Summit Missouri. When I finished my presentation at West, I was approached by one of their students. He shared with me he was focusing on a particular athletic goal. After someone close to him had heard of his goal, they expressed concern he was going after an unattainable goal and should aim for something else. After thinking about their comment, he stopped pursuing his goal. However, after listening to my presentation, he said, “Mr. Birden your presentation was just what I needed to hear. My dream was shattered by some "dream stealers" and now I realize that was a mistake. I am going to refocus and get back on track and go after the goal.”
This may be a scenario you might be able to relate to. You had a dream, a goal or something special you wanted to accomplish. Then someone close to you who you expected to support you, did just the opposite. We call these people dream stealers. According to Lori Enos’s blog, “Dream stealers are the people who make you believe that you'll never reach your dreams. They're the people that encourage you to play it safe.” Unfortunately, we are the ones who give the dream stealers this power to take our dreams away.
I recall making the decision at the University of Oregon to try out for the football team my second year at Oregon. At 5”10 153 lbs right away, I was flooded with the naysayers, “you’re too small, you will get hurt” “why do you want to do that, aren’t you happy with running on the track team?” “Pac-10 Division football is too big time for you!” Yes, I just about heard it all. Instead of allowing them to influence my decision, I used their negativity as fuel to motivate me to work even harder. My determination led to an unexpected nine-year career in the NFL.
Due to the frequency of hearing similar stories, I dedicated a chapter to this very subject in my best-selling book When Opportunity Knocks 8 Surefire Ways to Take Advantage. The chapter is called "Silence the Doubters" because that's basically what you must do.
"if you ever allow a dream stealer to take your dreams, shame on you!
The point is if you allow a dream stealer to take your dreams, shame on you! Such a decision is a clear indication you did not want it bad enough. If you can do just the opposite and keep moving forward despite the lack of support, you will experience one of the most satisfying pleasures of life. That is, accomplishing something that people say you could not!
Do you have any dream stealing stories to share? Feel free to do so in the comments below.
I guess it is shame on me. After you scored 6 TD in a night game at Tigard High, in which Coach Smythe had an opportunity my watch you play a whole game. He took away my Dream of having you for the whole season. However, I was glad you got the opportunity and I can say that I am very proud of the outstanding young man you have become. I have always said, "It is not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.
Coach McDaniel, great to hear from you. I often share the stories of that JV year when I was happy to be playing with you and not riding bench on varsity. I gained a great deal of confidence in my skills that season. Thank you for all your help Coach!