Last week, a Seth Godin blog post came across my desk that exposed the idea that it’s often hard to tell our friends about our dreams, goals, or ambitions.
We’re afraid to tell our friends because we assume they’ll respond with jealousy, fear (fear on our behalf–that we’ll fail or fear of the change it may bring to our relationship), or that they simply won’t understand. I’ve seen this happen dozens of times– both personally and in my students’ lives.
Most of the students I work with and know personally at Belmont have very ambitious dreams. Whether they dream of artist stardom or owning their own record label, their life vision and goals are massive– yet most of them keep their heads down, work hard, and avoid sharing their hopes and dreams with most of their peers.
Why? Because they’re afraid their friends will respond in jealousy, competition, or internally judge and criticize them.
Seth Godin’s conclusion? You need better friends.
Donald Miller once penned,
“Your friends will determine the course of your life.”
Again, I see this many times with my own students. We graduate almost 500 students a year who want to work in the entertainment industry. There are certainly not 500 entry-level jobs in the entertainment industry. Yet, 99% of the time, if I know one student who has a job, their entire friend group (who have the same career ambitions) also have jobs. And it’s true on the other side. We often hear from discouraged and bitter alumni who have been out of college for a few years, still struggling to secure a job in the industry. Their usual comment, “None of my friends from Belmont have jobs.”
Sounds like Donald Miller is more right than we would imagine.
Some of us need to take a hard look around at the friends we’ve accumulated.
Are they folks you can share your dreams with and know they will respond with positivity, encouragement, and be your champion?
Are they people who you want to look like? Do they live with the same moral compass and character that you want to? Are they on a path towards success in the way that you would like to define your life as successful? Do they have ambitions, goals, and dreams that equal yours? Certainly they don’t have to be in the same industry or even personal areas, but do they want to accomplish something at a similar level as you do?
Or do you need new friends?
Some of us need to become a better friend.
Christine Cain recently tweeted,
“To build a strong team you must see someone else’s strength as a complement to your weakness, not a threat to your position or authority.”
I would stretch that to be a good friend, you must see someone else’s strength, goals, hopes, dreams as a complement to your life, not a threat to your abilities, dreams, or goals.
Her success doesn’t mean your failure. Your failure doesn’t mean her success.
I have seen this modeled so beautifully in several musician friend groups in Nashville. As one musician gets a record deal in town, the others celebrate! It is not seen as a threat to the other’s dreams. It’s not one less deal in Nashville. It’s a major accomplishment for their friend and a complement to the entire friend group! It’s another friend who’s gained a piece of their dream and they have a small army of cheerleaders and supporters.
Be that friend.
Be your friends’ biggest cheerleader because you know their success doesn’t threaten your own, but rather adds to it!
And if you don’t have friends who would do the same for you, it’s time to find some new friends. “Your friends will determine the course of your life.” Choose ones who will be your greatest champions and ones who you are also thrilled to lead their fan club.