When Someone Says, “You Can’t Do That.”
Six years ago, I was talking with a friend, telling her about my dream of building an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) to live in so I could rent out the main house. With the rental income, I’d have enough money to fulfill my dream of buying a house in France. My friend immediately scoffed, “You can’t do that. Only the uber-rich can own and maintain two homes, especially in another country.” I’m so glad I did not listen to that friend, who is no longer a friend.
While I’m better off than many, I’m a long way from uber wealthy. Nevertheless, because I had recently downsized to a smaller home, I was able to use the profits to build my ADU. I rented the main house to a terrific couple who have become good friends and who have lovingly maintained the property. After the pandemic, when I was ready to travel again, they were the ones to suggest I Airbnb my place while I travel. They have done a magnificent job of managing the Airbnb, which has allowed me to pursue my dream of traveling and buying a house in France. And in France, I am blessed to have friends, neighbors, a handyman and a contractor all watching over my French home while I am in the states.
My point being, don’t listen to the “doubters.” Don’t let anyone tell you what you can and cannot do. Only you know what you are capable of and how strong your desire is to do it. Believe in your dreams!
Be careful who you share your dreams with
Throughout my life, I recall various times folks told me, “You can’t do that” in one form or another. “You’ll never sell that book.” “No one will ever want to read that.” “You can’t make a living as a writer.” While my four-decade career in communications proved them wrong, sadly, there were too many times when I took those harsh words to heart and let them shake my confidence and squash my dreams. It’s one of my biggest regrets.
Our dreams and aspirations are like fragile flowers not yet fully formed. And if we share them too soon with the wrong person, they may get crushed before they ever have a chance to bloom. So be careful who you share your dreams with. Sometimes it’s better to keep your aspirations closer to your chest and share them only with friends who can relate to your quest.
Believe in divine timing
Your dream may take years to manifest and people who never had the tenacity to pursue a dream often think they happen overnight. How often have I heard someone say, “You’ve been talking about that forever.” The subtext meaning, “It’s never going to happen. Give up already.” This can be disheartening, especially when you’ve been working towards a goal for years. It is so important to keep the faith and trust in divine timing.
I don’t think anyone says these things to be intentionally cruel. They may not want to see you struggle. They want to protect you and save you the pain of disappointment. Perhaps they gave up on their dreams and are reacting on a subconscious level to limit your aspirations. When someone tries to stifle your dreams, ask yourself where their words are coming from. And send them love. Remember, no one knows what’s best for you, but you.
We want our friends to believe in us, to believe in our dreams and to be supportive. I am blessed to have several supportive friends and I treasure them. But our aspirations are our own and we can’t always expect others to relate. When a co-worker looks at me in disbelief when I say I want to live in France, I understand. It’s not their dream. It’s mine. And I would never try to change their desires. Our dreams are unique and personal.
Know when it's time to let go of a dream
I’ve had dreams and aspirations that never came to fruition no matter how hard I worked at them. My life took a different path. My mantra is: “If it is meant to be, it will happen with ease.” You still have to put in the effort, but synchronicity and serendipity will step in. You’ll meet the right people to help you at the right time. There are always obstacles to push through, but overall the pieces will fall into place. However, if too many roadblocks are in your way, it may be time to take another path.
The world we live in today was built on the dreamers of the past. Trust that your dreams are important and a vital part of the evolution of our planet. Believe in them, protect them and share them only when the time is right.
Let’s support each other’s dreams and aspirations — no matter how crazy they may seem at first. If someone is expressing their dream to you and there is passion behind their ideas and a sincere desire to create something positive, then you know that person is on the right track.
Let me know what struggles and successes you've encountered on your road to fulfilling your dreams.