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Protect Your Dreams from Those Who Would Crush Them

I was approached by a group of undergraduate students this week. They told me that they had decided to start a consulting firm to help small businesses implement social media into their marketing plans. I told them that I thought that that was wonderful. They looked at each other with a look that revealed that there was more to the story.

These students were working together on a project for a marketing class, and they decided to write the business plan for their new business as part of this class. When they shared this idea with their professor, he told them that he is investing in another firm made up of past students, one a recent MBA, who are doing precisely the same thing. He discouraged them from starting a competing business.

Then he did the unthinkable. He asked them what made them think that they were qualified to start a social media consulting practice.

They asked me what I thought. I won’t write the words I used here. But I reminded them that they never need wait for anyone’s permission to follow their dreams, and that I personally expect them to chase their dream with all of their might, come what may. That is what their lives are for.

Your Qualifications

I know people that make their living in social media. Many of them have no marketing degree. Some of them have no college degree. All of them have the qualifications to be social media consultants. Here’s what makes them qualified:

First, they are immensely knowledgeable about the subject. They read, write, think, and speak about social media. They know their subject inside and out. You are immensely knowledgeable about your dream, too.

Second, they are passionate about it. They are all practitioners. They live it, and they walk their talk. They produce results, and they know how to help others do the same. You are passionate about your dream, too, even though you might think it’s silly to pursue it.

Which brings us to the third qualification: value creation. All of the people that I know in social media (and I know lots) create value for their clients. They help their clients produce better results and move their business forward. There is something that you can do that others will value, and they are waiting for you to shine.

But my friends in social media have one more thing in common. They didn’t wait for anyone to give them permission. They made a decision and they started. That’s it. They took action, and taking action is what it takes.

You are qualified already.

On Gene Simmons and Your Dreams

When I was a kid I saw the band Kiss twice. At the end of both of the concerts, Gene Simmons ended the show and left the stage with this statement: “Don’t take shit from anybody.” It sounds like something a rock star might say, doesn’t it? I thought it was cool at the time, and that was decades ago for both the God of Thunder and me.

As it turns out, it’s good advice.

It’s wrong to stomp on someone else’s dream. But it’s even worse to allow someone else to stomp out whatever passionate flame burns in your heart. You have to believe and you have to fight for your dream. No one has the right to tell you that you can’t pursue your dreams, and you have no right to give up on your dream because others don’t believe or support it.

You aren’t here to live half a life.

If you are going to bring you’re A-game, if you are going to bring your rock star performance, you are qualified for whatever it is you aspire to.

You never have to wait for a permission slip. You give yourself permission.

Now go and take action, and don’t take shit from anybody.


What makes you qualified for whatever it is that you want to do?

Who gives you permission to live your dream, as crazy as it might seem to others?

What’s your dream?

Who has tried to tell you not to live yours?

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  • Stan Faryna

    My two cents.
    1. What makes you qualified for whatever it is that you want to do?
    Doing it, doing it right, doing it wrong and getting better at it. Doing – not talking or fantasizing about doing it. 
    2. Who gives you permission to live your dream, as crazy as it might seem to others?
    Long ago, I often confused collaboration with permission. Yes, you need collaborators and co-conspirators. But permission must come from you – and, sometimes, from your dependents (immediate family). Maybe, they won’t go with you where you want to go and that is something to consider. As far as collaborators are concerned, you’ll find them sooner or later – if you got something awesome going.
    3. What’s your dream?
    Million dollar book deals, multi-million dollar movie deals, and multi-billion dollar companies. [Just smile warmly and gladly nod in approval. Can you do that for me?]
    That may or my not fuel or enact my dream: To walk and talk with God. To shine like a sign in the darkness, to be the salt of the earth, and to nakedly follow the naked Christ.
    4. Who has tried to tell you not to live yours?
    No one wants you to shatter their understanding of themselves and their world – an understanding that comforts them in their pain, sorrows, fears, and disappointments. Often, it is a misunderstanding upon which their own self worth and self-affirmation seems to desperately depend.
    There is also envy – one kind of envy is satisfied to see others fail before they have even succeeded. Another kind envy is satisfied to see others fail after they have succeeded. Because if they can never have it, it feels good that no one else has it.
    Recently on my blog: Job number one is making @bdorman264 look good.

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  • jared kimball

    Good post Anthony.

    It’s easy to let people’s opinions stop you from pursuing your dreams.

    That’s why I try to create a circle of like minded people that I can come to with my dreams and know that they will encourage me to succeed. Especially when I’m at my lowest points.

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  • Marc Scott

    Very encouraging post. Following your passion in spite of those that try to tear us down is one of the best things we can do for ourselves.

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  • afdafasdf

    This was very positive. Thank you for posting!

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