Who are the dream stealers? 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: to get a nice safe job, to marry the first nice person you meet, to vacation in Texas instead of Africa. Does this sound a lot like your parents? That's not surprising because family members are often the worst offenders when it comes to Dream Stealing.

There are two different types of dream stealers:
1. Concerned Dream Stealers-These are the people who love you so much that they can't stand to see you fail. They want you to have a nice, safe, and secure life. They truly have your best wishes at heart but don't understand that for you to be happy you have to reach for your dreams.

2. Jealous Dream Stealers-These are the people that life has passed by. They gave up any opportunity to live their dreams and they can't stand to see you succeed where they failed.

How Dreams are Stolen Dream sabotage is often subtle, it comes in the form of "Are you sure you want to do that?" Someone close to me stole my dream of going to a writer's retreat. I asked this person if she could watch my kids while I went to a writer's retreat. She said, "Oh that would be a nice time away for you and John." I said, "No I'm going alone." She said, "Oh, you're leaving your husband and going away for a week. I've never spent time away from my husband." Without saying it she made me feel as if I was selfish for wanting to spend time working on my craft. I understood that I was being told that my writing -and therefore my creativity-wasn't as important as family commitments. Although she didn't tell me I couldn't go I began to have second thoughts and wouldn't you know it, I still haven't made it to the retreat. Some dream stealers aren't so subtle; they come right out and tell you that you have no talent and that you'll never make it. And of course, they're telling you this because they have your best interests at heart and don't want you to end up broken hearted. Beating the Thieves Although they'd deny it to their last dying breath, dream stealers really don't know what's best for you and the sooner that you acknowledge that, the quicker you'll be on the path to reaching your dreams.

The following tips will help you keep your dreams safe:

1. Keep your mouth shut-Most dreams get stolen because we share our dreams with the wrong people. We hope that they'll be as excited as we are about what we hope to accomplish with our lives, but too often we're disappointed and they steal our dreams. This rule is especially important at family gatherings.

2. Share your Successes but not your failures--Every time you succeed it makes you believe in your dream a little bit more and gives you that much more confidence. And when you share your successes with the dream stealers, it takes away their power. Don't share your failures because then the dream stealers take that as validation of their opinion that you'll never succeed.

3. Plan your defense--Sometimes dream stealers find out about our dreams through other people and they'll
confront us. Some typical openers are:
?"So, Johnny tells me that you're...."
?"Why didn't you tell me that you were going to...."?

Plan exactly how you're going to come back. You can either be honest and say "I didn't tell you because I didn't want to listen to you tell me that my plans will never work." Or weasel out of it and change the subject until you're ready to share your plans.

4. Remember it's Your Dream--Sometimes dream stealers come in the form of people who want to collaborate. These are the people that want to tell you how to reach your dreams, even though they've never reached their own dreams. The best strategy is to listen politely, nod, and thank them for their interest. Then go ahead and live your dreams on your own terms.
Try This
Make a list of the dream stealers in your life. Be honest and include your mother, your father, and any other family member that steals your dreams. Once you've come up with the list, write down how each of them steals your dreams and come up with a response. For instance, when I got the guilt trip about not staying home with my husband and kids, I should have explained that this was important to me and whether she watched the kids or not I would be going. But then again, hindsight is always 20/20.

Author's Bio: 

Lori Enos is the author of The Portable Coach: A Do-it Yourself Approach to Personal
Coaching. She is available for personal coaching and offers online classes. For more
information visit http://cyberlifeonline.hypermart.net/coach
or email her at arias66@yahoo.com