TRANSCRIBED FROM ORIGINAL WRITING FOR EPISODE 12 OF THE CORPORATE DROPOUT PODCAST.
“A disgruntled dreamer is a risky mentor.” I came across this quote this morning, and I was struck by the simplicity of this truth.
How many times have we been wildly excited about an idea, NEEDING to share it, only to share it with someone who shoots it down?
When you have an idea for a business, be very careful who you share it with - especially in its infancy when ideas are fragile and easy to snuff out.
When I had the idea to write a book called the Corporate Dropout, the vision of which is to provide an energetic and tactical blueprint for people (especially women) to leave their jobs, I knew a podcast needed to accompany it. I was VERY careful who I told this idea to. I only shared it with those who are more successful than me, that have an entrepreneurial spirit, and that give constructive feedback to help me hone in on the target. Doing this, listening to my intuition, and staying in alignment gave me the greenlights that I needed to go all in on this.
And then? The book and podcast ideas led to yet another - the business foundations masterclass that I’m launching with a business partner this fall. Point being - sharing ideas with fellow dreamers, doers and entrepreneurs is a great way to accelerate your idea becoming reality and it will often give birth to MORE ideas.
But don’t ask for advice or validation from people who aren’t in that headspace. They might tell you your idea sucks not because it does, but because of their own pain from past failures and their own unrealized dreams. It may even be well intentioned, as they’re trying to protect you from experiencing that same disappointment. But nevertheless, it can derail you and keep you from your destiny.
This quote has come up on almost every episode we’ve recorded thus far and it bears repeating again here: “You will never be criticized by someone doing more than you. Only by someone doing less.”
Now, I don’t want to confuse constructive, helpful feedback with criticism either - taking feedback and pivoting when needed is absolutely crucial. But consider the source. Consider the intent. Guard your dreams and ideas. And if you do have a dream crushing conversation, look inward. Do you KNOW it’s a good idea that needs to be birthed? Is it coming from an intention of SERVICE? If so… find new advisors and keep going.
Some of the most iconic creators and business leaders of our time had naysayers on their big ideas. Here are two of my favorite examples:
Did you know that Walt Disney started out wanting to create comics for newspapers? One editor claimed he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” I’m sure glad he kept going. Years later, he wanted to create Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which was the first animated feature-length film of its kind. The film industry was SURE it would flop. Even his wife and brother, who co-founded Walt Disney Studios, tried to talk him out of it. Luckily, he knew he had a winner and persisted. He won an Oscar for Snow White and the movie brought in $8M when released, which would be about $154M today.
Another example is a woman I greatly admire. Sarah Blakely cut the feet off her pantyhose and created Spanx. She turned an initial investment of $5k into a billion dollar brand. I read in Inc. Magazine that when she approached lawyers about the concept of Spanx, they thought the idea was quote “so outrageous that they were convinced she had been sent by Candid Camera.” and quote.
In summary, be mindful of who you ask for advice. Take constructive feedback and use it to tweak or pivot when needed. And ask your target audience - what do they want? Before we get too married to an idea, find out what the market you’re serving actually needs and wants. And be ready to pivot to continually serve them better.
Bottom line: if you know you’ve got a million (or billion) dollar idea, keep going. The world needs you. Listen to your gut and find a way to continue. No good story is without obstacles, and you got this.