When it Comes to Goals, Don’t Tell Your BFF

Posted October 22, 2012 by Marcy Twete in On the Ladder

Recently, I had the pleasure of being in the audience for a speech given by Lior Zoref, an expert on crowdsourcing and a speaker at the 2012 TED Conference. You may not know a lot about TED (except that Career Girl Network posts quite a few TED videos), but it’s categorically the most difficult event in the world to A) get into and B) speak to. Becoming a TED speaker means you have hit the top of your game, the pinnacle of your research, and damn, you know what you’re talking about.

But it isn’t Lior’s TED Talk that struck me most in his speech. It was this short video.

If you watch this video, you’ll see that Lior tells his best friend (a man he told us he’d known for years and years) his dream, his greatest dream. And his friend essentially says, “No way, dude.”

When describing this video, Lior turned to the audience and said (I’m paraphrasing, but pretty close), “Never tell your dreams to your best friend. It’s too hard for them to picture you doing anything differently than you do it now.” The moment he said it, I felt my head nodding strongly, but then immediately questioned it as well. Really? You can’t tell your best friend your dreams? Wouldn’t your best friend be the best person to tell your dreams? But I quickly realized, he was right! Your best friend is awesome. She’s your biggest fan, really. But hey, girl, she likes you just the way you are. I mean that. Just the way you are. When you tell your best friend you want to dream big big big, they either won’t believe you or might not support you.

So if you can’t tell your best friend your dreams, who can you tell?

  • Your spouse. Your best friend might not want you to grow, but your spouse should want you to grow. Because your growth is their growth, and they’re tied to your success long-term. And trust me, if your spouse doesn’t support your dreams, they shouldn’t be your spouse anymore.
  • Your mentor. If you’re trying to move fields or get ahead in your own, find a mentor who has done what you want to do. Imagine if Lior had said to a former TED speaker that he wanted to be a TED speaker. That person would be more supportive than his best friend simply because they understand the process it takes to become a TED speaker. In your career, seek out someone who is or has been exactly where you want to be. Tell them your dream.
  • Your cat. Don’t laugh, I’m serious. Your dog works, too. And it’s not because they’ll talk back and be supportive. Sometimes, telling someone isn’t about getting support. Sometimes telling someone your dream is just about saying your dream out loud. So at the risk of sounding like a crazy person, tell your pet. Tell them how you’re doing, what you’re doing, and at least you’re getting it out.
  • Your coach. When it comes to dreaming, no one is better equipped to take on your dreams than a coach. Frankly, you’re paying them to support your dreams. But in reality, you’re paying them to help you clarify goals, set a timeline and tasks, and keep you accountable. Nothing could be more valuable.

Overall, nothing against your best friend, but she may not be your best bet when it comes to your BHAGS (big hairy audacious goals).

About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."