Who Supports Your Dreams?
How to Choose (and Be) a Better Friend
My boyfriend and I went to a used bookstore yesterday. He makes book lamps and has one on display there. We’re coming to know the owner, who happened to be outside as we pulled up to the shop. He saw us and waited for us and said that he had a new load of books out back that might be of interest, so we followed him to the back of the store.
The bed of his truck was filled with books from an old man who’d passed away and whose family was getting rid of all his things. There were stacks of boat-making books and engineering books and sailing books — tons of them. His family was going to throw them away.
Over the course of the evening, I kept thinking about that old man.
Did his family know anything about his passion of boat-building? Did no one in his family help him or share his passion or want to make boats themselves? Did no one want to keep those books simply because HE loved boat-making so much?
It made me think about my own dreams and passions and about how few people (friends and family) even know about them. I thought about my boyfriend, too, and how most people don’t know all that much about his interests, passions, and dreams either. Over dinner, I said, “If something happened to either of us, would any of our family or friends care about the things that were so important to us?”
I write — a lot — and have for years, but no one in my family (and few of my friends) have ever even asked to read my work. He tinkers and builds and makes things — every day — yet rarely does anyone ask about his latest invention or creation. We spend our days absorbed in making things and finding things, but only one or two people even know that about us, yet it’s our life. If you were to ask either of us, it’s who we are, it’s what we’re about, it’s how we choose to spend our days — we love it that much. Yet, no one knows.
I kept thinking about that old man. Was boat-making his life? Was boat-making what he loved? Did anyone know? Did anyone care?
Who supports your dream?
I read a book recently called The Front Row Factor by Jon Vroman, which, in his words, is about “getting close to what makes us come alive.” In the book, he describes an exercise he does each year where he chooses the people who he wants to be in the front row of his life.
He says, “I want people in my front row who make me come alive. I want those whose energy inspires me to be the best version of myself. Each year, I sit down in a coffee shop and ask myself, Who’s in my front row? I’m looking for eight names.”
He asks himself a series of questions to figure out his eight people:
- Who am I with when I laugh the most?
- Who am I with when I learn the most?
- Who am I with when I feel most alive?
- Who shows up in my darkest hours?
- Who do I call when I’m proud and want to celebrate?
- Who do I think of when I say ‘amazing friend’?
- Who asks me about my dreams and goals?
- Who brings out the best in me?
One question stood out to me: Who asks me about my dreams and goals?
There are people in my life who I could tell you their plans and projects, their children’s interests, their partners’ interests, but who know nothing of mine. They never ask.
Fortunately, there’s one thing I’ve learned through business and writing and creating things over the years: There’s a great, big world out there filled with people who will support you, who love what you’re doing, and who want to be a part of it. You just have to find them.
We can choose to spend our time around people who build us up or people who bring us down. I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching lately about the people in my “front row,” and I’m trying to be more deliberate about who I choose to have in it.
But — it’s two-sided.
Who’s dreams are YOU supporting?
In Jon’s book, he said, “When you make your list of top eight front row people, next to their names, write their dream that makes them come alive.”
I asked myself, How many people in your life do you not even KNOW their dreams? If I listed my eight people, could I also list their dreams? The sad answer was, no.
I’m trying to have better friends, but I’m also trying to be a better friend.
“Good friends ask great questions. They pose questions that, just in the asking, show how much they know and care about you. They ask questions that make you pause, that make you think, that provoke honesty, and that invite a deeper connection.” — Wait, What?
When you’re picking your eight people, choose ones who support and encourage your dreams, who actually know your dreams. Remember, too, that you may be in somebody else’s eight. Support the dreams of those around you. Know the dreams of those around you — really know them, and then, help them achieve them.
“You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” — Zig Ziglar
What’s your dream?
My favorite line from the movie Pretty Woman is from the man on the street in LA:
“Everybody comes to Hollywood got a dream. What’s your dream? Hey, mister, hey, what’s your dream?”
My mission with More Beautiful Good is to help you do the work you feel you were meant to do, but how can I do that without knowing what your dreams even are?
I’m not sure how to be the best friend a person could have, but I would think knowing my friends’ dreams and helping them achieve them is a good place to start.
So, what’s your dream?
“This is Hollywood, the land of dreams. Some dreams come true, some don’t, but keep on dreamin’. This is Hollywood.” — Pretty Woman