To Share or Not to Share

No one can do it all. No one can accomplish great things without help and support. Whatever your goal it may start out as a private thing, a secret, but eventually you’ll need help. On page 10 of What Next I write, “…if you do not share your plans, if you do not let others in on the secret, then secret is what it will remain.” I believe you need to share your ideas, get feedback, both negative and positive, in order to refine the concept and make it better.

Just one paragraph later, though, I seem to contradict myself when I write, “When others question your beliefs, that little voice in your head suddenly becomes louder and more persuasive.” Maybe you shouldn’t tell people your ideas because their fears, their timidity versus your confidence, may adversely affect you.

Maybe there’s another reason not to share your goals. According to research explained by Derek Sivers in the video below, the gratification you get from sharing your goal is often enough to make you feel good whether you reach the goal or not. In other words don’t share your goal and you’ll work harder to achieve it. Here’s a brief video of Derek explaining it.

Much later in What Next, in the Acknowledgments (a section most people don’t read), I write, “As I’ve gone through life I have become more secretive for the same reason as Alex, to minimize negativity…Interestingly Alex says she began to share more with people as she gained confidence in her decision making ability.” (Who is this Alex I speak of? Read the book and meet her!)

I think there are two very different things happening here. For me I felt I was meeting resistance from people when I told them my ideas (whether that was true or not). I felt negative reinforcement. Just the opposite of what Derek Sivers was talking about but with the same outcome, not reaching my goal. Alex on the other hand, was taking on too much of the burden herself. She may not have had to deal with the negativity but she also wasn’t getting the encouragement she needed.

What I’ve found works for me is a balance between sharing and keeping a secret. I keep things secret as I formulate the plan but eventually tell a select group of people that slowly grows larger as I seek out more advice and support. I think Alex and I have reached the same place but from different directions. (By the way Alex, feel free to chime in with your thoughts! Maybe I have this all wrong?)

Do you think it’s better to share your goals with lots of people, a select few, or no one at all? 


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