Chances are, someone in your group of friends wants to be an entrepreneur.
They're always talking about what new idea has their attention. They're always writing things down into their tiny notebook or their iPhone. They're notorious for making grand plans and then suddenly changing directions at the drop of a hat. And most of all, they're always pointing to other people who have succeeded as proof: "See? I can do that. I know I can. And I will--one day."
Whether you want to be an entrepreneur yourself, or you're playing the role of a supportive friend, here's the 1 piece of advice you need to tell the high-in-the-sky dreamers around you:
"Go do it."
Some of my closest friends have gotten a front row seat to my entrepreneurial journey over the past however many years. They've watched me try and fail. They've listened to my big, elaborate plans for the future. They've seen my successes and they've talked me through my failures. But the reason why I value our friendship so much is because they've never been afraid to tell me the 1 thing I always needed to hear: "Oh yea, Cole? You're going to go do that? Then stop talking about it. Go do it. Prove it."
Too often, friends play the role of cheerleader instead of coach.
Aspiring entrepreneurs don't need cheerleaders. A coach is infinitely more valuable.
A coach will shoot down every single one or your ideas, not because they want to see you fail, but because they want to see how badly you're willing to fight to make them successful.
A coach will question you and your big plans for the future, not because they don't believe in you, but because they want to help bring more clarity to your idea.
A coach will tell you to go back to the drawing board, to try again, not because they think what you've done was bad, but because they know you can do better--and they often bring it out of you.
If you want to be a real friend and a true asset to your entrepreneurial friends, you have to be the coach and not the cheerleader. You have to be willing to tell them what they need to hear, not what they want to hear, and do so in a way that is both honest and encouraging. You have to be patient enough to watch them go up and down, left and right, succeed and fail, and stay focused on the big idea, the long-term win.
If you don't, then what you're going to end up supporting is a talker, not a walker--and nobody likes a talker. As much as you think it might start conflict, or be hard to break the bad news to one of your closest friends that they're "all talk," in the end, you're probably the only person they'll truly listen to. After all, if you can't be honest with them, who can?
You'll notice that when you do this for other people, they will do the same for you--and we could all use a coach instead of another cheerleader.
So the next time your friend starts waving their hands in the air about their next big idea, bring them back down to earth. Ask them how they're going to do it, and what next steps they can take today in order to bring that idea to fruition.
If they can't give you an actionable vision--or if they do, but don't deliver on it--then call them out.
Tell them what they need to hear.
"Oh yeah? You're going to change the world? Then go do it."