Sometimes we have to receive and accept criticism. Whether it’s a performance review from a parent or a coach, feedback can sting. I recall a coach who provided some negative feedback about my kid. I was struck by the way the delivery resonated more than the message.

After lamenting that my son did not play well in a game, he went on to say that not only would none of the kids make the NHL, but that the chances of any of them playing in college was very low. While I understand all of those percentages, I really had an issue with the coach’s tact. I kept my mouth shut, took the feedback, and went on my merry way.

I can totally accept feedback that my son needs to improve, but I think we need to be careful about setting our kids and ourselves up for mediocrity. Sure, the odds are your kid won’t make it to the pros are low, but do we really need to pass that along? My point is that while it’s ridiculous to tell your kids that won’t be stars, it’s equally silly to tell them that they absolutely won’t.

I don’t condone parents pouring adulation all over their kids and sheltering them from criticism or mistakes. Too often, we tell our kids that when things don’t go their way, it was not their fault. There’s always a reason it didn’t work out. However, I also don’t condone dashing dreams.

When we rationalize something, it’s just another way of creating excuses for why we can’t do something. That rationalization allows us to lower our expectations and shelter ourselves from perceived disappointment. So while I never talk to my kids about the end game, I certainly won’t tell them they can’t do something.

I believe that dreamers are the ones who do special things and create progress. But the people who create progress don’t try to jump from where they are to the end result immediately. They realize that to build a wall they must lay one brick down as perfectly as possible—then another and another. In fact, dreamers never consider that something can’t be done. They simply focus on the next step.

Are you settling for mediocrity? Are you finding ways to rationalize your dreams? I certainly hope you subscribe to the idea of pursuing new heights with passion. Having an unwavering belief that you can achieve your goals is the spice of life.

Being a “realist” results in mediocrity.

Finally, pursuing your dreams and not reaching what some would consider the ultimate prize is not a negative. The journey is the result, and the personal growth and friendships along the way are more than worth it. So make sure you’re chasing your dreams one step at a time. But, more importantly, make sure you’re not impeding the dreams of others.

I’d like to think that a big part of the journey is observation and discovery; both of which are rooted in the publishing process. If you want to dream the dream and enjoy the journey, consider the publishing process because you get to be curious and naive. It allows you to dream and grow simultaneously.

Warmest regards,

Mark Potter

Mark Potter

CEO, Conduit, Inc.

Mark Potter is the CEO of Conduit Inc, a content marketing organization, which produces a variety of publications and community building programs including CANVAS Magazine. In addition, Mark is the author of the book, Egrets, Hockey Sticks, & Roller Skates and sits on the Electronic Document Scholarship Board.