On Not Getting Support From Family And Friends: A Wake Up Call
If you read this blog regularly, you know I specialize in writing what I often need to hear myself in hopes that it’ll resonate with others. As a classically-trained actress and a freelance writer/creative, I depend strongly on the support of strangers. I make the most of my money from people who have never met me in person. This used to be something that bothered me---I, too, wanted to know why close friends and family seemed to be the most reluctant to show me love. But then it became clear to me: that isn’t actually a requirement.
I’ve seen the statuses:
“You’d think my family and friends would be the first one in line to support my insert business endeavor here but unfortunately they’re not.”
I get it. I understand how at first, especially because you’re trying to build a base of supporters, the failure of friends and family to support you monetarily or otherwise can seem like a huge blow to your confidence. It can even make you think that maybe you’ll never get anyone to support you but I need you to listen to me: if you’re spending your time selling to people who know you…you’re setting yourself up for failure. It is absolutely futile to market to your cousins and nem because even if they all supported—would that be enough to sustain your business long-term? No. Would your career take a huge leap if Auntie such and such made a Facebook post about your show that only her church group is going to see? Nah, man.Would it momentarily feed your ego? Sure. Would it be a nice gesture? Of course! But the truth is----you’re largely mad about something that is not actually going to help your bottom line. And when you’re in building mode time wasted equals no money netted.
And try this on for size: what if your family and friends are just supposed to be your family and friends---not your customers?
I mean…really consider that.
If you have a close-knit group of friends who aren’t in your industry who you can simply call and talk to about life----celebrate that. If you have family members who don’t care what your analytics are on your blog but who always makes sure you’ve eaten---be grateful for that. These are the often overlooked things that allow us to follow our dreams and keep our sanity in the meantime yet we don’t consider them support? We take to social media and make light of the contributions of our family and friends while we hold them to some idealistic vision of what we’d like for them to do for us---and often times we haven’t even shared that vision with them to begin with. Just like us, our family and friends are inundated with information 24/7 and are doing their best to sort through what’s important and what’s not so if there’s something specific that you’d like them to do in order for you to feel like you have their support---make that clear. But also be prepared to keep right along moving without it because, after all, it is your dream. Sitting on social media throwing proverbial rocks at your Uncle Man Man ain’t gone help you move your products anyway. Trust me, you’ll get to a place in your career where you’ll be so happy that all your cousins want to know during the holidays is if you made the peach cobbler they requested. You’ll be elated to just sit back and talk to your mom about the mundane everyday stuff that everyone around you is acting like doesn’t exist because they’re concerned with you being booked and busy. Embrace the fact that your family and friends may not understand, or care much, about the ins and outs of your business/career and use your mental energy on gaining new fans for yourself---not forcing the people in your life who love you to be the sole supporters of what you do and publicly rebuking them when they aren’t.
No one wants to be forced to spend their money out of fear that you’re going to call them on the carpet if they don’t. No one wants to be guilted into doing anything no matter how much they love you or if they changed your diapers when you were a child. People work the same way no matter who they are---they want to feel seen, heard and considered when they’re choosing where to spend their hard earned cash---you being their favorite niece doesn’t make that any different. Focus on creating a lane for yourself that attracts a legion of supporters who can help you live the life you’ve envisioned and pay less attention to who doesn’t repost/regram or order---I promise you this will make you less resentful and add to your success. You should be far too busy building your dream to focus on who is supporting and who isn’t anyway. I know, this isn’t easy….but few things are that are absolutely necessary. And practicing gratitude for the people who are in your life with no conditions will help you to move through life---and through the journey of building your dreams---with more self-confidence and a sense of sole responsibility over the quality of your life. No one can determine your success or failure but you…not even the people who brought you into this world.
So, gone head and do you, boo, no matter what.