“Don’t wait around for other people to be happy for you. Any happiness you get you’ve got to make yourself.” – Alice Walker
When I initially made the decision to quit my full-time job back in 2009, the first person I told was my mom. I could tell that she wasn’t 100% sold on the idea, but eventually she came around. “You can always go back,” she said.
When I told my grandmother, however, I received a more panicked reaction. All of a sudden, my typically supportive Grama turned into a shrewd news reporter. She immediately launched into this “who? what? when? where? how?” spiel, followed by a few worst-case scenarios. I think I finally ended the conversation with, “don’t worry Grama, I know what I’m doing.”
In reality, this couldn’t have been further from the truth. I was scared and anxious and all I wanted to hear was that everything was going to work out and I wouldn’t end up homeless on the streets of DC.
But as I went through the process of talking to each of my family members and friends about my decision to take the leap and build my business on a full-time basis, I received mixed reactions. At the end of it all, I was left feeling unsure about whether becoming self-employed was really what I should do.
Four years later, I can see so clearly that if I had waited for everyone in my life to get on board with my decision, I would still be at my full-time job. I would still be sitting in my cubicle wondering if I could make it on my own as an entrepreneur.
When it comes to pursuing your dreams, this is the truth, whether you like it or not.
You can’t make your family and friends support you.
I get it. We all want the total package. We want to be able to pursue our big goals with the full support of our friends and family. But the reality is that you can’t force people to support you. You can’t make them understand just how bad you want this. This is YOUR dream, after all, not theirs. It’s not their job to drop everything and coddle you and make you feel good about your decision to change your life. So you have to want to succeed more than you need people to validate you. You have to do what you need to do even if you don’t have a cheering section behind you.
You may want their approval, but you don’t actually need it.
Let me put it to you this way. You’re not going to die if your family and friends don’t believe in your vision as much as you do. Sometimes, frustrating as it may be, the people closest to you have to literally SEE you living your dream before they will be able to support you. That’s why it’s useless to wait for their approval before you take action. Challenge yourself to distinguish between needs and wants when you talk about your expectations of others. You may WANT their approval, but you don’t actually NEED it. In this way, you can stop attaching your success and happiness to the opinions of other people.
It feels so good when friends and family members support your dreams. But if they don’t, you have to learn to be OK with that, too. Stop getting so upset when the people you love let you down. Instead, use that energy to find a new group of friends, colleagues and peers who are willing to walk with you on your new path. Ultimately, you don’t need anyone to be happy for you if YOU are truly happy for yourself.
Leave a comment: Have you been waiting for your family and friends to start supporting you before you move forward with your goals? How can you begin to let go of your need for their approval so you can live your ideal life?