My mother thinks I’m crazy.
She would never say anything to me that indicated this to be the case, but I can tell by what she doesn’t say. She doesn’t ever ask about my business. She skirts around any mention of clients, money, or my overall career direction. She doesn’t tell other people what I do unless they ask. She’s never read this blog to my knowledge. In general, her lack of attention towards my entrepreneurial spirit makes it clear that either she does think I’m nuts or she just fundamentally doesn’t understand it.
In her defense, who wouldn’t think I am crazy? I quit my high-paying mechanical engineering job 6 years ago to move back to my hometown, live with my parents and start my own clothing boutique. And then when that didn’t work out, I enrolled in an online nutrition school and became a health coach. To fill in all the gaps, I’ve done freelance graphic design, website design, photography, and even crafting. While some entrepreneurs can quit their job and ramp up their business fast enough to be making more money than their previous salary within a few years, I’m still on a journey of self-discovery.
Growing up like I did, I have some innate, deep-rooted desire to have my parent’s approval. The problem is that my parents are never going to fully understand why I do what I do. Before retiring, they both worked at their same jobs for over 30 years. They don’t have the entrepreneurial gene like I do, so they are never going to empathize with my need to work for myself (no matter what sacrifices I have to make). That means, I might never get their full approval, not because they don’t love me, but because they just don’t completely understand me.
What I’ve learned along the way is: That’s okay.
It’s okay that my parents and most of my friends think I’m nuts for not just sucking it up and getting a full-time job. It’s okay that I’m following my own unique path in life. It’s okay that I’m not 100% successful yet. It’s okay that I’m not the get-a-stable-job- get-married-buy-a-big-house-have-babies kind of girl. That’s just not me. And I’ve spent a lot of time getting comfortable with that.
If your mother/father/family/friends/co-workers think you are crazy, too, take heart. Most likely, they have the highest and best intentions for you. They want you to be happy and safe, so they encourage you to take the same path they took to be happy and safe—get a stable job with a nice salary (and probably get married, buy a house and have babies if you haven’t done this already). Keep in mind that they are just projecting on you. Don’t take it personally. Learn to see it as a good thing…as a way that they are expressing their love to you, not trying to criticize you or tear you down.
Most likely, if you’re an entrepreneur, you have people in your life who don’t understand you. We all do. If you haven’t already read my post about 3 Ways to Deal with People Who Don’t Get It, then check it out.
As you become more and more comfortable on your entrepreneurial path, the easier it will be to accept that other people might think you’re crazy. In the meantime, take the advice in my previous post and don’t let anyone derail you from your dreams.