When I interviewed Tisha Morris, a feng-shui consultant, a few weeks ago, I asked her if her friends and family had been supportive through all her career changes—from corporate lawyer to interior designer to yoga instructor/Feng Shui consultant/energy healer/author. She said, “My parents always seem to be one career behind. Every time they get used to one, I switch to the next one.”
This hit home with me because my family is the exact same way. My parents were thrilled when I got an engineering job right after college. They were excited when I’d tell them I got a raise. To them, I was right on track in my safe, cushy job and my steady bi-weekly paycheck. So the look on my mom’s face when I told my parents I wanted to quit my safe/cushy/steady job and start an eco-friendly clothing boutique was comprised of a mass of confusion, unanswered questions and “are you crazy??” all neatly packaged into an expressionless, I’ll-let-you-make-your-own-mistakes stare.
Since then, I’m not certain they’ve caught up with what I’m doing. Most of the time, I feel somewhat confident that they understand my entrepreneurial nature. They don’t nag me or ask me too many questions. Plus, I probably tend to overcompensate by occasionally assure them that I have plenty of clients and I’m making decent money, though they never ask me directly. Then my faith wanes when I get asked, “Have you ever thought about being a lawyer, Laurel?” or “Did you see those job postings I sent you on engineering jobs?”
Truth be told, I greatly admire my parents and want them to think highly of me. At the same time, they’re probably never going to get what I do. That’s just how it is. Both my parents were at their jobs for 30+ years before they retired. For me, I’ve probably switched my career focus every two years since I graduated college. Okay, yes, this makes it harder to safe up for retirement and I’m not saying I’d recommend this approach, but it’s just who I am. I’m not worrying about retirement because I’m living my life exactly how I want to right now. I will never have to retire from doing what I love to do.
A few months ago, I wrote 3 Ways to Deal with People Who Don’t Get It, to help entrepreneurs like you understand that the people in your life (family, friends, co-workers, etc) aren’t necessarily going to understand what you do, agree with it or support it. The journey of an entrepreneur can be a lonely one if you’re waiting for the people closest to you to wake up one day and say, “Oh my god…I finally get it!! What can I do to support you?”
It’s difficult when you feel like your parents or your significant other doesn’t understand your entrepreneurial nature. It can feel like they’re just waiting for you to “get over it”, put your resume together and go back into the workforce while all along, you’re waiting for them to understand your life-long dreams and desires.
It’s time to start tuning out all the noise.
When you quit your job to work for yourself, you have to play your own game. You have to trust in yourself and tune out the noise from other people who don’t get it. You can’t play small in your life just because the people around you are playing small in theirs. That doesn’t mean you ignore the opinions of the people closest to you (because that will not help your relationships), but instead, you just have to keep moving forward despite of them. When you know deep down what you’re meant to do in this life, it would be a mistake to let the noise from others stop you.