So you finally decided to take that college course, or start a cooking YouTube channel, or maybe you’re writing a book, starting your own business, or you’re moving to New York to pursue acting; whatever the case may be, you are going after your dreams and out of your comfort zone for yourself, but not everyone is sharing your enthusiasm, or supporting your aspirations. It can be frustrating when people you thought would “show up” for you when you are doing something to try to better your life, pursue your dreams or create goals for yourself; failed to do so. As someone who has experienced let downs from friends, acquaintances, coworkers, even family who I thought would always have my back and be happy for me, I am here to tell you why I find people don’t and won’t support your passions or be happy about your success.
1.) They are genuinely concerned for you or don’t believe in you. These people are usually parents, close family members or even spouses. Sometimes the reason why these people don’t support your dreams is they may not think you can “make it” in the industry you are going into and don’t want to see you get hurt. You know in your heart you are an amazing musician, and decide to put all of your time and money into a career that is very difficult to attain. People close to you may not believe in you as much as you believe in yourself and if they don’t support you, they think perhaps you will give up and find a “safer” career choice. A spouse may not support their partner’s new acting career aspirations if they feel it will affect their finances if it doesn’t work out, or their quality of family life. If you are thinking of becoming a firefighter, pilot, or go into the military, family (especially parents) may not support you because they are genuinely fearful for your life and well being. So, now what? First, you have to be sure that what you are pursuing is something you REALLY want to do. It’s never a good idea, especially if you have a family to support, to go into a new venture blindly with no clear plan and especially not without passion. Of course there are stories of actors heading to Hollywood with only the shirt on their back & bus fair and end up making it big; anything is possible! However, taking big risks on a flight of fancy isn’t always the best idea. But if you can’t think of anything else you’d rather be doing, and you know in your heart you are going to regret not trying, then take all of your non-supportive loved one’s criticism with a grain of salt, listen to them, but tell them firmly that you only have one life to live and you don’t want to live the rest of it wondering what could have been if you didn’t at least try. It’s YOUR life and if you want it bad enough you will do it with or without their support. If it doesn’t work out, at least it was on your terms.
2.) Lack of Interest. Some people don’t support you simply because they are not interested in what you are doing. These people are usually friends that aren’t that close, indifferent relatives, and high school Facebook friends that you don’t really talk to outside of social media. There will definitely be people who you aren’t that close to that will support you regardless of what it is, just because they are awesome (we love these people). If you started a YouTube channel about cats wearing cute outfits (I don’t know, you can find anything on the internet!) you really can’t expect every single person you know to be super excited and subscribe. At the same time, don’t get discouraged by people who don’t see your vision. So now what? My little girl watches a YouTuber who has a half a million subscribers who literally just plays with baby dolls. I’m sure she’s not letting her Uncle Bob’s lack of interest interfere with her cashing those YouTube advertising checks. If you found your niche and are passionate about it, don’t sweat it; but don’t forget it either when you’re rollin’ in the Benjamins and all of a sudden after you posted that you just got sponsored by Friskies, Gretchen from high school who never liked one of your cute cat videos is suddenly in your DM’s like, “Hey girlfriend! How are you?! It’s been forever, we should totally do lunch sooooon!!!!” -Nah Gretchen, kick rocks.
3.) The big one, ENVY. There’s a saying that goes something like, if you have people hating on you, then you’re doing something right. The thing about success, or going after a dream, is it can bring out the worst in the people around you. Not everyone has your talent, or if they do, not everyone has the passion, drive and ambition to pursue it. Often talented people are held back by their fear and insecurity. When you decide you are going to take a chance and go after your dream, a career you love or start a business, it can make people look at themselves negatively because they haven’t gone after their dreams; and that, my friend, can cause big time envy. Some of your friends might start acting differently toward you when you tell them some awesome news about a new higher paying job, or they don’t support your business (I’m not talking about pyramid schemes!) or share the excitement about the book you just published. People may try to downgrade your accomplishments or outright ignore what you are doing. Envy is an ugly feeling and can eat people up inside, especially if they see someone who comes from the same place they do, but are standing out more than they are, making a lot more money, or earning a living doing something that they really love. There’s also a legendary quote from the movie A Bronx Tale that goes, “They want to see you do good, but never better than them; remember that.” For many people, especially with the social media age we are in, its difficult to see other people doing well, because it makes them look at their own lives with more scrutiny. All of a sudden, they may look at their own failures, or begin to compare what they are doing or what they have to what their friends or family have. These type of people will never support you, because they aren’t okay with their own lives or situations, and may even discourage you from going after what you want. Suddenly your ambition, your success, your fortune or fame makes them uncomfortable. So, now what? The good thing about envy, is it begins to weed out who your real friends are and who genuinely cares about you and your well being. Their lack of support can be upsetting, especially because in many instances, you really care about them; but at the same time, how they feel is not your problem. You won’t make it if you become too wrapped up in what other people think or say about your life and you can’t stunt your own growth in order to cater to the lack of confidence & ambition in others.
I talked about people who don’t support you, but let’s talk about the ones who do. Another quote I love, “Never forget the people who saw you when you were invisible to everyone else.” Hold close the friends and family who supported you and your dreams from day 1 and consistently “showed up and showed out” for your accomplishments. The ones who ordered your crafts, subscribed to your channel, showed up to your gigs, genuinely smiled at your success and happiness are the ones you should forever hold the closest to you. You will often find that strangers will show you more support than people you know. Never forget to show your appreciation for their love and support and be sure to be that person for others as well. It doesn’t take much to help someone else out and there is enough success to go around for everyone willing to work for it. Always remember that the most successful and happiest people are the ones who support, encourage, and promote others, and truly want to see others succeed. The rest can go kick rocks with Gretchen from high school.