A really important issue crops up time and time again in the coaching work I do, which is when my clients struggle with self belief and tell me they feel unsupported by friends and family.
Often it’s problems with a partner who is not appearing to be 100% behind the business – so that when things aren’t going quite to plan in the business then problems come up in the relationship too. And affect your self belief in the process.
Subtle comments like:
‘Don’t worry you can always go back and get a job’
‘At least you tried’
‘Can you really charge that much for what you do?’
‘I don’t want to see you get hurt when this doesn’t work’
More hurtful comments like:
‘Maybe you’ve not got what it takes’
‘You must be doing something wrong’
‘I’m not prepared to support you much longer, you know, without the right results’
Or plain mean, like
‘I told you it would never work’
‘You’ve wasted so much time and money already’
‘No idea why you ever thought that you could do this’
‘What do you even do all day?’
Many entrepreneurs end up hiding information or not sharing with friends and family for fear of criticism or being talked out of things. Which is why the coaching relationship ends up being very important to building self belief, because we need people to believe in us, especially at challenging times when we’re struggling to believe in ourselves.
Or they simply don’t feel like their friends and family ‘get them’ or understand their journey, so they stop talking about it. Which is why seeking out a peer group of other entrepreneurs is so important. So you can share the ups and the downs without feeling like it’s a personal fault or an insurmountable problem.
I’m re-reading ‘Do the Work’ by Stephen Pressfield at the moment as I power myself on writing my book – working on my own self belief! It’s about the resistance we feel when we’re doing something that’s really important to us. How resistance stops us and tries to distract us from what we want to achieve.
And this extract about ‘friends and family’ jumped out at me.
Keeping you safe?
Because often your loved ones don’t mean to discourage you or hold you back.
They care about you and want to protect you from hurt or failure or being visible or getting your hopes dashed.
They may also be worrying about what happens when you get successful or better yourself in some way. Will you outgrow them? Will you change?
Or actually they just don’t understand the issue and this scares them, the problem you’re describing might sound huge and frightening.
This doesn’t make them bad people, in fact the opposite is usually true. They care. But they don’t get it because they aren’t directly walking the path.
You have to work on your own self belief as an entrepreneur, constantly, and you have to seek out support from others who are on the same path.
What to do?
Find a coach. Join a group programme. Subscribe to training and mentoring from people who are a few steps ahead of you on your journey. Attend events aimed at business owners and share and learn in a safe space.
And remember that when friends and family don’t support you, it’s usually got very little to do with you, your skills, your business idea or the progress you’re making. It’s just them trying to protect you – or themselves.
Listen objectively to what they have to say. Stay cool. Trust yourself. And seek advice from those who’ve walked your path or have no vested interest in keeping you ‘as you are’.
Oh yes, and keeping on to Do The Work! Amazing book
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