Are you finding it hard to get support for your crazy dreams from those around you? Welcome to the club of entrepreneurs dealing with that every day.
Before we figure out how to turn that negativity into support we must first learn why the disapproval exists.
We often hear entrepreneurs say, “It is just jealousy” or “They are just mad because I am taking chances they are scared to take”. While this may be true for a small amount of acquaintances, for the most part the issue is completely different.
Who are the people you tell your goals and dreams too? I would take a guess and say family and close friends and people you look up to. Well, your family, friends, and mentors are likely not jealous of you but are more concerned about you. People have their own busy lives to deal with and they are certainly not thinking about yours. They may see your ability to take chances they are scared to make but that is only a reason for them to want to see you succeed and celebrate it.
So then why does this negativity exist when we decide to start a business and go after our big goals? Through many years of being an entrepreneur, a couple different businesses, and making an effort to learn why people think the way they do, I have learned why the negativity exists and how to turn it into support.
Who do you think you are?
I mean really, who do you think you are? Do you expect the moment you decide to take a chance and start a business with no prior experience that everyone around you will drop everything to help you? Up until you decided you wanted to become the next Richard Branson or Mark Cuban your friends and family saw you as a student, employee or unemployed. When you tell them you’re starting a business they will initially want to protect you because they are concerned for your well-being.
Getting an education, working a job and moving up the ladder, has been ingrained into our society as the safest route. I would disagree with that because anytime you’re giving your future into someone else’s hands to decide whether they want to keep you or fire you, it is never a safe route. That is a topic for another article, but my point is that is where the negativity comes from. They just want what they think is best for you, so it is up to you to show them that being an entrepreneur is best for business.
Below are 4 tips I have learned and used effectively to turn negativity into support:
1. Stay consistent
Staying consistent is the most effective tip. If there is one tip that you decide to implement, definitely choose to stay on track and keep working towards your goals. As I mentioned above when you first start out, nobody see’s you as an entrepreneur because you weren’t one previously. Just like learning to ride a bike you need to learn how to be an entrepreneur and how to grow a business in the industry you have chosen.
People will start to respect your dreams when they see how much hard work and dedication you’re putting into it. If you start a business and quit in 1 month you cannot expect the people around you to take you serious. That is not to say you must choose a business and no matter what stick to it. Sometimes businesses do not work out for different reasons and you must move on to other opportunities. After interviewing 60+ millionaires, the majority of them have had several businesses before the one that made them millions. The point is they never gave up on being a successful entrepreneur and eventually found the business they knew was the one.
Once they found that business, they focused all their attention on becoming a master at it. They say it takes 10,000 hours to become a master at anything so be prepared to put that much time in if you want to be the best. The people around will see you as a master way before your 10,000th hour due to perception. After a year or two of consistent growth and skill development people will start to see you as a master and no one can put down a master of their craft. Stay committed and it will be noticed.
“When you look at people who are successful, you will find that they aren’t the people who are motivated, but have consistency in their motivation.” – Arsene Wenger
2. Protect your dreams
Your goals and dreams should be protected like a map to a treasure chest. Stop letting everyone in on your deepest thoughts because most people won’t be able to understand them and you will not have enough time to explain. This was a mistake I made early on when people would ask me what I do. Quickly, I would find myself telling everyone my insane goals and people looking at me like I was immature and crazy.
A conversation focused around your dreams should be saved for the right time and right person. Find a mentor or close friend or family member that is a good listener and can provide valuable feedback. The more you protect your dreams, the more curious people will get and the more they will start to support you. It is a funny thing but it comes down to showing people your dreams instead of just talking about them.
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
3. Support others
Whether you believe in karma or not, supporting others is a great way to gain support. You must learn what others around you are up to. That takes being interested and asking questions. Instead of waiting for someone to ask you what you’re up to, ask them what’s going on in their lives. This is your opportunity to be supportive and add as much value to their lives as you can.
As entrepreneurs we need to get laser focused on our businesses and it is easy to lose awareness of the people around us and want to always talk about what we’re up to. When you’re around people, change this mindset and start being more interested than interesting. The more you help people the more they will begin to support you and that help you gave will be reciprocated tenfold.
4. Be vulnerable *Expert Tip*
This tip is not for everyone but if used properly, it can create powerful relationships and will give you enough support and encouragement that will help propel your dedication.
Above I mentioned to protect your dreams and save this important conversation for a select few. When you find the people that you trust enough to talk about your biggest goals and dreams with, put everything on the table. Focus on WHY you want to achieve these goals.
I remember awhile back someone I knew quit his job to start a business. He told me how negative his wife was being about his decision. I told him to put himself in her shoes. She is likely concerned considering you have never owned a business, scared for her own wellbeing and unsure about the whole situation. I told him he needs to stop talking about his business because she is not going to understand but instead start talking about why you started the business. After she heard his reasoning it started a whole new conversation on a much deeper level. When we become vulnerable we allow people to come into our minds and they can begin to support our why’s because why’s are powerful.
I have done this with a few people and my relationships with them have become very important to me and my business. These people are my biggest supporters and have helped me through many tough times and celebrate with me through the good times. They have also become vulnerable with me and let me into their world and I make sure I return the support. This is also a great way to grow a relationship with someone you look up to and grow the relationship into a mentorship opportunity.
Another great tip to become more vulnerable that you can use with anyone is to just ask for help. When you ask someone to help, likely they will be honoured and proud that they are useful. You’re now allowing someone to come into your world and add value and when that happens naturally they will want you to succeed.
“When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability… To be alive is to be vulnerable.” – Madeleine L’Engle
I have learned these tips from experience, interviewing many successful entrepreneurs, and reading many books. A book that has influenced every tip I just gave is “Influence” by Robert Caldini. It is a must read for any entrepreneur.