When I first left my corporate job in advertising to start my business as a writer, life coach, and speaker, I struggled with feeling accepted by my friends and family.
I felt like they didn’t understand or support me. I felt so hurt when they didn’t show up for my workshops or read my newsletter. I kept thinking they didn't understand me or care about what I was doing. I recall the night of my very first public workshop when my dad asked, “Are you sure you want to do this?” I felt like he had energetically punched me in the gut.
How could he ask such a crazy question? This is my heart and soul poured into this work. Yes, you bet I want to teach people about happiness!
Today, the support from my family has shifted. Just last week, my dad attended a lecture I gave in front of 50 people at a self-love benefit. He was blown away afterward and told me, “You are an excellent public speaker! You can help so many people with your message. I am so proud of you.” A big difference from the unsure him of many years ago.
I'm sharing this story because I know that many of us feel unsupported when we first venture out into new dreams. But it's important to always keep going. I've realized that, when you support and believe in yourself, in time others will likely come around just as my father did. But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t hurt when people we love don’t seem to support our vision.
I realize now that my father was really just asking me what I was afraid to ask myself. Putting yourself out into the world is a scary thing. My subconscious kept saying, “Are you sure you want to do this? What if no one comes? What if this is a big mistake?” The lack of support I felt from my family and friends was really just a reflection of my lack of belief in myself.
Starting a new business or working toward new goals takes courage, and most of the time we don’t really know if we can do it. We just have to go out and do the best we can.
Here are three things to remember when you're feeling unsupported by others:
1. Small actions make a big impact.
When you believe in yourself and have confidence, the rest of the world will believe in you too. But it has to start with you. If you are in a position where you feel like those around you are not supporting you, the best thing to do is turn inward and asks, “Do I believe in myself?”
The fastest way to believe in yourself is to take action. The more action you take, the more confidence you'll build and the easier your challenges will become. For example, I was scared in the beginning of my new career, but I still went out and did workshops. In the face of my fear and lack of self-assurance, I took actionable steps and my confidence grew. Another great way to build your inner-faith muscles is to focus on visualizing your success and picturing yourself achieving whatever outcome you desire.
2. With strategic action comes confidence.
Recognize that when we begin to take action to achieve our goals, we take a giant energetic leap forward. We are putting enormous focus on what we want instead of staying where we are or have been. This takes courage. When we are afraid of this leap, we desperately seek support from others to bolster us. Confidence is the only thing that will enable us to support ourselves.
Confidence also stems from action, so the more action you take, the more confident you will be. Make a list of all the action steps you can take to work toward your goal. If your goal is to leave a job you dislike to become a coach or writer, start writing today and coach people on the side or in your off hours. Taking action steps speaks volumes to the universe. In turn, it will swoop in and give you more clarity, confidence, and opportunity.
3. Support yourself instead of waiting on others to support you.
I eventually recognized that, just because my close friends and family were not supporting my coaching and writing yet, it didn’t mean they didn’t love me. In fact, it had nothing to do with their relationship to me. They all had their own lives and were busy living them. They loved me and supported me in the sense that they were happy I was happy. The same goes for you.
Are you focusing on others not supporting you instead of focusing on supporting yourself? If so, try to take all the energy you have focused on others and pump it into yourself. It all comes back to you believing in yourself. When you do this, everything else falls into place.
This article is adapted from an excerpt of the author's new book, Adventures for Your Soul: 21 Ways to Transform Your Habits and Reach Your Full Potential.
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