How to deal with unsupportive friends and family
You’ve dreamed and planned and worked hard (very hard) to launch your small business. You’re proud of what you’ve accomplished. You’re excited. You’re scared.
Starting a business is a challenge. This challenge can be made even more difficult when the people around you, the ones you rely on for support, fail you. It hurts, and it can make you doubt your decisions and your ability to succeed. I know. After I had owned my business for several years, someone in my family asked me when I was going to get “a real job.” Fortunately, my business was successful at the time so I was able to tell her that my employees, and my clients, and my CPA, and my banker all thought I had a real job thank you very much.
You might not have that luxury, especially if you’re just starting your entrepreneurial journey. So how can you deal with your unsupportive friends and family? First, try to understand the emotion behind the criticisms. It’s hard in the heat of the moment, but try to step back and think about the intention of the other person. What you’re hearing either comes from a place of love or a place of fear. The message is either supportive, but perhaps not delivered well, or intended to hurt.
If you think the other person is loving and worried. Ask yourself:
Have you overinvested my savings? Maybe they are worried about my financial stability.
Are you working too hard? Is it making you stressed and exhausted?
Are the criticisms grounded in reality and meant to help you? Sometimes the truth hurts, even if it is meant to help.
However, if you think the other person is feeling inadequate and overshadowed by you living your dream, ask yourself:
Has that person always wanted to open his or her own business?
Do the comments attack you personally?
Are they meant to make you feel “less than” yourself?
Does the other person know the facts of your business and want you to succeed?
If you’re not sure an article in Psychology Today offers a simple test. Ask the person who is constantly criticizing you to stop for a week. If the goal is to help, they’ll be able to stop. However, if the reason for the criticism is to make themselves feel better by making you feel worse, they won’t.
Once you’ve unpacked the reason behind the criticisms, you can decide how to deal with it. Obviously, that answer is different for everyone. If you’re concerned that the criticisms are legitimate, try checking with an expert who can give you an unbiased opinion, such as your CPA or banker. If you think the other person is just trying to make themselves feel better by making you feel worse, keep doing your thing! After all, it is said that a life well lived is the best revenge. Good luck!