Callous customer rants, social media slander & trolls. These are the ugly realities of having an online presence for your business. You’re not going to nail it every single time. There will be off days. Sometimes you happen to have the misfortune of just being in the line of fire of someone’s bad day. Whatever the case, dealing with haters is a part of day to day life if you are out there interacting with the big, crazy world.
But what if your haters aren’t just some anonymous internet scum or someone simply directing their bad day at you? What if your haters happen to be closer to home? In fact, they may be THE people closest to you – your family, friends, or even your spouse – that you can’t easily dismiss. …Then what??
We all wish to be supported and nurtured by our loved ones. However, to be an entrepreneur means you are fundamentally different than the majority of people. According to the 2014 report from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, although around 60% of the North American population believes that entrepreneurship is a good career choice, only 13% of the population are actually entrepreneurs! This could be the contributing reason your loved ones do not understand or support your choice to carve your own path.
This resistance from your closest support network can cause all kinds of conflict, hurt feelings and doubt for the entrepreneur with big dreams. Feeling isolated and detached on a lonely island of hope, far, far away from your vision and goals, and with no one to make the journey with, can be a daunting and depressing feeling. Overcoming this conflict with your loved ones is critical to your success. Here’s how to do it:
1. Love Yourself
If cheerleaders are in short supply around your house, you will have to become your own wellspring of encouragement. Negativity and criticism are much easier to take (or rather, not take on!) when you are in a good place. Self-care is the key.
– Exercise daily. Get out for a walk, run, practice yoga, lift some weights or kick the shit out of a punching bag depending on the level of your frustration that day. Exercise is not only a great outlet for stress, but it stimulates the release of all the feel-good chemicals in your brain, uplifting your mood, too.
– Eat well. A healthy and balanced diet is needed to restore your energy. Be sure to also eat on a regular schedule. Skipping meals can lead to fatigue and mood swings, a dangerous combination if you’re already living in a tense environment.
– Feed your brain. Meditation, quiet time and positive affirmations all help to keep your mind positive and strong, focused on the task at hand.
– Make time for happiness. Spend time in nature, play, laugh, dance, sing, whatever lifts your spirit.
– Have downtime. If (but hopefully before) it all goes to H#!!, take some time out for you. Its not selfish, its necessary to keep from imploding. Get a massage, have a nap, spend the day in bed reading or watching funny movies. When I need an escape, Gilmore Girls is my guilty pleasure – their adorable little town and simple little problems really put me at ease. Whatever your thing, allow yourself some downtime to heal.
2. Create Boundaries
Understand that your family and friends’ naysaying may very well be coming from a place of good intention. They may be simply worried about you and it may be difficult for them to idly stand by, watching your struggle. Perhaps they just don’t understand your dream and, of course, the natural reaction when people encounter something they do not understand, is it to fear it. It will be difficult, but you need to detach from their fears and negativity if you are to be successful.
– Tell yourself that those fears and doubts belong to THEM, and do not represent your own thoughts.
– Let go of expectations for them to support you and forgive any hurt caused by your past expectations.
– Cut the energy cord. Even if you don’t believe in it, this feng shui practice is fun and really helps! Anytime you encounter negativity, visualize a cord extending from your solar plexus to whatever is bothering you. Now, use your hand and chop the cord; literally severing the ties. I like to pretend my hand is a magic, glowing, purple samurai sword. I imagine Shane would use a Lightsaber. Weird? Yes! But also fun, so just try it out. Choose whatever feels right for you and feel free to add in some sound effects. I routinely wield my sword while driving in rush hour: Schhwoo! Sching Schhing! No more bad days!
– If your loved ones are unable to give you their support, ask for their respect. Let them know you have heard their concerns and it would mean a lot to you for them to respect your decision.
– Create a physical boundary by making your very own workspace where you can be alone, focus without interruptions, and take refuge from constant negativity or draining energy. Even if you are short on space, get creative and set up your own little sanctuary in a closet or curtained area if need be. Surround yourself with beautiful and positive things like plants, pictures of successful role models or uplifting affirmations.
3. Make New Friends & Family
It is important to have a support network. No one is strong enough to do it all by themselves so if you find your support network is pretty lean, make it a priority to seek out some help.
– The very best investment you can make for yourself is to find a mentor. Do some research on who the leaders are in your industry or field and reach out to them. Be clear on what your goals are and what you are looking for, exactly. This makes it easier for people to say yes. Even if they don’t have the free time to help you, they likely know someone who might, so always start at the top and work your way down.
– Next, round out your peer group. By surrounding yourself with like-minded people that are all working toward similar goals, you can share your experiences, problem solve, and even collaborate together. There are a billion business networking groups, support groups, and social groups out there, so commit to trying out a few and find the ones that offer what you need.
– Finally, have a relationship audit. You may not be able to ‘fire’ your family, but take a really critical look at the other people in your life and your relationship with them. What kind of circumstances did you originally meet under? Are you a different person with different needs now? Have you communicated these needs to this person? And are they willing to adapt along with you? If the relationship isn’t working in a positive way, ask yourself if You are doing anything to enable the dysfunction? If there isn’t any way to salvage things, it may be time to let it go. Energy flows from high to low so if you find yourself surrounded by chronic negativity, complaining, drama and jealousy, it will be very difficult to feel good about your success. To ascend toward your dreams, you can’t have baggage weighing you down. Know that you are worth it and anyone that doesn’t believe that too, has to go. Often tough love will inspire growth in the other person too, so let go of any guilt you may have about making that decision. It really is the best for you both.