The word “no” is something that most people dislike hearing, especially entrepreneurs. When I first became an entrepreneur, my outlook was so positive and I had an expectation of “yes”. I expected everyone to say “yes” to what I was presenting them. It was amazing to me so of course they would see the same vision right? Wrong! The same people whom I expected to support me were the same ones who told me no and often called me crazy for what I was doing. It wasn’t a traditional business, it was Network Marketing, but entrepreneurship is the same across the board. The frustrations and the hurt were very present in the beginning stages of my journey mainly because of the lack of support that I was given from those that I was closest to.
I know that I’m not alone in this, you may have or are currently experiencing the same emotions and I am here to offer a different perspective that can help you out of that place. Throughout the years I have learned a lot about myself and through personal development, I have been learning how to deal with my emotions and understanding people. When our loved ones tell us “no” or don’t support us during this journey it’s not always a verbal “no”, it sometimes is in the form of them not giving referrals, not coming to our events, purchasing products, or as small as not sharing a Facebook post to promote us; these are some examples, but I’m sure there are more. There are different ways that we may feel a lack of support from friends and family which differs from person to person, but here are some of the reasons we get those reactions.
Our loved ones often don’t comprehend why we make the decision to become entrepreneurs. Many of us have grown up around people with the 9-5 employee mentality. We were brought up with the same mantra, “go to school, get good grades, get a good job, and live a good life.” So when we deviate from that course it’s often misunderstood. I can speak for myself and many of my mentors, that most of our parents and immediate family always worked as an employee and never pushed to pursue anything past that, mostly due to fear. In order for our loved ones to comprehend our decision, we need to be real with them and transparent. Tell them WHY you are making this decision. Stating that you want to “follow your dream” isn’t enough. Tell them that you have watched them struggle all of your life and you want something different for yourself, you want to see what chasing your dream will bring you, or you want to be able to break a generational curse of poverty over your family. Something! They need to know why you’re grinding so hard. Once they understand WHY, they’ll get a better vision of what you want to do. Though it’ll take time, it’s still a very important step.
One thing we must understand especially as entrepreneurs is that we need to be mindful who we listen to, especially because many times people try to put their fears on you. I’ve realized that one reason why most of the people that are closest to me haven’t joined me on this journey to entrepreneurship and invested in my business is because they lack the belief that they could be successful as an entrepreneur. I have had many tell me that I “can’t do it” and didn’t believe that I’d be successful in what I do, but I decided to ignore that talk. Often times, their lack of support is a reflection of how they view themselves. They may not believe they will ever be successful in a business, so therefore it is difficult for them to see the same thing for you. Jay-Z said in an interview that his uncle told him, “you’ll never sell a million records” and Jay-Z said, “I’ve sold a million records like a million times”, which further proves that his uncle was just pushing his beliefs of himself on Jay, but Jay decided not to adopt that mentality. Our loved ones don’t mean malice with their words and actions, well most don’t anyway, but their desire to want the “best for us” is often limited to what they want and it’s not always aligned with your purpose.
Faith vs fear
The sad reality is that most people will work until they die or retire at an age where they can barely do anything, however, we want to change that direction and sometimes people think we are the ones that are crazy. I had a conversation with my mom when I decided to quit my career and relocate to another state without “job security”. She thought I lost my mind, but a simple conversation changed her perspective. I asked her a series of questions to help her understand my reason to take a leap of faith. I asked her when she was my age, what was something she wanted to do in life or become. Her reply was “either a flight attendant or go into the air force”. I was amazed by her answer since we had never had a conversation about this. I asked her what stopped her from pursuing that goal and her answer will forever be etched in my mind, she said “I was afraid”. My next question was the deep one, “do you ever wonder what your life would have been like if you took that shot?” of course she replied yes, but she is still thankful for what she has. It was at that moment I explained to her that I don’t want to wonder 30 years later what would have happened if I didn’t make this decision, I want to know now and live without regrets.
That conversation helped me realize that when loved ones told me no or didn’t support my decision, it wasn’t me they were truly saying no to, it was themselves. Many of them have tried being an entrepreneur and it didn’t work the way they expected, so they decided it wasn’t for them. People focus more on the failure than the faith it takes to win and be successful, and sometimes it’s not our job to convince them otherwise. What we should do is continue grinding for what we want out of life and that will inspire them to be greater. When people see those closest to them winning, it gives them a sense of confidence that they can too. I finally came to a place where their lack of support didn’t bother me, as long as they respected my hustle. They don’t have to understand it, but they need to respect it.
I hope this encourages you to see the “no’s” from a different perspective and I hope that it pushes you to keep moving forward!
Be Encouraged. Be Inspired. Be Empowered.