Don’t expect to come back here. We don’t support you.
You’re not a coach or a leader. You’ve betrayed us.
Some of the harshest words I think I’ve ever heard from someone very close to me. And as you can tell, they were pretty against the idea of my becoming a coach.
The question is:
How did I cope when they were obviously not supportive of my dream?
And how did I manage to pursue my dreams anyway when it felt like those closest to me were actively trying to hold me back?
I was pretty heartbroken hearing the words I shared with you above but another part of me understood why they might be totally against what I’d decided to do. I also knew that they loved me (though I questioned it at times) and this reaction seemed a little disproportionate. Throwing me out of their life for committing some horrific offence seemed justifiable but throwing me out because of my chosen career path didn’t seem to quite line up with their values.
Nonetheless, I struggled with the notion.
Here are a handful of my thoughts on what to do if you find yourself in this position:
they don’t support you and your goal.
This tribe member of mine had never heard of life coaching before. They didn’t understand it. It was unknown and they were likely afraid of it. Being brought up going to a private school followed by University was so that I could have better career options and prospects when I graduated. Life coaching, however, hadn’t been one of them. Furthermore, I had decided to pursue coaching half way across the world in New York. And so, I can understand that hearing I’d, at the age of 22, decided to travel 3000 miles away to pursue an unlikely career in something they didn’t understand sounded quite ludicrous to them.
When people don’t understand something or the potential outcome of the endeavour is unknown, we tend to be afraid. It feels safer to do things that are more understandable or that we already have experience with. And all that those closest to me want is for me to be safe.
Don’t argue with them (a mistake I made).
Instead, acknowledge their concerns. We all want to feel as though we’ve been understood.
you want to pursue this dream or career.
Speak your truth and communicate why this path is important to you. Even if they don’t respond kindly at first, no one can really argue with your own truth. It’s yours and yours alone.
And if they try, remember the next point.
It’s their fear, not mine
Sometimes, there’s no changing how someone responds to what you want to do but you can choose how you react to them.
Just as explained in point one, it’s likely their fear or problem and not yours.
It only becomes your problem too when you allow their fears to interact with yours.
When I was transitioning into becoming a coach, I was so afraid of what I was up to. I would typically look to others for reassurance but if instead, I was faced with anger or upset, it could easily turn into a fight.
Find support in others
Luckily, I had a coach and many friends in the personal development world at this point that I could go to for support and reassurance instead. They helped me develop a sense of compassion for myself and anyone who was just trying to protect me so that I could start approaching them differently.
Build your own tribe of people who will understand and can support you when others can’t.
It took a long time before it felt as though they were more accepting of my career choice. Be patient, remember the points above and when you achieve what you set out to, you’ll be so proud of yourself (so might they) and you’ll realize you’ve developed strengths you never knew you had.