One of the things that has been pretty consistent in all the interviews we’ve done is the support received from family. Eric, from the Tap That Az podcast, talked about in our interview with him how his wife is his strongest supporter. He spends a lot of time talking about how she has encouraged him and worked with him so he could quit his job to pursue his dream. I think that level of support is necessary for real success.
There is another side to this though. A lot of advice given to people with creative ideas is to keep it secret until it is succeeding. So, if family is the best support group, why would we keep our endeavors secret from them?
Well, creative people have a lot of ideas. To no ones surprise, most of them fail. That’s pretty normal. The issue is that when we are super excited about every new idea, we become The Boy Who Cried Wolf. We run and tell everyone we know, then it fails and our family and friends are left wondering what the point was. This is hard for them because they, as a collective group, want the best for you and tend to be very pragmatic. They want you succeed, so they will be honest with you. They aren’t trying to hurt you, but negative responses from family can be devastating in the early stages.
So, where is the balance? How do we get family support without burning them out?
Firstly, I would tell the creative person that this is a journey of self-discovery. I have gone through multiple ideas until I found the one thing that is really me. All of those ideas helped me figure out who I am. I would encourage you to try all of your ideas, but wait to share until you find that one idea, the one that defines you.
Secondly, show, don’t tell. Once you have that idea that defines you, work it out a bit, make sure it’s viable. I sold quite a bit of coffee before I told anyone that I was starting a coffee company. It wasn’t until I was selling out of my cold brew coffee at farmers markets and doing ten pounds of whole-bean per month that people recognized that it isn’t just some crazy idea, but a real thing. Also, your family will respond to your work. If you are just throwing crazy ideas around, hoping people will give you money, you’ll burn your family up. If you family sees you work, because they are pragmatic as stated above, they will support your work (not your idea). My family is still the majority of my coffee sales. I think some of them buy it for flavor, but I think most of them buy it because they see me actually working and they want to honor that.
Regardless of what you are working towards, if you’re not willing to put in the work, don’t expect your family to put in the support.
Lastly, people support people. Family supports family members. In a previous blog, I talked about how family wants to lift the next generation up to a better place. Listen to your family, take their feedback. Not all of it will be useful, but it will be good. It is good because it (assuming a healthy family) comes from a position of love. Your family has a huge collection of wisdom. Ignoring that is foolish at best. Once you start to get rolling, your family will want to offer advice from their experience. Take that, digest it, extract the applicable principal, put it into practice, then provide an update to the family member who offered it. This will show that you honor their support, which is how you establish good family support group.