Career Change Advice: When People Don’t Support Your Dream



When you have no one in your life that supports you, you might need a little career change advice . . .

Imagine this: You’ve got a great job – you’re making good money, doing something “respectable,” something you might be good at, even. All seems to be well in the world.

Except, you’re not happy.

You dream of doing something else. Something that you love. Maybe it has to do with personal development, wellness or health. Maybe it’s coaching, therapy or another helping profession. Maybe you want to save the world in some way or go into business for yourself doing what you already know how to do.

Whatever it is, it’s a change. And change scares people. And if you thought you might be scared, you haven’t seen anything until you look around to your friends and family – the people who depend on you and look up to you.

People get scared that you’re going to fail, succeed, change, forget them, create a monumental disaster, not be able to feed them any more, or go on a world tour because you’re now famous and leave them behind, crying in their soup.

And fearful people do all kinds of weird things. Like not support your dream.

When Loved Ones Don’t Support Your Dream

You may be tempted to get mad when someone who is supposed to be supporting you isn’t. But take a minute to understand what’s actually happening. Chances are, there are buttons being pushed and fear getting triggered at the thought of your dream. It’s not just that they’re being mean or trying to undermine you.

First, ask yourself, what do you think this person is afraid of? You may know immediately, but if not, go ahead and ask them.

Finding out what’s bothering them and then talking it through might end up allaying their fears and ultimately get you the support you need.

But what if, after talking it through, your loved one just thinks your venture is a bad idea?

Is It Really A Bad Idea? Or Are They Freaking Out?

When you’re following your heart, it can be hard to impartially assess whether your idea is a good one or if you’re fooling yourself. If your heart’s already in it, you’re likely to overlook the things that look like small hurdles to you, but to others might look like fatal flaws.

But the opposite is also true. Some people just love stability, and anything that threatens change for any reason can throw a major monkey wrench in their day.

So how can you decide who is right? Are you going after something that is doomed to failure, or is your friend or family member just getting frantic about nothing?

Career Change Advice

Ask someone with no stake in the game. If you can find someone willing to listen – who is also impartial and doesn’t feel threatened by the change in any way, run the whole situation by them – your idea, the lack of support, and get their take on it. If it’s someone whose opinion you trust (and who will be straightforward with you) then you can get a real read on what’s going on.

What To Do To Find Support

If this lack of support is coming from a primary relationship, like a spouse or partner, then you obviously will want to work harder on resolving it than if Joe from your carpooling group is rubbed the wrong way by the idea of you quitting and starting your own thing.

So first, decide how much effort and energy you’re willing to allow this situation to take from you and your life. Sometimes we just allow others opinions to have way too much power over us. If it’s not a significant relationship, this may be one of those times.

If you do want to give this a lot of attention, decide what responsibility you have to the fear presented by your loved one. So for example, if your husband is worried that since you are the primary breadwinner a new job might mean a financial blow to the family, create a plan for dealing with finances now. See a financial planner, create a budget, decide what to do in an emergency, look at expected income for your new venture.

Practical things you can do to lay these fears to rest may help you win the support you need. By helping your family member realize you’re the same, steady person as before, you’ll do a lot to get the support you need.

If The Support Is Just Not Coming. . .

This is the terrifying situation that most people worry about. The truth is, if you don’t have other problems in your relationship, it can probably handle this transformation if it’s done thoughtfully and with communication. If you just get mad at each other for not seeing each others’ point of view, it’s not going to do the relationship any good.

It’s the less significant relationships that are really in more danger. The friend, the already foot-out-the-door spouse and so on. Here’s where you may have to steel yourself and decide that you need to do what’s right for you no matter what.

Or not.

I’m giving you permission to wimp out on your dream and put your need to please someone else or to keep a relationship intact ahead of that dream. Just as long as you’re aware of what you’re doing. I’d be lying if I said we all hadn’t done that at one time or another – whether it was our big dream or something smaller that we really wanted to do – myself included.

If you don’t have the guts to do it now, recognize that. Realize it’s your growing edge and decide that if you really want that dream, your work is to get past that point, even if it makes you sick to your stomach to think about doing it now.

But here’s the deal: in exchange for permission to wimp out on action right now, you MUST stay conscious to the fact that you still have a dream you are working toward. If you put your dream in the back of your sock drawer and forget about it, our deal is off. If you keep thinking about it and working on it so that you can eventually make the move toward your dream – even if it’s not today, you have my full support.

I love bold moves. But I also know that we are not all ready to rip the table cloth out from underneath our grandmother’s china. We can take things a step at a time if we must. It’s a balance between the urgency that we’re all being propelled towards death and that we also must live our lives.

Have You Lacked Support?

It’s really hard to make a change to the unknown, but when you don’t have a cheering squad in the background (or worse, you have people telling you not to) it’s next to impossible to do it. But you CAN get people to see it your way.

What do they need from you and what are they afraid of losing in this situation? Do they need your financial support? (Perhaps a spouse?) Are they worried you’ll fail? (Your parents?) Will they be somewhat ashamed of any failure you have? (A good friend, spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend?).

By figuring out what they’re afraid of, allaying the fear through words and practical action, and following through with your plan of being the same old you with a new dream, you can win the support you need.

I’d love to hear your stories of lacking support to do something new, having support, or ultimately gaining it from family or friends who weren’t so sure in the beginning.

What other thoughts do you have about how the support of others impacts our ability to reach for our dreams?


Career Change, Personal Development

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