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It’s not easy trying to create a new life vision or career for yourself, and it’s even harder to deal with loved ones when you’re in the middle of such a transition. Often, other people can’t see the long-term vision of what you’re trying to do…
…and today, I want to let you know that it’s okay.
When you decide that you want to change your life, – whether it’s to self employment or to a completely different W-2 job – the transition is challenging for both you and those who love you.
This article is going to share with you 4 impactful things you can do with loved ones who can’t see your life vision and who don’t understand your choices. These are the things that helped me when I was starting my business, and these things have helped countless others before me.
Hopefully, my recommendations today are useful to you, too!
#1: Remember That Your Loved Ones Usually Only Want What’s Best For You
Dealing with loved ones when you’re going through a major life change is hard enough…but when that life change affects both your income and your professional future, it can be even harder.
The one who understand your life vision the most is always going to be YOU.
The most important thing to remember is that your loved ones care a great deal for you. Most likely, most of them have never changed their own lives in such a drastic way.
So it’s hard for them to imagine.
Until the past 20 years or so, most people followed really traditional life paths. They were born, went to elementary, middle and high school. Then they graduated high school and either went directly to college or into the military or some other public service like police work.
Their life vision was to get an education and then get a good job.
If you’ve decided not to follow a traditional way that people are accustomed to, they tend to get a little scared. And that would include your family, too. And mind you…it doesn’t matter if you’re trying to start a brand new business or if you’re considering going back to school at what some would consider a non-traditional age.
Change is frightening.
Remember that they love you, give them lots of grace, and keep doing the work you need to do to change your life.
#2: Remember That Major Life Changes Are Incredibly Stressful On Most People
I remember when I was moving from the United States to the United Kingdom, I had all kinds of deep conversations with my family, acquaintances, and loved ones. Some of those conversations were good ones that solidified relationships.
Others made me very wary of certain people.
It wasn’t always easy to discern motivations during that time. While I was excited about what was happening in my life, my personality was also a bit altered because I could tell that not everyone understood what was taking place.
Many people were unusually emotional and stressed.
One person even took the time to come to my house to apologize for disliking me, feeling jealous of me for around 13 years of our friendship and for talking poorly about me behind my back. Meanwhile, I’d had no idea that anything was ever wrong.
Basically, life major life changes bring about lots of stress in the lives of those who feel they are closest to you. Again, the best thing you can do it to give them lots of grace. God didn’t give your life vision to multiple people.
He most likely gave it to you, alone.
Everyone deals with stress in a different way, and your friends, associates, and family members are no different. They are just people. Keep in mind that you also might handle some aspects of the life change poorly, too.
The toughest person to see is yourself.
You might be more tired than usual, and you may even snap at people when you think you’re actually being patient.
Try to be mindful of the stress your decisions might bring on yourself, your household, and on those who know and love you.
#3: Deal With The Challenges Up Front With A Conversation – Or Two
The easiest thing you can do with your loved ones is to be open and honest with them. Keep the lines of communication as open as you can, even though you are the one with the primary vision for your life.
It’s completely up to you to decide if you want to have that conversation right away or if you want to get a little more established in your career, first.
I remember that when I decided that I wanted to write for a living, I didn’t tell ANYONE. I bought a course, started the course, and got my client.
It wasn’t until after I had that first client that I told my family anything. If I had it to do all over again, I would do the exact, same thing. I might even wait a little longer. For whatever reason, I have learned that my loved ones have a lower tolerance for things that are a bit unconventional.
I’m not like that.
It was probably three months in before I announced it on social media or made it public in a big way.
Still…the entire first year was pretty tough.
I can distinctly recall my stepfather saying to me, “We don’t know what you’re doing! Can you explain why you haven’t yet gotten a job and tell us what your plan is?” Meanwhile, I’d applied to over 400 jobs and had only gotten four interviews.
He couldn’t see to grasp the fact that I’m not good at continuing forward in something that’s clearly not working. I chose another way.
Being qualified for jobs didn’t seem to matter…so I pursued self employment, instead.
I probably explained the same thing to my family members in deep conversations six or seven times over the course of the year, and each time, I tried to be patient and remember that they didn’t understand my conviction or the fact that I was charting a new path for myself – one that I loved and that would last me the rest of my life, Lord willing.
They also didn’t know what copywriting was, and they didn’t know the market demand.
For those reasons, I kind of put my immediate family on a need-to-know basis. My daughter knew each step I was taking, but she was the only one out of everyone in my family.
Then again, that’s just me.
Your family might be super supportive and excited for you. They might be genuinely curious and helpful. If that’s the case, bring them on board from day one because it really helps to have a cheerleader on days when you feel down.
Personally, I didn’t need a cheerleader because I am pretty good at encouraging myself at this stage in life.
If you need family support and you know they will be there for you, go get it! You, alone, know your family better than I do. 🙂
You might be happy to know that there are usually communities of people who are in your chosen career path. Look for them in internet forums, Facebook groups, and LinkedIn communities.
The point I am trying to make is that a well-timed conversation can be incredibly helpful for your loved ones and for you.
Make sure you know in advance what you want to discuss with your loved ones and friends and how much you’re going to share with them.
#4: Celebrate Your Wins
Every time I got a new client, every time I got a commission check I didn’t expect, and every time I networked with someone who was very influential in my industry, I shared it with the people I thought loved me.
If a client reached a new milestone because of my writing – even if my influence was just in-part – I shared that.
And we celebrated in what felt like big ways to me. When I got my first client, I called my mom, crying. We talked for about an hour. She shared her first, professional “win” with me, too. It was such a meaningful moment between mother and daughter.
When I got my first client referral from a previously-happy client, I shared that, with my loved ones, too.
And when I got my very first retainer copy job, I took my family out to dinner.
When you consistently celebrate your wins, your family, friends, and loved ones will start to really get a good grasp on both your consistency AND your expertise. They will see that you know what you’re doing and they’ll get it that others know you’re starting to be an expert, too.
Most of all, celebrating your achievements will keep your new career front-of-mind for them. In time, they’ll stop questioning you and will start to support you more and more.
Nowadays, when my mom hugs me, it’s usually accompanied by a heartfelt whisper of, “I am so proud of you, and I love you so much.”
Not that you need it to survive or make it in life, but you should never underestimate how good it feels when your loved ones are proud of you. Every time I hear those words of pride and love from my mother, it brings tears to my eyes.
Ultimately, Communication And Understanding Can Take You A Long Way When You’re Changing Careers
It’s a significant life change when you’re creating a new vision for your life. And if you have a family and close friends who care about you, believe it or not, but they are along for the ride with you.
What I learned was that life was easier when I kept the lines of communication open. It was also better when I empathized with whatever they were feeling and remembered at all times that they loved me.
Your loved ones might not always express it well, but I believe that love is the root of most of our relational problems. Even if they are a bit dysfunctional, the people in your life usually care.
When they honestly don’t, you’ll wan to distance yourself; however, this is not usually the case the majority of the time.
Sometimes, you might want to keep certain decisions to yourself, but I think it’s mostly wise to celebrate your wins with your loved ones, no matter how big or small they might be.
Have you changed directions professionally?
How has that affected your family, and how did you all handle it?