Thank GOD my name finally appeared on a book cover in 2012, or my Mom would still think I do some sort of secret side hustle selling drugs.
I’ve explained ghostwriting and e-book revenue, but her response was simple: “Why would anyone pay for a download?”
She’s stuck in 1995, when the internet was full of chat rooms and AOL Instant Messaging conversations, so she’s confused by what I do. She’s even more confused by orphan hugging. I appear to have healthy ovaries — no one has told her otherwise — and I’ve been in a relationship for years, SO WHY NOT JUST GET PREGNANT!? IS IT SO HARD TO GIVE ME A GRANDBABY, KRISTEN!?
This predicament is common enough when you’re trying out something new in your business or personal life. Whether you’re aiming to study penguins, remodel your house, travel the world, fight disease, spread awareness, educate the public, or educate yourself — someone close to you will most likely be appalled by this new-improved, going-for-your-dreams version of you.
Here’s my three-step system for handling loved ones who think you’re batshit insane:
1.) Listen, no matter how much you want to throat punch them. Listen all the way, without shouting or screaming or sarcasm.
2.) Let them know that you’re going to complete the project with or without their support, but you’d prefer the “with” option.
3.) Ask them to participate in your project.
Yes, ask them to participate. Maybe they’ll say you’re a nutjob and blow off your offer. But maybe they’ll be glad you asked. They’ve got dreams that didn’t happen and secret projects they’d like to complete, so maybe they’re just jealous that they’ve never gone traipsing the globe on their heart’s mission like you’re about to do. It’s not that they don’t want you to go, they just want to feel included in something that matters to you.
Don’t assume any task is too small to be taken for granted.
Ask your loved ones to print your itinerary and add it to your calendar. Ask them to pick up your dry cleaning or help you find the perfect water-wicking travel pants. Ask them to schedule your shots at the travel center. The task itself doesn’t matter, but the participation does.
Asking for your family’s active participation means you love them and you’ll be returning. You aren’t leaving them behind — and better yet, they get to take credit for helping your project come to life.
It’s the easiest way to get support that I’ve come across so far in my travels.
P.S. Of course we deserve it.