Sunday, July 15, 2012

Afraid to Encourage the Success of Another

Why are we so afraid to encourage the success of another

 Today's topic is one which might be misunderstood or misconstrued so I apologize first if you feel uncomfortable or offended.  It's no secret I have stepped back into retail.  A very successful business that I built and grew back in the early 90's was a sad fatality of a divorce.  My heart has never lost that loving feeling for retail.  I am very grateful I was able to continue as a consultant to help others into their own dreams of running a business, which has brought me full circle, back into retail once again.

To family and friends, you start sharing the excitement of what is going on in your life concerning the new business. You share your ideas, your plans, the details of your business, how you are organizing it all. When starting something new it's easy to become that broken record of excitement and then the casual rolling of the eyes, from your friends and family,  "...she's talking about it again.." Now add in Social Media and you absolutely can not get away from the excitement, joys, and daily updates of the new business.  The reality is that those of us on the side of starting the business are like that of a pregnant lady, or the planning of a wedding, or okay the planning of a business whoopee!!!!  We talk about it  ALOT!  In a sense our family and friends become our board of directors to which we bounce all the ideas off of.

Slowly, friends and family  begin to tire of the updates, the conversations, and slowly  begin to step back and away.  Our family and friends begin to talk, and there are the questions of success or failure.  Questioning why you would do this?  Why would you  invest your time or money. "Why" questions often result in a side ways way of saying your are crazy for starting a business.  "Why" questions, often  result in a side ways way of saying, "you are not going to make it in this economy. You don't know what you are doing. You are going to fail, and it's painful to watch. Why would you be doing this?   Questions like this come often from family and friends.

I had a young gal in my home last week. She is starting off in her business, and she asked me how I keep plunging forward with confidence.  I had to be honest with her. I said I stopped listening to the comments of family and friends-->DISCLAIMER MOMENT: Not all family and friends. Okay, so if you are about to blow a gasket over how much you love and support me and I don't see it, this is not about your darlings.  This is about those who are nay-sayers, boo-hooers, and the such.

This precious gal shared how her parents think she is crazy, and why would she even consider such a thing.  Why?  Why do we consider such a thing as starting a business?  It's our passion. It's our desire. It's often our God given gifts playing out in real time through the business' we step into.  Guess what, don't tell anyone, but we just might fail at it.  And there the  nay-Sayers stand, saying, "I told you so."  They take great pride in being right. Yet the only sign we see ahead is this one.
And then when we do well at it, those same people say things like, "well they just got lucky."  A stroke of luck, really?  What most do not see is the long hours, the hard work and the planning.  What would happen if family and friends showed up with balloons.   The cheering squad.  Encouraging words and a helping hand?  What would happen if failure set in, those same family and friends came along to help pick up the pieces of failure, and offered more words of encouragement?

Over the years, as a consultant, helping business's get started I have had to break this news to many discouraged clients who came away from a family gathering feeling defeated and discouraged.  "The reality is, your friends and family will not be your biggest fans.  They will often be the ones to discourage you, question what you are doing, and only if you have success will they show up as your best friends. You have to be your biggest cheerleader."

Back to my original question. Why are we so afraid to encourage the success of another?

1.  Perhaps there is personal accountability and responsibility required if we encourage success and it fails.
2.  Perhaps we struggle with internal jealousy that "they" are doing what they love and you are stuck doing a job you hate.
3.  Perhaps you feel that they are not worthy of success because of the judgements you have placed on them.
4.  Perhaps your have mismanaged your life that does not allow you to live out your own dreams and passions therefore if you can't be happy certainly you can not pour some happiness onto another.
5.  Perhaps you think their idea stinks and it will never succeed, so why get excited and support the idea.
6.  Perhaps you are not a risk taker, and therefore encouraging another in their risk taking puts you at risk to experiences emotions you are not familiar with.
7.  Perhaps, there is a rule book you play by, and when seeing another not play by a different set of  rules, you are not able to step into their excitement and joy because it breaks your rules.

Sober estimating of our own hearts is a hard process. So much easier to evaluate and gauge the heart of another. There is no accountability or work in that.  Do you have a plan, a risk taking plan?  An idea you feel burning on your insides?  Do you have the resources to begin to live in that plan, that idea, that new business start up?  I have to say that risk taking is not something you do that puts your family,  your economics, your home, and  your ability to live at risk.  Careful planning goes into the best of risk taking.  It simply means I am stepping out into the unknowns of what I love to do. In my case design kids room, and run kids furniture and accessory store.  Success is best defined by this imag:  It's that desire we have and move into.

To those who come around me and bless my socks off.  I love your your cheers, your encouragements, your prayers when I tell you it's hard.  To my husband, who pops his head into my office, my eyes bleary, offers his encouraging words of love and support. A man who hangs from a ladder to see that my store sign is up on opening day.  To new friends in the business community I love how you have come around.  This post is not about you.  It's a generalization, said to protect the innocent, of a typical cycle of lack of support.  How many can raise their hand in knowing that quiet pain of the not having those important influences cheering us on?  It's human nature to desire that encouragement and support.

Embrace your confidence in the plan you have. Embrace the orchestrations of your plan, that confirm you are going in the right direction.  Listen to sound wisdom and be able to discern a nay-sayer from sound wisdom.  From experience, a very wise man told me I would never succeed in business.  He discouraged me from moving forward. Over 10 million dollars later, and a business I loved, I did not listen to that wisdom. It came from rules, and judgements of my lack of experience at the age of 25, and my lack of education..  I do not harbor ill-will in that wisdom.  What I have learned is to listen to my instincts, trust God is directing and be sure to have a team praying you through the process.

I can't say my confidences in business ever came from family and friends. It came from God placing on my heart, desires that burned in me, and then seeing His orchestrations unfold in ways that did not make sense.  Maybe you are reading this and don't believe in God.  Somehow, you have been wired with amazing gifts and skills, whatever meaning you give to that, you move forward in that and you see the blessings that come from your hard work.  I believe that is God pursuing your heart in the way in which he wired you. (wink-wink)

I encourage each person reading this to begin to encourage others in the places they choose to put their time and energy.  It's not you, it's not your dream, it's nothing you would ever do, but that does not mean you have to stand on the sidelines waving a finger of judgement.  As you see success in another take shape, begin to see the value that person has in how they are serving others with those gifts and pursuits.  Ask yourself how you are adding value in what you do.  You may not be a risk taker, a business starter, but your words can add value in all you say and do.

Encouragement is such a precious gift we give to another.  Pushing each of us to be better no matter what we are doing.  Blessings friends and family, Elizabeth


  1. This is great encouragement to those who need to know that they are not alone out there!

    I love hanging out with you dreamer-types! Look for me this week... I'll be the one with the bouquet of balloons!

    1. You, my sweet friend have a gift of encouragement and even with few words spoken I know this deeply. Thanks for cheering me on, praying, and running in the rain with me. Love, Elizabeth


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