Who is your cheerleader?

I’m writing a book about inspiring and entrepreneurial women who are pursuing their passion and building a business based on their talent, personality and purpose. I’ve been doing a lot of interviews lately and there is a common theme that is coming through. All women who end up starting a business have a ‘cheerleader’, normally a partner or a husband who gives their unquestionable support to their dreams and ideas. Some are blessed with supportive parents and friends, but most times those people belong to the protective club, people who try to prevent you from making an ass of yourself and stop you from making what they consider ‘unnecessary mistakes and stupid career moves’.

I interviewed Farnoosh Brock about her journey. She left a successful corporate career to chase her dreams and to become an internet entrepreneur. I was particularly interested in the transition phase and how she overcame the inevitable doubts and fears. I asked her if she had a lot of support from her friends and family. She told me that apart from her husband she did not get any support. Her view was also that it is not fruitful for anyone to seek support and approval from others. At the end of the day it is your own dream you are chasing, it is inside your head and other people will not understand it the way you do. She writes about ‘the language that celebrates courage’ in her blog Prolific Living. I thought it is a great idea to make people more aware of the language they use so they’d be able to become supportive.

Sometimes it is easier to talk to people who you don’t know about your ideas as they will not have any preconception about you. New people will take your dreams as part of you, as a part of the whole package of getting to know you. People close to you may not approve your ideas and who you are in order to control you, to keep you in their own comfort zone. It becomes like driving with a hand-break on. Not pleasant.

When I was building my first company, a branding business, I used to work 14 hour days 6 days a week. I’m not telling you this to get brownie points, those are the normal hours most entrepreneurs put in at the start of their adventure. I’m telling you this because those hours were difficult for my at-the-time-husband to stomach. He always wanted to have successful wife, but not too successful. And as I was starting to edge on a little bit more success than what he thought was necessary, he got very uncomfortable, and very unsupportive. At the end I had to divorce him, but that will be a story for another session.

It is not easy to look at the truth into the eyes and discover that your partner is a ‘sledge full of heavy stones’, a burden that you have to drag along rather than someone that gives you an extra boost of energy. One should understand who around you are consuming your energy and who are giving positive vibes. It is not surprising if you have no stamina left to do something for yourself if you spend all of your time pulling heavy loads around.

Looking back, I could have really used a supportive partner when I was building my first business. Now that I have a real cheerleader as a husband, it is fantastic, but I think I need it less. When I was younger I let my self-worth be defined through others. Now I just don’t care, I just do what I have to do and I trust he will love me regardless.

Do you have a story about support you have received from your spouse or someone close to you? Did you get unexpected coaching from a stranger that gave you a real boost in your journey? Or have you felt people around you are trying to stop you from moving forward? We would love to hear your story. It could be that story that inspires someone and turns a dreamer into a doer.

~Miisa

2 thoughts on “Who is your cheerleader?

  1. If I did not have rock-solid support from my business partner who saw me through a serious illness just a few short years back and my rockstar husband whom I also work with, I would not have been able to steer my way through my multipassionate serial entrepreneurship career spanning six companies to date.

    I started my first business at age 19 – clueless & determined to succeed – only to have our CEO embezzle the co. funds and move to Spain a year later. Some people pay to get an MBA in school. I paid for that degree in the School of Hard Knocks and the currency was not only money owed but a hefty sum total of blood, sweat & tears. I would not change a thing. A professional athlete client of mine recently taught me that we either win or we learn. We never lose.

    I’m grateful for my parents who have never once told me to quit this crazy nonsense & get a real job with a predictable income. They’ve seen the highs & lows and never given me the “I-told-you-so” rap.

    I’m also grateful for the countless clients, mentors & coaches who I’ve had the honor to work with. They teach me every day. The random rastafari dude who stopped my 19-year-old self at the subway station and asked me: “Who are you? No, I mean – who are you, really?” My high school teacher Mr. Propp who hardwired “What are the implications of this?” into my nervous system.

    And just as I was reading to my daughter a faded children’s book that was read to me countless times my rockin’awesome mom when I was a little girl, I had an epiphany: my defining moment as an entrepreneur probably happened as she read to me the tale of Mrs. Mooley – a cow that jumped over the moon. With a little bit of practice and determination, it’s not only possible. It’s inevitable. (http://bit.ly/YKGfgv)

    • Awesome! I love the quote: We wither win or learn. We never lose. Let me use that :). I think the childhood moments are an important are you brought up. Most women get ridded off their determination and dreams when they are brought up as nice little girls that are supposed to please others. I don’t know where this thought will take us, but I’m going to expand on this soon.

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