A hugely popular topic among our students is: How to know when to leave people behind who don’t support your coaching dreams?
If, since saying YES to your coaching path, you’ve experienced this in your own life from one or more people, read on!
Growth is scary. Not only for you who is doing the growing but also for your loved ones who’ve maybe only known a smaller, more fearful version of you in the past. Or for friends or acquaintances who may lack the courage to take such a bold step in their own lives, and so may unconsciously hope that you fail.
Our budding success can prove to be uncomfortably challenging for some people in our lives and they may project their insecurities and fears on you whether consciously or unconsciously now that you’re stepping into a NEW you and owning your path as a. Perhaps some people in your life are feeling one of a number of ways—most likely because they are afraid to lose you if you grow and change so much that you ‘outgrow’ them.
Here are a number of ways that people in your life may react to you spreading your wings and preparing to fly. They may:
- Feel threatened by the courage it takes for you to go after your dreams while they’re stuck in the same old, same old.
- Feel jealous as they witness you working hard to create a healthier, more alive version of yourself while they seem bent on self-destructive habits that don’t serve them and wonder why they can’t seem to make the leap too.
- Blame you for ‘moving on’ and moving up in the world and lay a guilt-trip on you for leaving them behind for fear that you’ll change so much that you may no longer want to be in relationship with them.
- Accuse you of entitlement, as in, ‘Who do you think you are to go after the life of your dreams while the rest of us slave away doing such and such?’.
- Warn you of the possibility of failure (which is all their own fears btw) and scare you enough to make you fall off track, lose your confidence and faith in coaching and drop out.
- Turn you off with with trying to be pragmatic saying things like, ‘No one makes a real living coaching’ or ‘There are already so many coaches out there, why would anyone choose you’ or ‘Nobody will pay that much for coaching’.
- Pull the card of, ‘Who are you to…’fulfill your dreams’ or ‘spend all this money’ or ‘quit your job’ or ‘be a healer’ or ‘take a risk’?
- Cut you out of their lives and tell you that if you choose this path, they won’t support you or that your relationship with them will be over.
These are just some variations of the more extreme ways that we’ve heard students talk about what people in their lives—be it friends, spouses, siblings, parents, coworkers etc—have said explicitly or implied after they’ve declared out loud that they are studying to become.
Perhaps you’ve experienced one or more of these statements from people in your own life, in more subtle ways, like your coworker who no longer seems to want to chat with you now that you’ve told her you’re quitting your job to become a coach. Or your sibling who keeps changing the subject every time you want to talk about your dream of coaching. Or your spouse who keeps bringing up “the money issue” whenever you show excitement about your new career.
Or maybe you’ve experienced people’s reactions in the extreme just like the bullet points we listed above and you’ve taken what they’ve said to heart so much that you’re thinking about quitting your coaching studies or giving up on your coaching dreams altogether. Or it’s left you with such a bad taste in your mouth that you’ve lost your enthusiasm and your drive. Or worse, you’ve started to believe that what they say is true.
No matter what it is that was said or who said it, if you are left feeling unsupported by someone in your life and that your vision for a bolder, brighter future, and a more empowered you is not seen and not heard, then maybe it’s time to bid farewell to this person if it’s an acquaintance or even a friend.
And if it’s a family member, then it’s either time to have that hard conversation where you first make sure that you are clear and grounded and assertive in your commitment to becoming a coach to the point that no matter what they say will not make you have a change of heart.
Or maybe it’s time to impose a “time-out” and let them know that you appreciate that they are concerned for your wellbeing (it’s likely their inner critic having these concerns in the first place) but that you trust that you know what are doing and that you are choosing to disengage in the relationship until such time when they can give you their support in your decision to become a coach.
Often, what will happen in time is that they will see you growing and thriving, even from a distance, and will eventually drop whatever baggage they were carrying that was in the way of supporting you and they’ll eventually come round to being there for you. And if they don’t, then maybe a longer time-out is needed.
We know it’s super hard to let go of those you love, or even those who may not be that close to you but whose opinions you valued in the past, but we truly believe that sometimes it’s okay to love or value someone and still let them go in order for you to better serve yourself and your future.
One of the most powerful things you can do if this comes up is to dig deep and remember your WHY. Why do you want to become a Health and Life Coach? What will being a coach do for you? Lean into that! Share that why with other students in the community and allow the belief in yourself to grow with others on a similar journey.
The amazing thing is that when others in your life witness you in your power, it often eventually gives them permission to start to embrace their own, if they’re able and willing. Otherwise, they will simply fade into their smallness and grow further and further apart from you as you spread your wings.
Remember, whenever we take a step towards valuing ourselves more, our relationships are forced to shift.
So don’t blame yourself for others’ reactions and trust that you have made the best choice for yourself and your future. The best advice we can give to you is to own your choice to become a. Wear it with pride. Declare it out loud and proud. Keep connecting with your why underneath the why—your motivating factor for wanting to coach. Remember how it felt when you said YES to this. And in the words of Henry David Thoreau:
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”—Thoreau
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