One of the hardest emails I get from small business owners/dreamers are the ones that include “my spouse/boyfriend/family/etc” don’t support me, they don’t believe in me. They think this is impractical, the investments are frivolous, it’s harder than it’s worth trying for.
They feel alone and I don’t blame them, I would, too..and I have.
There was a time in my life I had an alcoholic parent slurring to my face one night and I can’t ever shake it from my memory, I was a senior year in high school…”Why can’t you get into JMU like your friend Teresa or Katharine? Or UVA like Jessica?”– comparing me to my friends, making my ODU acceptance look like peanuts and worth nothing. The truth is, it was a miracle considering my home life circumstances I got into college in the first place…and ironic that someone who was slurring was throwing disses my way, and I remember feeling burned and empty. The one person in the world who’s supposed to support you the most is always comparing you to your friends because bragging to friends and coworkers meant the WORLD to them, more than parenting or seeking treatment for drinking. But you know– where I had no support during this time, I knew I had myself. I learned EARLY that being your OWN SUPPORTER IS KEY, because there are times in life when we won’t have someone else to lean on but learning to love and respect yourself is powerful and priceless.
I remember letting those words hang with me for years, until I met my husband.
All of the things I was trained to feel about myself, that I was never as good as my friends, never as smart, never gave my parent quite enough to brag about to their friends..Mike was quick to eliminate as something for me to be concerned and insecure about. I was dropped off at college and rode the freaking public transportation bus for FOUR years before having a car to my various jobs trying to make ends meet– NO financial support from anyone, paying all my own bills, survived a sexual assault, drug use, horrible boyfriends and dark places I will NEVER go again. There was always a huge divide and disconnect in my home growing up, never talking about or dealing with anything..I was shown that avoiding the subject or drinking it away was the way to cope. For the longest time, I was shown there was simply no place to ask for help and support because people dealt with problems personally and toxically.
Now I know that support is the most key thing in the entire world for my business, and in family, in marriage, in motherhood, in social media connections with colleagues and vendors…support is necessary for me to thrive. If you have a dream you are desperate to chase, your loved ones should be more than willing to support you and with plans that are fair and feasible to your family, these dreams are MORE than possible! If it weren’t for Mike buying the camera that summer, if it weren’t for Mike saying GO FOR IT when others said “don’t”, if it weren’t for Mike saying yes– we WILL have baby and business..I am not sure I would be where I am today.
But first..it has to start with yourself. You have to love and support yourself enough and if you come from a family or childhood that didn’t always have the best display of real support, I’m here to tell you..your story isn’t finished, it doesn’t have to end with you not trying simply because you don’t believe in yourself or that it can be a possibility for you. You are WORTH chasing your dreams for, with or without someone to push you along the way, but I will say I’m thankful more than words can say to have Mike be that one thing that pushed me to really go for it all.
If you’re reading this and you have someone who needs that support, please be that for them. I don’t think Mike ever thought that little Canon Rebel he bought me years ago would have led to us traveling to England and BVI for weddings, having an image shown on the Today Show, have me traveling and speaking all over the East Coast…our life has become an adventure simply because he believed in me. Thank you for bringing me TO the sunshine and living in it with me, Mike Hedgepeth.