I have musician friends and they’ve told me there’s nothing worse than showing someone a new song and hearing, “that’s cute.” Artists put hours into a three minute song only for those outside of their industry to demean it with words like “cute” or anything similar. It’s interesting to live in America during these times because we get mixed messages. We are encouraged to create our own businesses so we can have ownership and create our own wealth instead of making someone else rich. On the other hand, when you do launch that business, you are often met with cynicism and doubt from those in your circle. I know a visual artist who has been creating art since they were a child and they chose to pursue it as a career. Every now and then people ask if they are still “making their little paintings.” And that’s the problem. The word “little” needs to be removed from our vocabularies
Imagine putting time, money, and energy into something only to have it demeaned. When asked what you do and you see the look on the person’s face. They never said a word but their face asked, “is that a real job?” These questions and looks can eat away at the heart and soul of an entrepreneur if we allow it. There are some people who don’t have the vision to see beyond the typical nine to five form of employment and that’s fine. Contrary to what some think, everyone is not meant to start their own businesses, it takes all sorts of workers to keep the world moving.
All I ask is that those who aren’t chasing their dreams to stop demeaning those who are.
This also applies to the entrepreneur themselves. It does no good to sacrifice all that you have only to tear it down with your words, you get enough of that outside the walls of your mind. When people ask you about your start up, please don’t tell them that your company is “little” or ”just getting off the ground.” They didn’t ask for that, don’t give them more than what they ask for. As dreamers, it is our duty to protect our dreams. You started this because you had a flicker of inspiration and you are attempting to stoke the fire. Sometimes we present this small fire to those who only want to extinguish it with doubt and questions. Of course I’m not talking about those who want to make sure you are making good business decisions and are genuinely concerned. We know the difference between concern and derision. Protect your dreams, sometimes the fire inside is all you have to keep you going on cold nights.
When my artist friend was first attempting to launch their career, they had family members who accused them of not having a job. Saying if they didn’t have to clock in then it wasn’t a real job. One of their family members used to tell them that certain places were hiring. We get asked if we are still working on our business as if we haven’t put years to decades into pursuing our passions. As a performing artist with a website and consistent social media presence for seven years, I still get asked if I’m still doing poetry. I’ve been writing since 2008. The questions and comments will come, you have to expect them. After all, we can’t expect others to understand the dream that was given to us.
Your dream and career path isn’t “little.” Whether you are in the infant stages or you’ve been working for years with little to no results. Don’t allow others to sow doubt or tear down your dream. If you listen to that it will make its way into your heart and you’ll begin to question yourself. Protecting your business may mean you have to be assertive verbally. When someone asks how your “little” business is going, feel free to correct them. Let them know there is nothing little or insignificant about your path. You are trending to a garden and when the time is ripe you will reap what you have sown. You can’t grow weary nor can you allow others to project their doubts and insecurities onto you. Your business may not be as big or as far along as you’d like but believe me, there is nothing “little” about what you are doing.