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Ask Rene: How Can I Reinvent Myself Without Support From Family And Friends?

Hello Ms. Rene:

I am so inspired by your journey both professionally and personally. I am also a former broadcaster now embarking on a new venture and it has been an extremely rewarding experience. After 20 years in radio, I am now a hair stylist with my own mobile hair service (I do protective styling for women transitioning out of relaxed hair to natural

The most difficult part of my journey is the reaction from former colleagues and family members; someone actually told me that I wasn’t living up to my potential. They treat me as if I’m doing something illegal by doing hair! In one year, I have more than 100 clients, dozens who come to me on a monthly basis. I am able to earn a living while being home with my children (another thing causing debate) and I’m making money.

So how does one reinvent themselves without the support of friends and family? How am I to react when people keep asking me when I’m going to get a “real job”? And since when did having your own business become a negative thing? I am excited about my new purpose, but it’s daunting to have people look down on me in reaction to it.

Signed: Disappointed in Denver

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Hi DiD:

Thanks so much for the nice words on my own reinvention. It was hard and honestly I’m not quite sure why I’m talking about it in past tense since it’s still very much going on. I’ve learned quite a bit over the past 5 or 6 years and I think I can help you. So here’s my advice.


*UNDERSTAND WHERE THEIR COMMENTS ARE COMING FROM: This is going to require you to go from being confused and (potentially) offended to understanding. You need to know a little something about human nature in general and about your friends and family specifically. Not knowing them, I’m going to take a stab in the dark and say there are two big motivators for their actions: fear and jealousy.

We are creatures of habit for the most part, averse to risk and change. When we see someone really going for it, it reminds us of our own fears and inadequacies that we let hold us back. How do we respond? By trying to share that with the person who’s making it happen.

“You’re not living up to your potential.”  Translation: you’re not living up to the dreams and goals I laid out for your life (how odd does that sound?).

“You shouldn’t do that; you’ll never make any money.”  Translation: What if she makes more than me? What if she’s blissfully happy?

“You need something more stable.”  Translation: Wow, I wish I had the guts to chase my dream.

All those thoughts, swirling around in the heads of the “safe players”, are prompting them to speak from a fearful place. That fear eventually turns to jealousy because you’re doing that which they wish they could. Get it?

*EXAMINE WHY YOU CARE: Let me see if I get this straight. You spent 20 years in radio and decided it was time for a change. You followed your passion and, not only does it make your heart sing, you are helping others. You’re able to better manage the elusive work-life balance. Now tell me one more time, who you give a sh*t about what these people think? You need to determine, RIGHT NOW, who you are living for, them (who will probably NEVER be happy with what you do) or you, who is ecstatic (and talented) in this new role. As I said a lot of people would love to do what you are doing, to have enough faith in their ability to give it a go. But they’re afraid, rooted in place by routine, no matter how dreary and boring. Why on earth would you, a clearly creative person, let people like that steer your ship?

*THERE’S NO ROOM IN YOUR LIFE FOR PEOPLE WHO MAKE YOU FEEL BAD: This is one of Good Enough Mother’s tenets and anyone who’s heard me speak knows it. What you are doing takes Herculean effort; it’s an “all-hands-on-deck” operation and every single person in your life needs to be helping move the ball down the field (can I add one more cliché in there?) or get off the team (yep, I just did). If these people are not doing that, regardless of whether you’re related, you gotta cut ‘em lose. I’m not saying you have to excise them from your life but you do need to spend a whole lot less time around them. People like that are emotional vampires, feeding off the chaos they create in your life. Don’t give them that chance. Find yourself a new “family” who will love and support you and want to see you succeed.

Let me break it down to its most basic level: Are you happy doing what you are doing now? Yes. Were you happy before in radio? No. Why would people who supposedly care for you, want you to continue in a job that made you unhappy? Don’t know; don’t care. Moving on.

Good luck to you… you’ll be great!

Do you have a question for Rene? She has an answer. Click here and fire away and don’t forget to follow the conversation on Facebook and Rene on Twitter.

More from GEM:

Ask Rene: Should I Take Any, Old Job?

Ask Rene: My Friend Double-Crossed Me; What Should I Do?

Ask Rene: How Do We Help Our Screw-Off Friend?



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Combing the aisles at Target in search of the best deal on Cheerios, it hit Rene Syler like the stench of a dirty diaper on a hot summer’s day. Not only is perfection overrated its utterly impossible! Suddenly empowered, she figuratively donned her cape, scooped up another taco kit for dinner and Good Enough Mother was born.

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