When the People You Go To For Help Aren’t Helping Anymore

We grow up looking to our parents for advice and approval.

They want what is best for us and have our best interests at heart.


To a point.


Many of us reach a stage when our parents are more concerned about protecting us than helping us continue to grow. Especially when our development threatens to outgrow our need for them. At that point we can’t rely on their advice when it comes to moving forward.


Sometimes our loved ones, our best friends and our colleagues aren’t the best people to talk to when we’re considering doing something new. They’re invested in the status quo. It’s human nature to be resistant to sudden change. It’s how we’ve protected ourselves as a species. Often unconsciously the people who love us will actively work to maintain the current nature of their relationship with us. As much as they offer wisdom and guidance to protect us, they’re also protecting themselves.


You being healthier, wealthier, more confident or more successful will challenge the status quo of your relationship. When you seek to do something that will lead to self improvement it means there may be an upheaval of your relative status amongst the people you know.


Your friend might be used to earning more than you, and a change in the status quo affects not only how he looks at you, but how he sees himself.


Your colleague is used to working alongside you at the office. The idea of you advancing your career ahead of her will cause tension.


You know you could lose a few kilos. The hints you get from the people around you aren’t neccessary because noone is more aware of it than you. But those same people are used to knowing where they stand in relation to you. Any change in how how fit you look or how strong you are is going to affect how they measure themselves by comparison.


In his recent book, I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons by Kevin Hart, Kevin with his co-writer Neil Strauss share the following.


Here’s some things people might say to you when you decide to pursue your dream:



  • I know you’re excited about this right now, but you can’t make a living at it.
  • Are you sure this is what you wanna do?
  • Take some time to really think about it.
  • Don’t quit your day job.
  • Stop dreaming. Be realistic, man.
  • There’s no money in it.
  • It’s not a smart choice.
  • There’s too much competition.
  • You’re not good enough.



Their solution? Don’t invite those people into the conversation. You already know what you want to dedicate yourself to, so you don’t need to ask for their approval.


I’d take it a step further, because even once you make a decision you sometimes need guidance and support.


Who is someone you can reach out to, that is not invested in your outcome?


Someone you can tap for wisdom, coaching and accountability who would be happy to see you succeed, but who’s life won’t really change one way or the other.


If you’re looking to improve your fitness, an example would be your personal trainer.


I’m not suggesting that you cut yourself off from your family or your friends, or that you stop communicating with them. But maybe it’s worth reconsidering how you share what you’re doing and what you want. It’s worth considering what’s at stake for the other person you’re talking to, who you go to for approval and validation, and why.


I’d love to hear your thoughts about this. As always, I invite you to share your insights and feedback by emailing me here.


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