I know every story is different. And I’m not saying my story is any better (or worse) then anyone else’s.
I also understand that my goals are my own, my dreams are my own, and no one asked me to attempt to make those dreams a reality. No one told me to take this journey. So all the hardships that come with my compulsion to build something beautiful are the pains I have chosen of my own volition. I did this to myself.
I could have gotten a 9-5 like everyone else. I took the dive into business ownership for my own reasons. My arm wasn’t twisted, nor was I threatened. I own every bruise, scrap, and tear. I don’t hold others responsible for my happiness. People have their own lives to live, and to expect others to throw a parade because of the direction I take with my own life is silly, selfish, with a subtle splashes of narcissism. No thank you.
That is why I’m grateful for every smile, donation, and kind word given. These are gifts. And I accept them graciously.
And somehow, knowing all that, despite ACCEPTING all the above cognitively…one of my biggest and most traumatic experiences was realizing that the community of family and friends I loved so dearly and supported so assertively… didn’t love me the way I loved them. As long as I was giving and investing, there wasn’t a problem. So many whose dreams I had almost single handily bought to life without asking for any type of compensation suddenly distanced themselves from me.
Even when they gave up on their own greatness, I DRAGGED them to it, often kicking and screaming. They cursed me, hated me for bringing them to the light of their own brilliance. But once we crossed that threshold, once they began seeing the fruit and experiencing their own potential come to life, they were SO grateful.
Or so I thought.
And their gratitude was enough for me. I mean, they would do the same for me.
Or so I thought.
But when I started down my own path, building my own dreams, they suddenly did not have time… unless they needed help with being guided out of another personal crisis of their own design-then they had PLENTY of time. I don’t need to get dragged or push. I don’t fight help while also asking for it.
Nope. My request was simple:
“If what I create you find impactful, tell others about it. If it is not impactful, share with me critiques that will help me make it impactful.”
They didn’t hesitate.
“Of course Trav! It’s the least the least I can do” was echoed from friend to friend, relationship to relationship. I was excited. Their ‘support’ gave me the confidence needed to launch. I know I had many mistakes to make, but with my support system behind me, progress was, at the very least, a certainty. I could adapt and adjust to everything else as I went. I wasn’t scared of failure. I had my tribe behind me.
Advice about what I should do came in waves. I took it all in. I trusted the sources.
“ Travis, you really need to have a podcast.”
“ Why don’t you have a blog yet?”
“You NEED your own business Trav, You should be charging people for the value you bring.”
Now I look back at it…it wasn’t advice at all. The ‘how’ to do any of these things were strangely missing. I didn’t realize this until later. I just loved that my people where behind me, so it was up to me to figure out how to take their suggestions and make something of it.
But they weren’t giving me advice. They longed to finally be able to ‘teach me’ something, but not for the sake of my betterment. They didn’t expect me to actually take in what they offered and move on it. They thought I was like them.
But I did move on it. God blessed, I connected with my brother-in-law, (a ‘how’ guy), and things started to gain momentum. I was just so excited about having someone believe in me. I wanted to honor their time and effort by not slacking.
I didn’t recognize the disappointment in their voice when they checked in a month later, and saw that thing they pressed me to do was up and running. I didn’t hear the discomfort once they engaged in the content and realized it was already polished. I guess I expected an excitement, a building of synergy that occurs when the like-minded were on the same page.
They didn’t want to help me, per say. They were more interested in the opportunity to finally have me in a humbled position. I didn’t realize how my loving and helping them achieve success created a sense of resentment; a resentment that they thought would be satisfied now that they thought I was in a position of need. They looked forward to saving me, making me feel the discomfort of ego they often experienced when being saved by others.
I don’t need others to lose for me to feel valued. I don’t need another person to offer humility in order for me to feel good about myself. Someone asking me for assistance in their life plans and passions is an honor. It is sacred. I don’t feel a sense of euphorbia about myself by helping others. It is about THEM and what THEY need.
I thought EVERYONE was this way. Well, at least those who claimed to love me. I thought my endless loyalty and encouragement almost guaranteed a type of reciprocity.
I actually had a ‘friend’ read an article on this site, and become very upset. She is a teacher by profession, and I asked her to look over something I had written. It took her forever to get to it, which was WEIRD considering she was one of the individuals PUSHING me to write in the first place. She would basically scold me for not getting started fast enough.
She wasn’t expecting to be impressed. She wasn’t expecting to be robbed of the opportunity to critique. She confirmed this, almost on accident, not realizing how it sounded. As she engaged with more and more content, and saw the transformative value in my efforts, she finally admitted that she couldn’t really share or help anymore. My simple request was too much.
It wasn’t that she wasn’t moved by the content, or didn’t think it would add immediate value to herself and others; she was very clear that. It wasn’t that she didn’t agree with my viewpoints. She acknowledged that what I wanted from her should be easy. I wasn’t asking her to invest money or find clients. I wasn’t asking her to do anything she didn’t normally do.
But my efforts to grow reminded her of what she wasn’t doing in her own life. Of course, this didn’t stop her from sharing things from other people. Just not mine. Though she considered me one of her closest friends, I was moving too fast with my own dreams. My elevation exposed her stagnation; she was embarrassed by her own lack of progress.
I didn’t realize we were competing.
Her sentiment echoed across many of my relationships at the time.
I was hurt. If those who knew me best couldn’t get behind me, then who would?
This led to a very dark time in my life. I used my social circle to gauge my content, to figure out if how I voiced my opinions actually was getting across; if my ideas had validity. This had always been true. But as I became more engaged with my passions, that circle almost disappeared. I couldn’t gauge the value of what I was producing, though I still had this high desire to create. People who had benefited from my ability to counsel for decades now disappeared when I needed them. Communicating my feelings made me more alienated.
I felt lost.
I felt defeated and worthless.