Charlie Gilkey on the importance of having a good support network
I’m doing Chris Guillebeau’s 365-day Empire Building Kit at the moment, and when I came upon the above quote (from Charlie Gilkey), I felt such a sense of excitement and visceral connection that I roused my half-asleep boyfriend to read it out loud to him.
Every time I’ve attempted to do something remotely interesting in my life - running an awesome project that earns me close to zilch dollars, quitting my job to freelance fulltime, or flying to the United States on the probably-never-intended-to-go-through-with promise of a cocktail with Maureen Dowd - I have encountered naysayers. People who say things like, “Why would you want to do that?”, “Are you sure that’s safe?” or “Erm, okay, good luck with that.” Or as I’ll explore in another post later this week, “Who does she think she is?”
In many cases, these people have been my friends, which adds a nice dose of salt to the wound. But I’m sure we’ve all been there at one point.
The good news is that I’ve also encountered plenty of people who are enthused and supportive of these outwardly “crazy” (and certainly in some cases - like quitting my job to freelance after having published all of two articles - somewhat risky) ideas. People like Monica, or Lisa, or Ryan, or Tom, or the crew at Make Believe and the AYCC, the Being Born Again girls and countless others. Including my boyfriend, who has always been a “fellow traveller” when it comes to these things, and who cops the brunt of listening to my ever-evolving “ideas” - as well as having plenty of his own. (Speaking of which, I’m thinking of starting a support group for creative entrepreneurs, to have more people to bounce these ideas arruound with.)
As Charlie puts it in the interview, these people don’t tell you “that’s nice” or “you can’t do that”; they say “let’s see how you can do that”. Instead of telling you your ideas are impossible, they put them in the realm of the possible; instead of feeling alone and depressed, they lift you up and energise you. I can’t say how much I value having people like that in my life, nor how little I could fathom being in a relationship with someone who wasn’t like that.
What does your support network look like? Do your friends support you on your endeavours, or do they think you’re a bit mad? And would you be interested in joining an email list like the one I mentioned above?