Here’s a valuable lesson I have learned (and continue to learn) from my involvement with various creative projects and entrepreneurial ventures:there is a major distinction between your friends and your fans.
Your friends are the people who love you because of who you are and the value you bring to their lives on a personal level. Your fans (boy, do I hate that word) are people who appreciate the work you do on an artistic or professional level.
Typically, when we decide to embark on a new adventure (ie. Go back to school, change careers, start a business, write a book, form a band, etc.), we run straight to our friends in pursuit of the validation and encouragement we desire. Many dreams have been shattered, however, by the disappointing reactions that friends tend to have. They may find our goals wierd, embarrassing, carefree, or unintelligible. But for those who persist in getting started, it is soon discovered that there is a whole world out there, beyond one’s familiar social boundaries, of people who seem to “get it” and love what you do.
Here are two cents I’d like to offer you regarding that phenomenon;
1) Stick close to the people who “get you.” Their ability to relate to your eccentric desires and unorthodox plans will be a valuable source of nourishment during the pivotal embryonic stages of your dream. Be grateful for having support and positive reinforcement in your life.
2) Don’t get bitter at your friends. Just because your Mom doesn’t “like” your Facebook status updates, your siblings aren’t impressed by your paintings, your significant other doesn’t read your poetry, your kids don’t see the point of you going to college after 30, and your best friends still don’t know (or care) about your new book inspite of the fact that you’ve emailed it to them 40 times, doesn’t mean that they don’t love and support you in the ways that really matter.Your fans may think you’re brilliant, but your friends will be the ones who still love you on those days when you have nothing brilliant to offer.
There’s a place for everyone in your life. Allow people the freedom to authentically embody the reason they’ve been sent into your life without trying to force them to play a different role.
Whether friends, fans, or a combination of both, people are of greatest value to you when you can accept and appreciate them exactly as they are.
At least that’s the way I see it.