Whenever someone asks me what is necessary for them to have in order to branch out and do their own thing/ take the road less taken – I always say make sure you have a core support system who will throw you a lifesaver and keep you afloat when you feel like your decisions and inability to cope with unchartered territory makes you feel like you’re drowning. (not only is this true with regards to starting your own business but in life in general as well)
I will be the first person to admit that I come from a place of privilege – where circumstances did not dictate the path I would take to sustain myself through life – Where I had a choice of what I wanted to do vs earning a living out of the necessity to survive… A luxury that a majority of our generation cannot afford.
That being said, it’s SO important to have a support system in place. The number of times you will have to grapple with self doubt – the times where you wonder if all the struggle and uncertainty would be worth it, will be way more than you could bother to keep a track of. There was a point in time where I was living off my savings and I chose to not be a part of social gatherings because I was 1. scared of telling people what I was doing with my life in case I FAILED miserably at it and had to do something else instead… 2. I didn’t know what to tell people if the dreaded question “So…. what do you do?” came up.
I SWEAR TO GOD.. In any situation when you are meeting new people MOST OF THE TIME, the first question they ask is “What’s your name?” and the second question will ALMOST ALWAYS be “WHAT DO YOU DO” (if you don’t ask it, they definitely will.. and IF you try and delay answering the question yourself and are happy with listening to them go on and on.. at some point (unless they are super duper self involved) they WILL ask you to elaborate on what you do with your time.)
I think the hardest part about having a long term plan and hoping the gamble will pay off is the gestation period. The period of time where you are training yourself (intern stage) and at the post undergrad/ masters stage, where a lot of your peers are doing well for themselves and earning a decent amount of money and establishing themselves in some sort of career, you’re stuck on the sidelines watching everybody pass you by. It’s a very frustrating place to be in.
THIS is where your support system aka FAM aka CORE CREW comes in. These are the ones who will bolster up your self confidence because let’s face it, at this moment in time, YOU are your OWN worst enemy. You’re in this vulnerable place where you’re not really sure if you took the right decision. SO you would need people to reinforce your sense of direction and purpose. For example:
Kirin: I’m really freaking out. I don’t know if I can do this. Like…I’m stuck in a classroom full of 15 year old boys because I want to get a solid foundation food production.. and ABC have are traveling here there and everywhere coz they’re doing so well at work. I’m such a loser. What if I take on a project and style for someone and I’m totally crap. what if they will all be able to tell that I know nothing and I’m figuring things out myself.
Friend/ CREW: Yeah… I don’t know why you’re going through so much hassle. I mean it’s not like this stuff comes naturally to you. You should totally just give up and get a normal job.
Result: Kirin would not be a food stylist right now. Kirin gave up the minute she thought that her near and dear ones did not have faith in her ability to pull through.
Now, Let’s see the response my friends and family ACTUALLY gave me (which i why I am doing what I am doing with my life right now)
Friend/CREW: It’s totally normal to freak out – I mean you’re doing something that you’re not comfortable with – but what you need to remind yourself of is the fact that at this point in time, you will only get better with time. and at a given point, you know more about this particular field than the other people working on the project! and even if you don’t HEY, you learnt something new that day. If you do end up failing, it’s not the end of the world! you learnt a new skill (it’s true – I learnt how to cook) and you can pursue something else that always caught your fancy.
I’ve always been a really strong believer in keeping those people around who add value to your life and your experiences through life. There’s already so much crap out there one has to deal with.. so many people and things taking their shots at you. Your support system is going to be the thing that sustains you and you don’t really need anyone to be attacking you from the inside.
Basically, the whole point of this blog post is totally selfish. What I have wanted to do for a long time now, is to take a moment to just be thankful for my friends and family who all in their own way pulled me through some tough times and inspired me to do the best I could because they’re such badass people themselves. guys, YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE AND I LOVE YOU AND AM AMAZED BY WHAT YOU HAVE ACCOMPLISHED IN LIFE and I will always be inspired by YOU.
Look at this wall. It looks strong no? I am this wall, and the vines that are around it look pretty fragile and delicate.. but here’s the thing. IF this wall were to shatter for whatever reason, the bits which have the vine on it, will still be intact. The delicate vine would essentially be holding the wall together and preventing it from crumbling into absolute nothingness. That is how i view my support system. WHO is your support system? Do they know how much value they add to your life?