Will my decision to build an unconventional business make me seem “uncool” to the people I hang out with on weekends? Will I be avoided in the grocery store, whispered about across the room, and fall off the party guest list?
My experience of 20+ years building my business is unequivocally “No.” I’ve lost track of past co-workers I used to go on runs with, neighbors I used to have backyard barbeques with and friends associated with former relationships, but none of them spurned me because of my choice to build an asset-based income. These people were what I’ll call situational friends -- whether I realized it at the time or not.
Friends who stay with you through address changes, changes in marital and parental status, and changes in employment -- the friends I refer to as kindred souls --want you to reach for your best life. Kindred souls listen to your dreams without belittling you, take the time to understand your choices, and cheer you on whether they decide to join you in your business endeavors or not.
You never have to worry what these friends will think. And I have to wonder why so many of us worry about what our situational friends might think -- since they change as our situations change anyway.
I remember a definition I once heard of the word status: Status is buying stuff you don’t need with money you don’t have to impress people you don’t like. Sounds pretty crazy, right? I believe status could also be defined as conforming to conventional types of employment approved by people whose lifestyle you don’t care to emulate.
So, in more than 20 years I’ve never lost a true friend because I chose to leave the job world. But what have I gained? Working in a field that attracts positive, proactive people -- and knowing these people by their aspirations rather than their complaints -- I’ve made more real friends -- kindred souls -- in the last 20 years than I did in the previous 40.
I’ve chosen not to let imagined reactions of situational friends decide my future, and I have more kindred souls in my life than I ever would have thought possible.