When you begin to share your important work with the world, a funny thing happens: some of the people closest to you don’t understand it.
They damn you with faint praise, or they point out something trivial that could be improved. Sometimes they never say anything at all, which of course is the worst thing.
When the time comes to show off your great project, you’re all, “Hey! Check out this thing that I did!”
And they’re all, “Oh. That’s nice.”
You feel crushed because you desperately wanted their approval, even though you knew this was probably an unhealthy desire. (Just because you know something to be true doesn’t mean you always abide by it.)
You wanted—and expected—them to say, “This is great! I always knew you could do this. How can I help make it better? How can we tell the world about it?”
But no, you don’t get that at all. You just get the the faint praise, the brush-off, the indifference.
Then you realize… maybe this thing just wasn’t that important to them. Or maybe you didn’t know them as well as you thought you did. How sad.
But then! Another interesting thing happens.
All kinds of other people suddenly appear. Your fan club. Your support crew. A small army of remarkable people.
These people are all, “WOW. THANK YOU FOR DOING THIS. Here’s how my life is different because of the risk you took and the courage you displayed.”
You feel surprised. Refreshed. Energized. And most of all, you feel responsible to keep going, because you see it was good that you went ahead with your project even if you weren’t universally loved.
Some of the people you expect to be your biggest supporters will disappoint you—and some of the people you rarely thought about, or didn’t even know existed, will turn out to be your true friends.
This is how it works when you begin to share yourself with the world.
It’s a funny thing.