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I see so many women getting stuck because of this: they are turning to their friends and family for feedback – on their ideas, their projects, their burgeoning dreams.

It’s natural. We’re thinking about something – a potential career change, a business idea, something we’d love to create. And next, some little voice in us wants to know: Is it a good idea? Am I crazy?

So we venture out and we talk to the people closest to us – our friends and family – about what we’re thinking. That part inside of us that wants the bolstering and affirmation says, “So what do you think?”

And then it’s tough because 1) a lot of the time they don’t get it, don’t like it, don’t think the idea is a good idea or 2) even if they do like it, have you noticed how their validation doesn’t really set you free to start taking action? It often leaves you wanting more emotional validation from others.

Here’s what I recommend: Do not go to your family and friends for feedback on whatever new idea/project/career move you are considering. What we get from friends and family is just too layered – full of their love for us, their desire for us to be safe, their own experiences, their own fears. (Are there exceptions to this? Yes, of course! But most of the time, making this shift does help us start moving forward towards our dreams.)

Let dear friends and family play that incredibly powerful role that family and friends can play – in loving you, in cheering you on, in being there to commiserate with you when it’s tough, to laugh about the crazy moments along the way. Go to friends and family for support – not for feedback.

For feedback on whether the career move is viable, whether the potential business has a market, whether that title for your book is as compelling as you think it is – all that kind of stuff – go to the people you want to influence and reach with your work. If the book is for young adult women, ask a few of them what they think of the title. If the potential business would serve busy working families, get their feedback on the concept. Ask recruiters or hiring managers in your desired field about how the career move you want to make could work.

Get feedback from the people you want to influence and serve – only they have the perspective to be able to give you accurate information on the feasibility of your idea.

This means, yes, you may have to do the sometimes difficult thing of asking explicitly for what you want from family and friends. For example – “I’m super excited about this new business idea! I’m going to test it out with potential customers, but what I really would so appreciate is some cheerleading along the way. I’ve never done something like this before and I’m kinda scared!”

This can be a little hard to do at first, but it’s so good to get in the habit of having that conversation with friends, spouses and family members – to tell each other what you are looking for when you bring a topic to them. It’s good for you to get in the habit of asking them, too: “What are you looking for from me right now – advice, my personal opinion, or cheering you on and emotional support?”

Go to family and friends for support. For feedback, go to the people you want to influence and serve through your work.


Love to you,



photo credit: STIL



Join the discussion One Comment

  • Anne says:

    I love your blog on not asking family and friends for feedback on work. This really resonates with me now and has helped me understand why I have been getting frustrated lately! I plan to be more specific about what I want from them in future. Thank you,

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