You’re setting your out of office on Friday (or you’ve already done it, you lucky you!), you are gearing up for a week of too much food, laughs and loved ones (even if via a webcam this year).
And then it hits you. They’ll come with the questions, the judgements and the not understanding what it is you actually do, no matter how many times you’ve already explained.
Oh trust me, I’ve been there. Heck, in a couple of days I too will be faced with the incredulous faces of “you left your full time job in the middle of a pandemic to do videos on Instagram?!” (oh, the cluelessness, I’m expecting that too). And, I too am dreading it!
So I started to think… how can I stay true to what I believe and the path I chose, how can I BE myself, whilst still maintaining the peace and love desired especially over the holidays?
I came up with a 3 step game plan, and I’m sharing it with you, in the hopes you too can step onto next week with a cute jumper and a light heart.
1 - Adjust your expectations
and expect the questions
Whether it’s genuine worry from your family, or the oh-so-human trait of nosiness, you know the questions are coming. Expect them. Expect also that some people will not understand exactly what it is you’re doing, even if you’ve explained.
My business mentor, Fiona Barrows, told me once, and I have been having that thought with me at all family and social “events” since starting my business:
“If they really don’t understand, just tell them how happy you are, how much more fulfilled you feel and ask them if that’s not the most important thing, for you to just be happy. If they still don’t get it, smile and change the topic”.
So, expect the question, adjust your expectations so that you’re ready that not everyone will in fact understand how or why it is you do what you do. But be certain you are on the right track. You are doing you. (Should I add the “bo” or is that trademarked?)
2 - Genuinely return the questions
After you’ve explained for the third time, and they still don’t quite get what you do, why don’t you return the question? Genuinely be interested in the replies, in the stories, and do try to understand why is it that Uncle Charlie has been an accountant for 35years. Ask them what is their favorite part of the job, get them to describe a normal day at work, to share a funny office story.
This is my version of “kill them with kindness”. You may not understand why Charlie can be happy crunching numbers for 35 years, but by god you WILL be able to step on his shoes and have his sparkle reflect off of your own eyes.
This will show them (hopefully) that you may not understand something, but you can still be supportive of the ones you love.
3 - Define and keep your boundaries
You have said it on stories, you have written it on your out of office, and yet you find yourself on December 24th checking that last minute email you saw popping up on your phone. No! Bad you.
Respect the boundaries you’ve defined for yourself. As much as you may be missing your accountability group over on Instagram, or dying to see if any more purchases have been done on your Etsy shop, if you have defined a few off days (which I HIGHLY recommend), keep them.
The emails, the orders, the IG friends will all be there on the 27th (or whenever you decided to return), and you will have given your brain a much needed vacation. Which, after all Charlie’s questioning on Christmas eve, will have been very much needed.
Now, I’m not saying you can’t show off your Christmas table or glamorous desert on stories if you want to, but please don’t do it out of fear your audience will unfollow you if you are silent for a few days. Remember, everyone will be enjoying their own version of this year’s holidays, and everyone will “forgive you” (there’s nothing to forgive, but I struggled to find a better word here, haha!) for actually taking some time off.
It’s no lie what goddess Mariah says: “All I want for Christmas is you”. So sing it to yourself and sing it loud! Maybe even ask Charlie to accompany you, after a couple of mulled wine cups.*
And that’s it, my 3 step plan to being true to yourself this magical time of year.
But now, I’m getting the oh-so-human nosiness bubbling up and I’d love to know: What is the question you are dreading the most this Christmas? Maybe I can dig up a fourth tip just for you ;). Let me know!
*please, drink responsibly. Don’t want to be endorsing drunkenness here, lol!
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