Dealing with pressure from parents is such a big topic for so many young people out there.
They love their folks and don’t want to upset them, but at the same time, they want to go out and do what they love.
I have empathy for people in this position because they love their parents. They appreciate their sacrifices.
But the truth is, your parents will be proud of you in the end no matter what.
You’re better off having problems with them now (in the short term) than for the rest of your life.
Because that’s exactly what’ll happen if you live your life for them.
The following segment is an excerpt from AskGaryVee Episode 239: Charging Clients, Personal Brand or Business Brand & Advice to a Senior in College. The caller is a soon-to-be college grad who wants to spend 18 months going and doing what he wants to do. He wants to go discover himself, but his parents want him to get a safe job.
Check it out below:
Gary: Nate, how are you?
Nate: Dude, this is awesome!
Gary: You’re on the show baby.
Nate: Sweet! Okay so this is what my question is, and I think I’ve tweeted at you a couple of times. I’m a senior in college right now, and I’m finishing school because I want to give my parents and my grandparents [satisfaction].
Gary: It matters to them.
Nate: Yeah, it matters to them.
But how do I tell my parents that I just want to go do for 18 months?
Gary: So what, they want you to get the safe job after college, is that what you’re saying?
Gary: Just tell them. You’re a big boy. It’s time.
Nate: Okay. Okay.
Gary: I mean really. Listen, “easy for me to say” because your dad might punch you in the mouth, right? I get it. But here’s what’s interesting about a lot of my advice: It’s black and white. Like, you know your parents. Clearly your signals and nuances haven’t worked because they continue to want you to go down that path.
They’re not responding to you. They’re responding to what they grew up with and what they believe religiously. Right?
Gary: So that means the soft way of “hey, maybe… “ is not working, right?
Nate: Yeah, yeah that’s totally right. I keep getting these lectures from them.
Gary: It’s time for you to lecture your parents back. One of you is gonna be right. Let me promise you one thing: You really, really don’t want to be 47 and hate your parents.
Gary: Because you’re not actually hating your parents, you’re hating yourself for not having the balls to do it. You want me to come over and have that talk with you?
Gary: You think you got this?
Nate: Yeah, I’ll give them a call right after this.
Gary: Dude call them right now, and tweet me how it went. Let me pump you up a little bit more, I’ll be your corner man.
You start with “Mom / dad I love you. I’m 23 years old. I did [college] for you. Now I have to do something for myself. It’s high risk / high reward, but when you’re 23 that’s what you do.
I’m not going to be able to do this when I’m 47 and it’s not practical. It is practical, Mom / Dad for me to go 18 months and just do and discover myself. I’ve been doing the thing for you my whole life, and it’s time I do something for me. And if you can’t support me in that, that’s fine. I prefer you do, but I’ve got to do this as a man.”
Nate: Okay, yeah.
Gary: You don’t sound pumped enough. Talk to me, what are you scared of? This is why I’m doing a call-in show.
I’m telling you right now I don’t think you’re going to do it, and if you do do it, you’re going to do it half-assed. So help me understand what you’re scared of, tell me the truth.
Nate: Yeah well, it’s just because of the pedigree, the education, and how much they’ve sacrificed, I don’t want to disappoint them.
Gary: Let me help you here: Disappoint for 18 months, and then make them feel good again.
I love you for that. It means you’re appreciative and you love your parents. Tell them the truth, start with that.
Either 1) your parents love you and will respond to you, or 2) they love you but they’re so deep into their structure — it’s been religion their whole life that they’re incapable to break through and see it in a different way.
The problem is, it’s your life and it’s going to end up one way or the other.
Nate: Wow, yeah.
Gary: Like, you just gotta tell them “I don’t want to let you down” and remind them that it’s only 18 months. For the next 60 years, you can do the safe thing that makes them feel great. You just need 18 months, all you want is 18 months.
Nate: Yup, and I wrote down the date.
Gary: Sign a contract. Give yourself 18 months and then show them.
Gary: Are you gonna do it now?
Nate: Yup, I’m going to hang up and call them right now.
Gary: Tell me, who’s more scared of this move?
Nate: My mom.
Gary: Go there man. Tell her, “Mom I love you with all my heart. I’m so thankful for your sacrifices, all I need is 18 months — I can’t live with this regret in my 30s, 40, or 50s because I’m going to crack and be a broken man. I need 18 months, and I promise if I can’t get traction, I’ll go wherever the hell you want me to work.
Navigating family pressure
So many kids out there are struggling with balancing the expectations of their parents with what they want for themselves.
The truth is, appeasing your parents is a long term vulnerability to your relationship. Because eventually, you will resent them.
It’s tried and true.
That might not feel “real” to you right now. But when you’re 29, when you’re 42, when you’re 61, you’ll realize that that the thing you were doing to make your parents happy is what ultimately will destroy your relationship with them.
If you need to have this conversation with your parents, I hope this article pushes you to go do it.
Check out the full video clip below: