Why no one wants you to succeed.

Not a day goes by that I do not look on some form of social media and see a big, bold ‘Quote of the Day’ beaming back at me, full of hope and promise. It’s usually along the lines of:

“Seize every moment.”

“Follow your dreams

Take chances others will not.”

These quotes are likely to be encircling a picture of a fist-pumping baby, or a cat which will not let go of the branch. The whole thing, I assume, is meant to give us the last bit of support we need to follow our dreams.

However, when I recently left work to write (hopefully full time)  instead of getting a slap on the back and “you go gett’em girl“, which the land of social media had been promising me all along, I got a whole heap of digging questions:

“What, so you…OK… how are you going to earn money doing that?”

“Oh, well, good luck, but there’s lots of talented writers out there.”

“Like J K Rowling?”


It’s a situation that happens over and over again. Idealistic, faraway dreams shared with family, friends and co-workers will have their undivided support (usually at a bar, around 1am, when the shots have dried up and the conversation turns deep). They may even crack out a ‘You Won’t Know Until You Try’ piece of wisdom. However, when reality strikes, they will be the first in line to say: “be realistic, darling.”

So, why is this? Why do we dream and share quotes and idealise life when we will never take the leap? And why do we brand those who do jump as ‘foolish?’

Walter Murimi says:

‘The thing is that when you become successful, your friends (with whom you were previously ranting about how hard it is to start a business) will not have any excuse to give when they ask themselves why they are not successful too. And they will feel bad about themselves.’

Statistics show that you will only be  as successful as your five best friends. Ignoring the money side of things for a momement – have a think about the people closest to you – are they in jobs that they want/are happy to be in?  Have they ventured out of the “employee” to “employer” spectrum? And the big question – will they support you in your life choices?

When I was at school, education in the UK did not teach entrepreneurship as part of the curriculum. Both of my parents worked for a company and the idea of having your own business or pumping money into your own venture was…foolish.

Working for someone else gave you security. It meant that your bills got paid every month. It meant that you didn’t have to put a shed-load of capital down on an uncertain gamble. It meant that when you came home at 6pm, you could forget about work.

Yes, we had family friends who had their own businesses and they seemed wealthy and content. But they were also working at 9pm at night, being the Sales Man, the Marketing Man and the Finance Man all in one. Oh, and also, the gross majority of small business owners that I knew were men.

But the work-life balance is changing for everyone. The majority of my friends have work phones and are emailing at 8…9…10pm at night. They have to catch up on a Saturday. They have to prove themselves every day – and this additional work doesn’t affect their wage packet whatsoever.

So, if you’re sick of the rat race and you want a change – what do you do if you want to be successful? Should you not tell anyone your dreams and then appear, full of hope and pink like a new born baby? Art Markman says just that:

 Identity goals are goals that ultimately influence a person’s concept of who they are. Careers choices are one kind of identity goal, but committing to a hobby, to being a good parent, or to taking on a volunteer or charity position may also be identity goals.

…when people announce an intention to commit to an identity goal in public, that announcement may actually backfire. Imagine, for example, that Mary wants to become a Psychologist. She tells Herb that she wants to pursue this career and that she is going to study hard in her classes. However, just by telling Herb her intention, she knows that Herb is already starting to think of her as a Psychologist. So, she has achieved part of her identity goal just by telling Herb about it. Oddly enough, that can actually decrease the likelihood that Mary will study hard.

So…uh-oh… have I really gone and shot myself in the foot by brandishing my goals on a blog?

Irrespective of whether you choose to tell people what you want to do as a career, to be successful, you must be motivated to succeed whatever the odds. Walt Disney, Donald Trump (hissss) and MC Hammer are amongst hundreds of well known entrepreneurs who became bankrupt before finally making their fortunes. J K Rowling famously got rejected for publication ‘loads’ before a publisher took her little book about Harry Potter on.

Consider the above situations for a second – how easy would it have been to give up if you became bankrupt? Would self-doubt have set in after the tenth rejection letter?

So whether your idea of success is money in the bank and a yacht in the sea, the ability to work from home,  or the desire to get your little blog up and running, I wish you all the success in the world. But… maybe don’t tell everyone what you’re up to. And, to leave you with a cringe-worthy quote, believe in yourself.



28 Comments Add yours

  1. This is the second blog post I’ve read about not publishing/announcing your goals and dreams in the last few weeks because of negativity and doubts from others ?.
    You must push yourself on, I know two business women that grew businesses from scratch, good luck ???

    1. hannahadkins says:

      Thanks so much Charlotte – I will do just that! Han xo

    1. True George says:

      There is something to it cause I heard it from multiple sources….

  2. Wendy says:

    I love this post – it’s so so true! Pressure’s working within an organisation and the increasing demands for no extra pay have become the norm and are causing so many people to suffer high levels of stress and ill health. You are really brave for taking that leap of faith and I wish you every success! x

    1. hannahadkins says:

      Thanks for your kind words, Wendy! I read a stat the other day that 40% of all sick days were related to stress. It’s sad really. Following you now 🙂 Han

      1. Wendy says:

        I’ve experienced it increasingly for the last few years and from my experience, I think society is creating a horrible work culture where ‘work/life’ balance is becoming non existent. Thanks so much for following my blog I really appreciate it! xx

  3. tina says:

    very insightful

  4. I really hate these sermons about how to succeed in five easy steps. It all boils down to: believe in yourself, go out there and be bold, you believe in yourself and others will follow you. In other words, whatever crap you write, as long as you’re pushy enough, promote yourself, and put yourself about enough you’ll be a success. It’s the kind of advice I can imagine Adolf Hitler followed. The awful thing is, in a way that is what you have to do. Oh well. There’s good company here in oblivion.

  5. Chris White says:

    Now following you … at a discreet distance so as to not arouse any suspicion. You are doing the right thing. Work hard but don’t knock yourself out. I rather like to read quotes but I do get hacked off sometimes with the feel good ones .. but hey, don’t quote me on that. All the very best. Kris.


  6. Reblogged this on The Bedroom Poet* and commented:
    They’ll tell you every reason why it’s wrong until you prove to them it’s right. Either way, follow your heart <3 Thanks for sharing Hannah 🙂

    1. hannahadkins says:

      Thanks so much for your comment:)! I’ve just read ‘Definitions’ on your blog – very good! Han xo

  7. maviconde says:

    Hi Hannah, I can relate with your last piece of advice because that has been my mantra ever since. Not to mention it works for me. However, there are times when your true friends would ask about what you’re up to lately. For someone like me that is so secretive, I learned that it is alright to share some info and be realistic about it. I do get you about announcing it to the world hehe 😉

  8. I always tell my family and my closest friends about the things I want to do… My father was the only one who wasn’t supportive in the beginning because he thought I was being impractical… He’s very supportive now, though. All is well for me.

    1. hannahadkins says:

      Excellent news, the ‘impractical’ side of it is I supposed the most hard for people to comprehend to begin with, so it’s great that you have the support network for your success. Thanks for the comment.

  9. It is what you believe and to tell others is to invite doubt and fear. Let your success speak for itself. Be like Noah. Despite the flood of facts raining down on him, he changed his world. You can too. Just believe you are the woman you wish to be. Assume you are it. Then the universe brings it to you. Whatever people or things you need to make it happen will come to you. Bless you darlin!

    1. hannahadkins says:

      Thank you so much Rita for your inspiring comment. I will definitely bring positive thinking into my work and hopefully it will bring luck. Wishing you the best.

  10. True George says:

    Yes, it is not a good idea to announce your plans to everyone especially those closest to you. They tend to be the ones who discourage you, and don’t give any support but jokes. Those are the ones you should consider cutting out your life……

  11. Hugh MacLeod in his book “Ignore Everybody” suggests that those who know you might not want you to succeed because then they’ll have to change their dynamic with you

    1. hannahadkins says:

      That’s an interesting concept, Matthew. Thanks for sharing. I suppose from my perspective it seems accurate – if you succeed, no matter how hard you try it could affect relationship dynamics positively or negatively. Hannah

  12. kholood Azz says:

    Reblogged this on Eglantine and commented:
    “So, why is this? Why do we dream and share quotes and idealise life when we will never take the leap? And why do we brand those who do jump as ‘foolish?’”

  13. totally with you on that one!

  14. oli527 says:

    I was just talking to my self about all this. lol To have your “friends and family” not show a lot of support can be very disappointing. It’s sorta of shocking to think they don’t want you to succeed and it recently made me feel so vulnerable, alone and question my sanity… is all this worth it? No one is gauranteed success. I have to remind my self every day i’m doing this for me; most of them never believed in me or understood what I wanted to do in the first place. I’ll just have to show them. Exhale… one step at a time.

    1. hannahadkins says:

      Very well said – you are right, no one is guaranteed success, but if it was a certainty, everyone would be throwing caution to the wind! I truly respect your self motivation. Thank you for commenting, I wish you all the best, Han x0

  15. Inspiring read! Kavesha

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