In times of uncertainty, there is no other comfort in the world other than knowing you are not alone.
“You are on a one-way path to self-destruction.”
My father and I both audibly gasped louder than the villains overacting in a Bollywood movie. He couldn’t believe the words escaped his mouth while I hid the shame and shock under my sobbing. I could barely apologize for hanging up the phone when I came to a frightening realization. For the first time in my life, I felt like I did not have the support of my father–a man whom I have respected and sought guidance from my entire life. Years later, when we discussed this painful conversation, Dad honestly shared that he did not know how to support me.
Two years ago, I made the transition out of traditional medicine and being an employed physician to an entrepreneur. I had a clear vision to bridge Western Medicine and Eastern Wisdom to help people optimize brain and mental health. There was a gap between the time I had this vision and the present moment where I am thriving as a professional speaker and media personality.
Is your relationship strained with your daughter while she is looking for employment? Are you wondering how to support best her during a transitional period in her career? If Dad and I had a chance to fill the gap with more emotionally supportive dialogue, this is how we would flip the script.
1. What you may be thinking: “My daughter has gone crazy.”
What to say instead: “What is your vision? Tell me how do you want to make the world a better place?”
There is a fine line between being crazy and being a visionary, and that fine line is perception. Try to step back and visualize the dream, business idea and goals from your daughter’s point of view. Help her to articulate how she can use her knowledge, wisdom, skills and passion to focus on improving the world around her. Allow her the safe place to dream. The best gift during the dreaming and planning phase is to be present and listen with an open heart.
2. What you may be thinking: “Are you making any money yet?”
What you to ask instead: “How will you know that you are moving successfully towards your vision?”
I remember calling home to share the good news of my first television interview as a media expert analyst, my first by-line, and my TEDx talk. Just by hearing the joy in my voice, Dad helped me to celebrate and reminded me to ground myself in gratitude for the blessings. He told me later he was worried if I was making ends meet financially. Now looking back at the experience, we both realized that these accomplishments fit into my larger vision.
Remember that your vision of success may not be your daughter’s vision of success. There are points of celebration in the path of building a profitable business that do not involve money. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that a business without a monetization strategy is a hobby. However, each stepping stone of success is not necessarily measured by a monetary value.
3. What you may be worried about: “Does my daughter have a clue as to what she is getting herself into with this business idea?”
What to ask instead: “Do you have a mentor or business coach to help you in this process?”
I learned an honest and hard work ethic from my father. His wisdom and prayers helped me through the long years of medical school, neurology residency training, epilepsy fellowship, and working in academic medicine.
My entrepreneurial efforts took me into a new world of media, corporate consulting, and speaking. While these fields were unchartered territory for both of us, I was initially at a loss to identify reliable resources.
If you are at a loss on giving business advice, suggest mentors, a business coach, or a mastermind group. One of the most helpful pieces of advice Dad gave me may sound like an obvious step. “Have you run that idea and contract by an accountant and a business attorney?” To be honest, I was lost in my creative visioning and dreaming and had not thought about this obvious business step.
4. What you may be thinking, “I don’t know what to say to my daughter, I am worried about her.”
What I guarantee you that she is longing to hear, “I love you, and I believe in you.”
In times of uncertainty, there is no other comfort in the world other than knowing you are not alone. Strength is found in the feeling of being surrounded in an environment of support and love. My father and I are both physicians practicing medicine very differently. On this one point, we both agree: love is the ultimate healer.
No need to cue the dramatic Bollywood dance music, Dad and I figured out how to do our own happy dance. How will you celebrate your daughter’s journey?
Photo: Flickr/ Dan Perez