How Leaders Don’t Let Loved Ones Hold Them Back


By Jas Singh

About three years ago, I was working with a technology entrepreneur based in Paris.

He was a young guy – in his early thirties – and had developed a new type of software that allowed corporates to gather really useful competitive intelligence on how competitors were spending their on-line marketing budget. Basically almost exposing in real-time where your competition was currently advertising.

His business started to fly. I personally helped him hire over 25 people in 12 months. Focused and hard working, massive success seemed almost a certainty.

However slowly I noticed him started to get distracted. He wasn’t his usual decisive and motivated self. After a few weeks he told me himself that the reason wasn’t anything to do with the business. It was outside work.

Effectively, as it happens often, his friends and family had felt that his success had caused him to “change”. They felt that he was neglecting them. That he had become greedy for money. After a few months, he was arguing with his wife almost every night. Believe it or not, despite the years of hard work and struggle she wanted to him to give up his career as an entrepreneur, cash-in and retire to the South of France.

In the end, he begrudgingly sold his business. It’s now quadrupled in value in the last 12 months.

It might sound hard to believe, but in ten years as a hiring specialist I’ve seen this type of situation very often. People begrudgingly miss out on opportunities and growth because of trying to keep a loved one happy.

I’m not talking about compromising. Off course, in any relationship you can never have it all your way. Sometimes, your responsibilities elsewhere do prevent you from making that change.

I’m talking about not being held-back by another person unfairly.

Wanting to try a different career path but being criticized by your parents. Wanting to apply for that job but your husband wants you to stay at home and look after the kids. Believing that now is the time for you to go to University but being mocked by your kids as a wannabe.

But great leaders never let the negative attitudes of another hold them back.

Even loved ones.

Here are some ways how great leaders don’t let loved ones hold them back.

They realize it’s more to do with the other person than you

Criticism or rejection from a loved one hurts the most.

It makes us often look hard at ourselves and creates second thoughts. Have I really changed? Do I really only talk about business all the time? Have I really started to neglect my family all the time.

As social creatures, its the most painful of ironies. Why don’t the people who we are doing all this for in the first place support me? Don’t they realize I’m doing it all for them anyway?

But successful people in life realize that criticism is usually never to do with ourselves.

It’s usually an issue to do with the other person.

Great leaders understand that others often hold us back because they don’t want to be left behind themselves. When a loved one changes, we feel that we might lose them. To someone else.

Great leaders reassure others to deal with change. They try not to take things personally.

They realize loved ones mean well 

We’ve all been in situations when our loved ones do or say things that just doesn’t help.

Saying that the’re worried that we are working too hard. Asking us to “chill out” when the pressure is on. Insisting that we don’t go for the promotion since it might be too demanding.

Although it can be painfully frustrating, in most cases what most people forget is that are loved ones are usually the people that care for us the most.

The people who are most protective of us. Who don’t want to see us in pain or under stress – even though we’re prepared to go through this ourselves.

Great leaders develop support by consistently communicating their priorities. Explaining what is most important to them. They realize their loved ones mean well so take the time and effort to see their perspective.

Great leaders understand their loved ones mean well.

They get the other person involved

But as uniquely social creatures, there is a simple tool that all of us can use that almost instantly starts to help even the most cynical loved one holding us back.


Great leaders explain to their loved ones that they can’t achieve anything without their support.

Immediately demonstrating that their love is just as important and mutual.

But also getting the other personal interested and motivated to also succeeding.

Great leaders understand that in all aspects of life, relationships are partnerships. We can all achieve exponentially more by getting as many people around us interested and involved with our purpose.

Great leaders co-operate.


Our lives should never be a compromise.

We should never have to chose between our aspirations or our loved ones.

Hiring managers can gain much from those people who build healthy relationships and are not held back unfairly by others.

Is anyone holding you back?

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