Over the ten years I've been running my CIC I've sadly had to distance myself from many of my old friends. On a positive, I now have many new like-minded friends, many of whom have CIC's or similar artists or business owners.
It may seem ovbious, as we all know if you surround yourself with positive people it rubs off on you. But nothing sets you up for some of the hurt you experience from those you have known for years.
It is very common with CIC and being grant funded, that people just won't get it!
People won't understand or LIKE IT that you are gaining grants of tens of thousands, working less and doing all this wonderful fluffy community stuff with a smile on your face.
It's just a sad fact about humans that many feel a need to compare themselves to others. And you doing such an incredible successful career you went out their and got for yourself makes them feel that makes what they do look bad.
So they make comments.
They don't show up to your events. They don't ask about your projects impact, they won't like your social media posts.
I remember many many times I felt misunderstood by families and friends I knew were saying negative things about what I was doing.
They thought I shouldn't be helping young people at risk of offending with their music, those people should just get a job and stop rapping. Why was I getting grants for arts when the country doesn't have money for basic health and social care services. I shouldn't be going on holidays and living the goodlife with grant money I earned from public grants. Bla bla bla
Hey, they have the right to an opinion of course! I get that resources are tight and things are hard.
BUT I needed to distance myself from them and bring in to my life new people. So I started networking with others who do what I do. I met my friend Mandy we started doing projects together we loved, including one in The Gambia. Travelling with her and having such a equally passionate person in my life has done me the world of good.
It actually give you confidence to pay yourself more and not feal guilty. It makes me get more ambitious about my projects and be bold and proud when I promote them.
Now I'm a consultant I post confidently all the time about what I do and stuff like money. I've actually noticed I'm inspiring others and growing their confidence. It's giving people that boost they need to power forward with their CIC.
As you get older you don't need loads of friends, you just need quality support.