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Support is a Verb

There’s a really cool store in Ponce City Market in Atlanta called The Village Market.

It carries products by Black-owned businesses and Black entrepreneurs.

It’s a really cool store and even cooler concept.

They have this fabulous wall, the feature point of the store, highlighting their slogan in giant neon letters - Support is a Verb.

I was so struck by this phrase.

And I have been reflecting on it, can’t get it out of my head, for a while now.

It has had a profound impact on me.

Here’s why:

Apparently there is a truth that many, many entrepreneurs have learned, but no one really talks about.

I have been feeling the effects of this truth for quite some time, but didn’t have the correct language to put around it.

Now I do.

The truth is, I have been shocked and disappointed to figure out that many of my relationships (friends, colleagues, family, etc) are cheerleaders, not supporters.

The hard truth I’ve learned, and had backed up by some mentors, is that most of the relationships in your pre-entrepreneur life cannot or will not support you.

Either because they aren’t in a position to, don’t know how, or don’t have it as a priority in their lives.

And, I guess that’s ok, I just didn’t know.

I had misaligned expectations.

I fell victim to this particular plight of an entrepreneur.

Because Support is a Verb.

Being an entrepreneur - especially a sole proprietor - the rejection is often silent.


No one in my life is saying, "Oh, she’s going to fail. Oh, she sucks."


Here is what IS happening:

They aren’t answering my emails.

They aren’t hiring me.

They aren’t giving me referrals.

They aren’t interacting with my social media.

They aren’t giving me a testimonial after I work with them.

The rejection is silent, and to me that makes it even more painful and harmful.

Because Support is a Verb.

This realization, this truth experienced by so many entrepreneurs, has made me come to some conclusions:

1. I need to evaluate my relationships. Where am I putting my energy? Who am I investing my time in? And are they investing in me?

It’s not that I'm not trying to "get something out of" those relationships.

Actually, it's the opposite.

I want to spend my energy on relationships that are supporting me. Not just being my cheerleader.

Which brings us to…..

2. Cheerleaders are not Supporters.

Encouragement and affirmation are nice, but they don’t help. I don’t need nice words and encouragement to succeed. They are lovely, and appreciated, but are also cheap and fall flat when they aren't backed up by action.

Now listen listen listen -

Everyone knows it’s awesome to be told “you’re doing a great job!” “you got this!” “I’m so excited for you!” Etc etc.

I don’t hate it, ok!

Something can be lovely and wonderful and kind - and also not helpful.

And at the stage I’m at in my business, I need help. Not cheerleaders.

Because Support is a Verb.

It's a VERB. An action. Actually taking the time to DO something.

I need people who can hire me or help me get hired.

I need professional partners.

I need people who will refer me.

I need people who will not ask me to work for free.

I need support.

Because Support is a Verb.

It’s taking action to help me and my business succeed.

So I want to challenge you to support your small business owners. Take a minute and strengthen your relationships with them by offering your support, even in a small way.

We love our cheerleaders, but our support systems are who make the biggest difference.

Because again, support is a VERB, y'all.

Can I get an Amen?!!

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About Karli

As the owner of Karli Sherman Productions, I am a professional speaker, leadership coach, and executive coach. I help companies, campuses, and individuals to level up and grow through professional development workshops, intensive coaching, and keynote presentations.

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