Don’t expect your family to be impressed when you finally become famous. Last year I published my first book, “Scrappy Project Management – The 12 Predictable and Avoidable pitfalls every Project Faces.” It was a huge success. (Well, certainly nothing on the order of Harry Potter, but pretty big for a project management book) We had 150 guests at the launch party, and the book has been among the top project management books in the US since the October hullabaloo. What’s my family’s reaction? I’d have gotten more attention if I’d gone hunting and dragged home a deer with a big set of horns. You see, my family loves hunting and they get all excited about a deer flung over the hood of a car or a nice freezer full of freshly butchered deer chops. (I’m actually quite a good shot myself, but refrain from hunting because I don’t want to kill cute animals, even if I do eat them occasionally. ) But would they get an adrenaline rush from a family member writing a book on project management? Definitely NOT on the top ten list of things that gets them to put aside the remote control. Even though they seemed less than impressed with what took me 3 years to produce (heck, that’s WAY longer than the 9 months it took for my siblings wives to produce grandchildren), I sent my mom and dad a book, and both brothers, too. They promptly used them to prop up their computer monitors to achieve a more ergonomic PC configuration (I think my mom swatted some mosquitoes with it first). Read it? Well, they read the acknowledgments to make sure that their names appeared, but I had to threaten to divorce my father before he grudgingly read halfway through the damn thing. If only I’d produced a couple of children to carry on the family name . . .
But, seriously, what was I expecting? Our families are not put on this earth to love us, nor understand us. After nearly 50 years on the planet I finally realize that I have almost nothing in common with my wonderful family besides my genetic material and a lot of shared memories, the good, the bad and the ugly, like most normal families. And I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world.
If you become famous, don’t expect your family to be the least bit impressed. There are no standing ovations at home. There’s no one asking for an autograph. They just want you to take the recycling down to the street and stay out of the path of their view to the TV. Parenting is tough work. At the end of a lifetime of raising us and worrying about us, most of our moms and dads are just grateful that we didn’t wind up in prison, and our siblings are likely to be so far behind in their email that they won’t even get the message that you made it to the top. With any luck at all our families will be there when we’re on our way down again, into the inevitable oblivion that swallows up all human acts, our leaving this planet.
Until that fateful day, let’s be grateful for the gifts that they bring into our lives, no matter how they are wrapped.
Stay Scrappy! Kimberlyby