A wasted adolescence partially filled with twelve-hour marathons of VH1's Behind the Music led me to believe that all success looked like MC Hammer's success: You hit it big, society renamed a style of pants after you, and pretty soon every cousin you never knew was camped out on a leather couch that used to be a Walmart futon.
Then, I hit it big.
Or, sort of big.
Exactly five years ago, I wrote a blog post on LinkedIn that went viral. Then, I wrote another, and another, and another, until that writing led to starting a communications and content marketing company, more than a hundred thousand followers on LinkedIn, relationships with major media outlets, and the opportunity to become a twice-published novelist.
More than anything, though, for the first time in my career I began to feel a sense of professional purpose. I no longer started to get nervous gas around 1:00 PM every Sunday. I no longer dreaded my workweek. In fact, I no longer had a workweek. I worked all the time and none of the time, because while being an entrepreneur is harder than anyone can ever convey in an article like this, I am doing what I love, with people I love.
But, while I'm still holding out hope that one day a '90s-era loose-fit Silver Tabs will be renamed "McKissen Pants," family and friends haven't exactly rushed to bask in the glow of my achievements. Granted, I don't have a mansion with a wrought-iron gate featuring my initials like MC did, but to use another dated rap reference (this one courtesy of 50 Cent), I thought people close to me would be happy I made it.
Turns out, that's not how life works.
If you plan on truly becoming more, of doing the sort of things people around you believe only other people (other people being no one they know or are related to) do, then you should know not everyone will root for you on the way up.
Your "friends" will tell you every mundane detail of their bathroom break schedule at their corporate 9-to-5, yet their face will contort into an angry glazed donut when you share the details of your day.
Distant family members will at first ignore your achievements, and when they can no longer ignore your success, they will block you on Facebook.
Your country club in-laws will make passive-aggressive comments about being regular people who put their pants on one leg at a time--which might cause you to experiment with putting your own Silver Tabs on two legs at a time, because if you're going to get accused of being some sort of elitist who puts his pants on in a weird way, you might as well give it a try.
And, if the stars align right, you might write a super-sarcastic article in a major national publication in an effort to win the world heavyweight championship of passive-aggressiveness--because in all honesty, hate on the way up hurts a little, and those who tell you otherwise are lying to you, and to themselves.
But the world doesn't have that much sympathy for people whose success brings out the haters.
In the end, all you can do is be proud of yourself for who you are and what you've achieved. All you can do on the outside, at least, is take the high road.
On the inside, though?
On the inside it's okay to say, in the words of your profanity-averse autocorrect, "Duck 'em."
Duck 'em for not rooting for you.
Duck 'em for thinking you got where you got by anything other than hard work.
Duck 'em for converting their insecurity into hate and jealousy.
And duck 'em for not sticking around for the best part, which is still yet to come.