When we first meet people, it’s hard to tell when someone cares unconditionally versus someone who pretends to care because they want something: a service provider, competitor, investor, employee. They want to care, and they will, but typically under certain conditions: buy their services, tell them about your business, make them money, give them a paycheck. If you maintain the condition, they maintain the caring. Once the condition goes away, so does the caring.
Your mom, your life partner, your best friend…they all care unconditionally. They give you a pat on the back for a job well done or a pep talk when you’re down, really important stuff when you’re on your own. But the problem is that they typically can’t empathize with you. They really can’t feel or understand the pretzel-like contortions in your mind on a daily basis or the roller coaster-like highs and lows you experience.
The only people who truly understand what entrepreneurs do and why they do it, and truly care about them unconditionally, are other entrepreneurs. They enjoy sharing their experiences and hope that someone can learn from them: avoiding a small or big failure they had or achieving a small or big win like they did. They can give you that pep talk, a pat on the back, or even a smack-down when you need it. And they don’t want anything in return, except perhaps for you to do the same in the future.
Time is your most precious asset, and you should spend more of it with people like that.