Over your lifetime there are many milestones along the way to indicate where you’re going, and how well your journey is coming along. These things take the form of grades, diplomas, valedictorians, extra curricular activities, a kind word from a teacher, scholarships or contests. Then later in life they become raises, promotions, bonuses, awards, peer reviews, performance reviews, and so forth.
We are so used to having these little things decorating our lives, and help us navigate through it, letting us know along the way if we are “ok” or “not ok“. If we are winners or losers. If we are successful or a failure.
How does reading those words make you feel? Do you feel more like one word than the other? Why is it that you feel this way? Most likely it is because of external factors.
A little about my own situation.
I run my own online business, and I don’t have any person in the world telling me I should do better. I don’t have anyone that can fire me, or tell me that I should stop coming in late in the mornings. I don’t have to navigate through exhausting office politics, or try to please my boss. I don’t need to memorize information to later spew on the page for a grade, or ask for recommendation letters to show other people that I have enough people who think I’m smart.
While this sounds like a good situation, there are some side effects that you should know about:
I don’t have anyone telling me that I’m doing great. I don’t have anyone to tell me I’m heading down the right direction, or anyone that gives me a nice bonus at the end of the year for a work well done. I can’t “coast” through the week if I’m tired. I can’t just show up at the office and pretend to work all day, because I will only hurt myself. I can’t stop thinking or pushing things forward, because then the business will stop working. Everything that happens in my work life is completely made up by me, and there is no rule book. No right way or wrong way. I don’t have many people I can ask for advice, because most of my friends and family barely understand what I do.
When how you feel about yourself isn’t predicated on external factors, it is sometimes hard to tell if you are doing ok or not. After two decades of “the system” letting me know how things are going, it could be hard working in a vacuum.
You can’t be a people-pleaser, because there is no one to please.
You can’t be driven by fear, because there is no one to fear.
It’s you against yourself, every day, and nobody is going to care how it’s going for you. This is not for everyone, but if you have entrepreneurial tendencies and thinking about this lifestyle, I hope this quick read gave you a bit of an insight to some of the feelings involved.