I was at the gym this morning listening to one of my geeky social science podcasts, and there was a commercial for a website design service. In the attempt to get us to buy into what they were selling, they stated, “If you have the courage to start your own business, we can help you.”
Their use of the concept of courage with the concept of starting your own business, made me react viscerally to the core. I’m even gritting my teeth together as I write this.
Why? Because of the mistaken association of those of us that are out here working on our own.
Often, those of us that have our own businesses are lumped into the category of “entrepreneurs” or “unique” or “brave” or “special” or “meant for great things.” Blah, blah, blah.
I say BULLSHIT to this assumption and association. Mostly because I am tired of putting that kind of pressure or assumptions on myself and my work, and I’m tired of separating those of us that work alone and those that choose a different path.
Don’t get me wrong, most of us that have our own businesses are hard-working, honest, valuable professionals. But many of us didn’t join this tribe to completely change the world or make 7 figure incomes. We didn’t join the “work for yourself” group to take on the responsibility to the world to do bigger and better things for everyone else.
Some did. Yes. And they are changing the world, writing 15 books, and you see them all over your phone or computer selling something amazingly life changing. Go them!!
But a lot of us, me included, are doing this solo-gig work because the valuable work we did for others no longer met ours and others’ expectations for our lives – both personally and professionally.
We were employed somewhere doing great work with great people. We loved our regular pay checks, our benefits and our days off. We enjoyed having a boss, goals and tasks, and a team to work with. We loved having a purpose and contributing to something bigger than ourselves. (At least I did… Call me crazy, but I loved all those things!)
But then we had kids, realized we needed to help our parents, or we got a pull to try out a different model. We struggled finding time for everything that was expected of us at work and/or personally, and realized we had to find a different avenue for our professional energy.
As for me, working on my own as a business owner has not been easy, clear, or even entirely fulfilling at all times. It’s the hardest job I’ve ever had, taught me more lessons about myself than any other job (other than Peace Corps), and constantly has me questioning my value and worth in the larger scope of life.
But we aren’t more courageous than you. To think that I’m more courageous than my dear high school teacher friend, or mental health professionals, marketing gurus, VP’s of HR, or investment peeps… is just wrong.
We are all courageous. It’s just about how and where it shows up, and who is around to witness it or not.
When are you your most courageous self? When have you had to make incredibly difficult decisions that affected you, your family, or your work in ways you weren’t ready to face? When have you stayed at a job because it was the courageous thing to do?
For me, it was moving out of the office space that I experienced for 6 months. Did I want to leave? No. Was it hard? Yes.
Did it take courage and struggle to make the right decision for me and my work? Yes. SO much.
Those mighty decisions and distinct actions make you the courageous being that you are, whether you work on your own, work for “the man”, or work for your family.
I am continually discovering how much courage I actually have, especially when I’m at the bottom of the heap and feel like everything is caving in on me. And I’ve usually surprised myself, especially in these roles as a mother and small business owner.
So will you.
YOU, dear one, have so much capacity and bravery inside you – more than you know.
What would be the most courageous thing for you to do for yourself or someone else right now? How can you push yourself there and prove how brave you really are?