Time and again I’ve been asked WHY I left a good job to start my own company. What was the catalyst? Did I just realize some intense passion I have and decide to explore it? Did I see some crazy opportunity that no one else had seen yet? Was I completely fucking bananas to give up a good check to chase my dreams? I mean come on, climbing the ladder is a sure thing. Show up every day, put your head down and do your job and your paycheck is guaranteed.
Isn’t life already figured out?! Don’t be silly, it’s a simple formula. Grow up > be respectful > don’t ask too many questions > go to school > don’t ask too many questions > get good grades and get in to a decent or better college, don’t ask too many questions & be respectful > complete at least one degree > enter the work force > work hard… for something like 60 years doing something that pays you enough and has good benefits > find a mate > get married > make a baby or a few > work even harder now > buy a house > save save save for retirement > put your kids through the exact same process > retire > go on a cruise > die. BOOM! Thats it! Thats what it’s all about!!!
For me the WHY was never because I found a passion of mine. Not because I saw some really awesome opportunity to exploit or take advantage of. Not because I met someone who gave me a chance. My WHY was simply because I couldn’t take another day of working to simply earn a paycheck. If the point of my existence was to purely wake up, go chase a paycheck, receive the paycheck, save some, spend some… and do it again (add in the formula for life above)… I was going to be the most miserable person. My WHY was because I didn’t want to live what I think is a miserable and waste of life.
So then what. You finally look at your life and say “FUCK THIS” but then what? Quit your job? Start from scratch? You just spent your entire life learning something and now you’ve spent however long working in some capacity trying to climb that ladder… should you throw all of that to the wind? I have one anecdote for you here. No single person can ever take away anything you’ve learned and all of that learning can be applied in ways you’ve not yet imagined so. Wrap it up and keep it close to your chest and get ready to learn some more!
Once you’re cool with that. Start something. Look at the world and ask yourself what you enjoy most about it, hate most about it, can’t stand living a day without in it and then START SOMETHING. Even if that something is a simple blog with a cool idea about a topic you enjoy. START IT. LEAN IN. IMMERSE YOURSELF. I mean literally, every waking moment that you can stomach thinking about it, WORK ON IT. The best way to do that is simple too:
Surround yourself with people who can help or that have experience doing what you’re doing. Successful people AND unsuccessful people. LEARNING from what didn’t work is often much better than learning from what did work. Surround yourself with books & blogs. Books & blogs on the subject, people in the space or similar spaces, biographies of successes and failures, how to’s and the like. Surround yourself with examples. Follow examples of others doing the same thing, pay attention to what they do and how they do it. Go to events on the topic and listen to speakers talk about it. ASK QUESTIONS ALL THE TIME! Surround yourself with open minds. Screw the people that say you can’t or that your idea sucks. Here is a little secret sauce for you. Your original ideas will probably suck. Thats okay though. You will learn more from exploring them than you will from trying to have the best ideas. The worst ideas lead you to the best ideas. I know that seems crazy, but it’s true. Surround yourself with collaborative minds & creative minds. Chances are, you’re not the only one with this idea of yours. No good ideas stand alone… but thats a good thing! Maybe someone with a similar idea has a different skill set that you need or you have one that they need and you can do it in partnership. If not, competition drives success. Think about these examples… How many times do you see gas stations on opposite street corners, or fast food restaurants a block from each other… or coffee shops all on the same street… on the street I live on, there are at least 8 coffee shops on the same street in a one mile stretch.
Where I have come from is SO far from my original idea. It’s been 4 years since we embarked on my crazy, bat shit idea to start a technology company to try and passively raise money for nonprofits. What we do now is not even close to the same thing. The goals however have stayed in-tact, we’re still true to form for what the point of all of this was… but the idea and the business are incredibly different. Better, and still will continue to grow as we continue to explore, fail and move forward. Life is to short to show up, sit at your desk, dig your ditch or simply hate waking up. Go do something that drives you. Makes you happy. Makes you scared for the right reasons. Challenges your talents and makes them grow. THE GOAL IS THE PRACTICE. THE OUTCOME WILL HAPPEN AS LONG AS YOU PRACTICE.
Love & Light,