It’s hard to believe that this blog has been up for a year already. You’ve kicked major ass, posting at least once a week, compared to my occasional post. Thank you for being 95% of this production team! Seriously!
Like every other month, this last month flew by. I still find it difficult to shift from thinking about near-term client work and working toward my own personal career goals. In sober circles, they talk about “taking one day at a time” and that mantra has been very important in my recovery over the years.
In the process, I’ve realized I’ve applied that quite literally to my career as well, thinking patience will pay off, and, in large part it has. But while the life of an independent contractor is desirable in many respects, the added freedom demands a greater degree of discipline and structure to grow and be sustainable.
In his book The E-Myth, Michael Gerber says “Everyone who goes into business is actually three-people-in-one: The Entrepreneur [who has a vision], the Manager [who craves order], and the Technician [who does the thing].”
He goes on to say “the typical small business owner is only about 10 percent Entrepreneur, 20 percent Manager, and 70 percent Technician.” This means most “entrepreneurs” find themselves working in their business, rather than working on their business. Consequently, they struggle to build a real business. I can definitely identify with this.
In many ways it would be much easier if I packed it in and got a job at a marketing agency. I sometimes find myself craving the structure, the camaraderie, the benefits and perks. And when I inevitably bring this up to you, seemingly ever few months, you help me to keep pushing on. Since our start, you’ve pushed and challenged me to think big picture. I love this about you. I pray it’s not so taxing for you that you someday stop doing this.
You don’t seem to struggle with this as much, and sometimes maybe put too much pressure on yourself.
Having gone back to school, twice, you’ve mentioned more than once that you feel like you should be further in your career. You see your friends succeeding and though you are happy for them, it’s hard not to compare yourself with them. I sometimes feel the same way with my friends.
However, it would be wise for us to remember that we’ve taken different paths, and we do ourselves a disservice by looking at someone’s highlight reel or the end product, forgetting all the work and trade-offs that went into getting there. In your case, you took half a year (more, technically) to pursue a writing passion while living in Bali. Who of your friends have done that? In my case, I quit my job at Angie’s List to pursue building an educational video game program, and when that didn’t pan out, I moved across the country for a fresh start. Who of my friends have taken a similar risk?
It’s a true blessing that we found each other. Not only do we try to support each other as best we can, our experiences, the good and the bad, have given each of us a unique perspective. We can try to convince ourselves that we should be more like other people, and fail miserably and be miserable. Or we can own our uniqueness and judge ourselves against ourselves.
This is one reason why I like triathlon so much. Instead of competing against others, I’m competing against myself and my own expectations. It doesn’t matter if I perform better or worse than in a previous race, each is its own and I treat it as such.
I love you so much, Darcie. And as we start our life together, I want us to remember that we can always find someone that’s doing more or further along in their life/career. We can be envious of them or we can simply focus on what we can change.