I’m a firm believer in hard work. Without it, I truly believe life would be meaningless and unfulfilling.
Which is why the concept of owning and operating my own business isn’t terrifying–it’s exciting. It’s thrilling. It feels like a challenge I’m ready and willing to take on.
Except recently I’ve been having the same conversation with myself over and over:
What are you working so hard for anyway?
Sure, the basic answers surface relatively quickly:
- To pay my bills, pay off my loans, and afford to live
- To build something great and impact people
- Because I need to fill my day with something
- I like to travel and eat good food, those things aren’t free
All true answers. Money rules the world whether we like it or not. It’s difficult to live a healthy, well-rounded life without making a consistent income. And to make a consistent income you need a job. And when your job is your own business, you need to work extra hard to keep the income flowing.
But lately, those answers aren’t enough for me.
They feel empty. Like they lack any worthwhile substance.
Not that living a happy life with loads of travel and good food isn’t worthwhile, but is that really all I’m working for? To pay back the government and afford rent and put gas in my car?
Listen, I absolutely love my life. There’s not a single other person’s life I’d trade for mine. I love my humans, my animals, my home, my hobbies, my passions, my skills, my health, my body, my mind, and the adventures I’m able to take.
I feel downright spoiled.
But somewhere along the way I started viewing those things as 2nd to my career. To snagging clients. To building a branding and marketing empire. To writing content. To networking. To more, more, more, more.
I developed the mindset that, “To be busy is to be better.” And, “Successful people don’t slow down until they’ve earned the right to.”
Just writing those above sentences makes my skin crawl.
Because at the end of the day, what is “busy”? Who decides when you’ve earned the right to slow down? How many hours of work per week is acceptable? When do you deserve a break? How much money is enough money? How many clients is a “good amount of clients”?
It’s all this giant game of compare, evaluate, pivot, compare, evaluate, pivot.
We compare our life to that of others, whether online or in real life.
We evaluate what they’re doing differently. What we perceive to be better.
Then we pivot, changing our own life to be closer to theirs.
Then when that’s not enough, we do it all again.
Compare. Evaluate. Pivot.
Until we die.
Or decide enough is enough. Which hopefully comes first.
This cycle has to end. We’re wasting too much time and energy trying to live a life we think we should. Trying to please others. To impress others. To continuously move up up up.
My challenge for you (and myself) is this: Decide what’s important to you. What puzzle pieces you need in order to live a joyful, fulfilled life. Then decide what it’ll take to get there–not somewhere else, not a little further–there.
Do that. Build that. Live that. And let it be enough.
Isn’t that what you’re working so hard for anyway?