We are intimidated by the unknown and startled by the vast world we inhabit. We have been told all our lives what a fulfilled or successful life looks like, and that our careers will define us as individuals. Our perception of the ideal life is, quite naturally, entirely formed from what society teaches us it is; that there is one standard. That there is a definition of success that we must adhere to. Color in the lines, follow the rules, do what has been done, and as long as you do it better than most others, you will “succeed”.
I recently read “You Don’t Need a Job – You Need Guts” by Ashley Ambridge. She writes to entrepreneurs that want to jump start their ventures.
“Ever since we were 6 years old, we’ve been getting it hammered into our tender little brains to get good grades because our future depended on it. Not that there’s anything wrong with good grades, says she, a former obsessively studious straight A student. But the assumption was always that good grades would mean we could more easily sell ourselves to an employer someday, allowing us to “get ahead in life.”
In most cases, for most people, this is what success looks like—making vague attempts to ‘get ahead.’
However, if you’re reading this, I know that you aren’t most people.
The reason why most people believe that this is the goal du jour is because they’ve been wooed by the numbers that come with “getting ahead”—just as we’ve been taught to think. (Think, not feel.)
Forty, fifty, sixty thousand dollars a year seems like a lot.
And for that dollar amount, most people are willing to trade the majority of their time on this earth. In the name of the $200 to pass go, we sacrifice most of our time, most of our life experience, and most of our joy.”
What if I told you that we didn’t have to sacrifice our time, life experiences, or our joy? What if we weren’t dependent on existing job openings at existing employers? What if we didn’t have to color in the lines? I bet you can guess what I’m about to tell you.
Opportunity abounds for determined people that aren’t content with accepting someone else’s definition of success. Ambridge describes the book as “A step-by-step business roadmap for new entrepreneurs & business owners who want to go from zero to profitable…fast.”
And boy, was it. I didn’t read this book because I was seeking help starting a business venture, but man by the end of it I was trying to come up with a business venture so that I could utilize everything in “You Don’t Need a Job – You Need guts”.
I was selling my mom on this book before I even finished it. She’s working on starting a soap-making business. She knew that in my first month with Praxis I had been going through a technology and digital skills learning module, and that I might have some insight into helping her kickstart her website. I found myself pulling pieces from You Don’t Need a Job – You Need Guts so frequently that I stopped myself, and said “Here, buy this book. Read it. It’s exactly what you’re looking for.”
My mother is just one example of someone that is taking advice from people like Ambridge. She wasn’t content with the options made available to her by other people, so she created a new option. She wasn’t willing to sacrifice.
Yes, there is more risk in starting your own business than taking a steady paycheck from someone else. But you know what’s worse than not making money? Not living. Not feeling.
I personally was never fond of coloring, much less coloring in the lines. The world is too full and holds too many possibilities for life to limit yourself to the set of options that have already been established by others. If one of those excites you, great! If not, don’t settle. Don’t be afraid to create your own job and take a little risk.