Get clear on your goals - you might be closer to reaching them than you think
Do you know where you're headed?
As a kid, when I imagined what I wanted my adult life to look like, one of the main features that remained constant was to have a summer home, and to have the freedom to be there for three months a year.
From the age of two months until I went to college, this was how I lived. As a family, we spent the school year in Nashville, Tennessee, and our summers in Rhode Island. As soon as summer break began, we’d pack the car and head north to trade the southern heat for hours on the beach and tennis courts. Days before school started back up, we’d migrate back south.
I spent a good chunk of my early career visualizing this, and working towards it. Fast forwarding to the present, we can see that my vision of the life I want has changed. I’m living abroad with my wife and two boys. We own one home in the U.S. but rent it out. We’re temporarily based in Croatia (and, soon, Spain) but travel as much as we possibly can, exploring the world. Instead of having a winter home and a summer home, we rent apartments and can each fit all of our things in one bag each. When we go away for a weekend, I toss almost all of my clothes in a backpack, because I hardly have more than that anyway. We strive to be less tethered to places and things, and that includes homes and everything that comes with them. There’s tremendous freedom in this.
It may appear that my adult life didn’t turn out to reflect what I thought I wanted, but upon closer inspection, the underlying motivation remained: the freedom to be able to make my own choices in how I live. The freedom to be tethered or not be tethered. The place I’ve ended up allows for either way of living.
What has changed since then, though, is my view on how much we need to be happy, and realizing that sometimes the things we think will make us happy might in the end limit us, or cause us stress, or require something of us that makes it more challenging to fulfill one of our other desires. In my case, if I want freedom, but I also want multiple homes, those have a tendency to work against each other. If I wish to prioritize freedom, working towards buying and maintaining multiple homes is only going to get in the way.
The resulting realization is that freedom comes from having and desiring less. My main desire and goal right now is to experience the world with my family. That does cost money, as all forms of living do, but it requires almost no “things”, as those just get in the way. And the good news here is, if your “why” is freedom, which is the case for many entrepreneurs, and aspiring entrepreneurs, it may be closer than you think, especially if you don’t yet have kids.
If you take a close look at your true, fundamental desires, the crux of what you truly want out of life – not what your parents think you should want, or what you think would make you look successful in the eyes of your friends — you’ll likely find it boils down to something simple. And if you can then allow yourself to brush away all the other desires you thought you had, you’ll get to where you want to be faster, and you’ll enjoy where you end up much more.
Everyone has their own way they want to live. Yours is likely different from mine. But yours is also likely different from what your external world makes you think you want. This is an invitation to explore this within yourself as you embark on your entrepreneurial journey.
Almost every entrepreneur envisions a time when they get their SaaS to a place where they have recurring revenue and can enjoy their Mai Thais on the beach. But success of this type doesn’t always come without costs. Your problems will not all be solved. While some of them will, you’ll have new ones you never expected.
Entrepreneurial journeys can be incredibly rewarding, financially as well as emotionally. It’s also not for everyone and comes with its costs. The goal is to enjoy the journey and not be miserable in exchange for future bliss, because it doesn’t work that way.
The better we can understand our “why," the more we can embrace our journey and be with it.
Can you do me a favor and reply with your “why”?
Always fun: Rory Sutherland’d TED talk, Lessons from and ad man
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