the lie about entrepreneurship

Yesterday I was reading an amazing article suggested by Diane here on MML (the link seems to be down right now), about Gen-Y and whether twentysomethings are expecting too much from work and life in general.

Though I loved much of the article, the last few lines of the article didn’t sit well with me.

At the end of the seven page article detailing Gen-Y’s search for a purposeful career, the author interviewed a female lawyer who said she wanted to look forward to jumping out of bed in the morning. The author then asked her if she thinks that there are people that actually have that euphoric feeling while waking up, and the lawyer mentioned that she thinks that’s how entrepreneurs feel.

WRONG. 

Of course I can only speak for my own experience and that of friends that I know who have been in business for many years. But I can tell you wholeheartedly that that is not how I feel every morning.

Putting up an unrealistic expectation like that on a purpose driven career is a great way to stay stuck in disappointment, disillusion, and fear.

I’m sure that getting out of bed each morning for a non-purpose career might feel awful and depressing. But I can tell you right now that there are mornings in every business owner’s life that are stressful, scary, and worrisome. Or maybe even just a bit dull.

Charting your own path in the beginning can be daunting because no one knows your business. This can feel like you are constantly running up a big hill each day pushing a ton of bricks. Is it worthwhile? Absolutely. But that effort to get noticed can take it’s toll on the spring in your step at 7am.

And once you are established, it can be daunting to know that you are going to have to troubleshoot multiple problems and complaints each day. People have their own expectations of what you and your company are going to do and as you become more successful their criticism can increase (look at the iPad 3 release, for example).

So either way there are times and reasons that you may not want to jump out of bed although what you are doing is deeply meaningful and fulfilling.

I’d liken it to having a baby, puppy, or marriage. Though I’ve never had those things in my life, from all of my friend’s accounts, those things are intensely gratifying but the reality of those things also does not always involve jolting out of bed in ecstasy.

Some days you wake up and just want to keep sleeping.

So all of this is to say that I sincerely encourage anyone considering entrepreneurship or just starting out to lower the “jumping out of the bed” expectations just a bit.

Like all good things, there will be a honeymoon phase and seasons of “joyful mornings” throughout. But if you experience less than ideal waking conditions at some point in your business operations, that is normal, that is fine, that still means all you have to do is just keep going.

This Post Has 17 Comments

  1. Alex

    Wow I loved this article. I dream all the time of starting my own business after I am done with school, and I really appreciate the great advice! You put it so eloquently. Well done (:

  2. Alex

    Wow I loved this article. I dream all the time of starting my own business after I am done with school, and I really appreciate the great advice! You put it so eloquently. Well done (:

  3. Melissa

    You’re right, we ALL experience ups and downs… that’s life! Thanks for the reminder (and so fun running into you this weekend)!

  4. Melissa

    You’re right, we ALL experience ups and downs… that’s life! Thanks for the reminder (and so fun running into you this weekend)!

  5. The link to the article isn’t working…do you know where I can access it? Would love to read it!

    On another note, I think this is great advice. I am in a pretty horrible working situation right now which makes it grueling to get out of bed each morning. While I know it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, I would love to wake up at least feeling that I had a purpose each day!

  6. The link to the article isn’t working…do you know where I can access it? Would love to read it!

    On another note, I think this is great advice. I am in a pretty horrible working situation right now which makes it grueling to get out of bed each morning. While I know it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, I would love to wake up at least feeling that I had a purpose each day!

  7. Jess

    Love your thoughts on this, ladies! Michelle, I know! I’m not sure why it’s not working anymore, it was working last night. I googled around for the link elsewhere but still couldn’t find it.

    Anyone else have any luck with the article link?

  8. Jess

    Love your thoughts on this, ladies! Michelle, I know! I’m not sure why it’s not working anymore, it was working last night. I googled around for the link elsewhere but still couldn’t find it.

    Anyone else have any luck with the article link?

  9. I would say that COMPARED to my 9-5, I do jump out of bed – anything beats crying with exhaustion and stress when your alarm goes off at 5:15 a.m…. but the reality of today is that I roll out of bed with a mixture of worry, hope, excitement, and a little weariness. That’s why I think starting to meditate in the morning like you do might help ease into my day. But you’re right, it’s not all sunshine and roses! It’s still work!

  10. good for you for being honest. agreed. at the end of the day, work is still work and obligations are still obligations. I like the way you compare it to marriage/children/pets. Gratifying, but a lot of work and some frustration.

  11. good for you for being honest. agreed. at the end of the day, work is still work and obligations are still obligations. I like the way you compare it to marriage/children/pets. Gratifying, but a lot of work and some frustration.

  12. Completely agree! Thanks for your view on the point, because I, too, feel that people have the wrong impressions.

  13. Jillian

    This reminds me of the article by Po Bronson in Fast Company from many years ago (the article preceded his book “What Should I Do with My Life”) in which one of my favorite quotes, heavily paraphrased, was: Every job involves a large amount of crap, but you have to love what you do enough to make weathering the inevitable crap storm worth it.

    Every time I get disillusioned with my chosen path because of some tedium or irritation, I recall that sentiment and remind myself that, in the grand scheme, it’s worth it.

  14. Diane

    thanks for the shout-out and i’m bummed the link is down! i tried to find it too – no luck. posts like this one of yours are SO important. i think the honesty is so helpful for those thinking about starting out – or even those established who don’t understand why they don’t feel like they thought they would

  15. Diane

    thanks for the shout-out and i’m bummed the link is down! i tried to find it too – no luck. posts like this one of yours are SO important. i think the honesty is so helpful for those thinking about starting out – or even those established who don’t understand why they don’t feel like they thought they would

Leave a Reply