You know when I started this journey into creating my own business it really came about because of one simple aspect, I don’t live near a tech hub. I mean really that is it. When I was looking at my future as a software developer I realized it would be tough to land a remote job right out of the gate and needed to figure something out. I made the decision to try and start a business with two ideas in mind: 1. the project is successful and I can enjoy running my own company. or 2. the project fails but I at least have a solid project for my portfolio; one that I created at home, on the side, and by myself. I figured if nothing else that this would land me a job somewhere that would not require me to move immediately. So that is the path I started down.
I’m now about 5 months into this journey and I can’t help but think that I don’t know if starting a business is really what I want to do. When I think back on my life, all I ever really wanted to was to be an engineer. Not an engineer in the sense of “look at me I’m an engineer.” but really in the sense that I wanted to design, implement, and maintain systems. That’s all I ever really wanted. I love learning and I love technology but I am not so sure about business…at least not yet.
I don’t want this to come off as a resignation letter because that is not what it is at all. I simply had this realization that I may not be fully prepared for what I have embarked on. My goal and my definition of success is freedom and happiness. I’ll break these down to explain how I describe both.
To me freedom is the easiest to put into words. It essentially the ability to do what I want. That’s really it, nothing more, nothing less. Now this may sound like an ambiguous definition but the reality is, I just want to get paid to write software from a location of my choosing. To me, this doesn’t seem like that difficult of a dream to accomplish but the truth is, without a lot of experience it is difficult to find a remote job that allows me to work from home. So in comes the idea of starting business.
This one is a bit more difficult to describe, but I think over the last couple years I have been able to really define happiness for myself. For me, happiness would be getting to spend my life doing fulfilling work, having time with my family, not being forced to spend stretches of time away from home on a weekly basis, and feeling generally content with where I am in my life. I have never been one that dreamt of winning the Lottery and spending my life on a beach somewhere drinking alcohol. I have always loved working and frankly, I am good at it. I am the person that goes 100% into whatever I am tasked to do (even if I don’t really enjoy the specific task). However, to maintain that drive for the long-term I need the work to be fulfilling and I just don’t get that anymore. I want to work for the rest of my life. I don’t want to look forward to retirement, I want to look beyond retirement and have something that I work on until I lay upon my death bed. That is difficult to get in a blue collar town, at least for me personally. The rest of happiness is being with my family. I currently spend more than 75% of my time away from my family and I hate it. I have literally felt my health deteriorate since having this job. I live with large amounts of stress, exhaustion, and anxiety that has come from my life on the road. Some people love this life, I am absolutely not one of them. This is a major driver for me to get out of this situation and into something I enjoy sooner. So…in comes the idea of starting a business.
As I sit here finishing up this thought, I honestly cannot say if I am an entrepreneur. People say entrepreneurs are a certain type of people, and that it takes a certain character to be this or to be that, I just don’t buy that. I think anyone can do anything if they really want it and really push after it, regardless of their “breed”. I am just not fully certain that I am that person and that this is what I truly want. It seems to have the potential to give me the things I consider success but I can’t help but think that it also comes with much more baggage as well.
As I said, this is not my resignation letter but rather a note of reflection and self-examination. It is now 5am, I just got back from the gym, and I am getting ready to start my vacation. I cannot wait to get some much needed time away from my day job and into some family and me time. As I daydream about the fun to come over the next 10 days, I cannot help but feel that I am on the verge of a personal shift in both focus and desire. I do not yet know what the outcome may be but I know whatever it is will lead me down the right path. I no longer can live by the expectations of others and no longer can I live under the thumb of “the man”. My health and happiness are not worth someone else’s benefit.
So I will end with this: I honestly believe that happiness is not a destination but rather a journey. Happiness is found on the path to success but the success cannot deliver happiness if you do not take the time to enjoy the adventure to get there. As I understand this concept more and more I realize that I am chasing a destination called happiness and I will never get it if I continue down a path that I cannot enjoy traveling on. I believe there comes a time when you have to throw out the map you were given and draw your own map, travel by the stars, and search for your path.
So a challenge for myself and you: board the boat and head to sea, as there are no roads or constraints there. Travel only by the compass, sails, and stars; this is where you’ll find the true explorers and this is where you’ll find yourself.