I constantly consider what it means to run a soul-enhancing, burnout-making, future-shaping business.
Understanding what motivates humans to dive into their own “thing” helps me help my clients keep it running. Opening a business can seem counterintuitive. A “real” job will give people the income they need to feel secure. Why choose the independent path? What happens when people finally pave it for themselves but feel lost again?
Creativity and freedom are usually what people say they want of their independent income life, but I think there’s a deeper motivation. It can feel nearly biological to shift into the unknown. Deciding to grow what seems to be working but is unproven is interesting.
Creativity and freedom are usually what people say they want of their independent income life, but I think there’s a deeper motivation.
The salaried way of life is a newer concept for us humans. For centuries, we planned our whole lives around survival -- from shelter to relationships to food. Of course, we crave the security of someone else worrying about how to pay us. Then our nervous systems can relax and, ideally, we can focus on more significant intellectual issues rather than baseline survival. But in truth, a salaried job is far less secure than projected, and anxiety levels are higher than ever.
We’ve even created systems like social media that give us a sense of urgency and “fight or flight” regularly… just to feel human again. I see the complacency that the security of a job provides drip deeply into our system. That’s very scary. I know this because businesses I work with are far from complacent or passive. They are tax-paying, freedom-fighting, pleasure-craving monsters, and I love them.
I see the complacency that the security of a job provides drip deeply into our system.
The way we used to live as farmers, hunters, and gatherers feels more like what small businesses do now. For centuries our brains used to be required to work and I think we crave it today. Some people planned, some people tilled, some people knew the soil intuitively. Everyone was part of their community and always had to think ahead.
In our farmer days, I doubt there was ever a “knowing” what was to come or a real sense of security. It’s the same when you own your own business. What I think my fellow business owners really want is to know their entire process intimately. When I talk with clients about “learning” their business, they nod enthusiastically. It’s FUN for them to have a sense of control, anticipate the future, adjust when things need to shift - all to help them feel like they’re working on something bigger than themselves.
Back to the farmers. Knowledge about land patterns and ecosystems was passed down to the next generation. People grew their food and tended their cattle in a way that would create the most security as possible. But what about the year when the rain poured down for months, obstructing the key moment to plant seeds for the summer?
What happens in that dark hour? At an earlier time, grains were dried, fruits and vegetables were canned or fermented. This left room for error and an alternative route to prevent starvation.
Knowing what is going to come is a luxury -- and doesn’t seem innately human to me. Yet, security is possible for a business when you create a path toward building a safety net. Beware the drama we create to break up the mundane, or worse, the vices we use to numb our human desires for more.
What I want to do is hone in on the patterns of a life and a business. I want to help people see the future through their desired income and create a plan to anticipate the unfortunate loss of income. Better yet, I want people to get more creative about how they can shift with the changes in the wind patterns around them.