I’ve been reading Po Bronson’s book, What Should I Do With My Life? Has anyone read it?
It’s a series of stories about how people found meaningful work and a meaningful life. Not every story has a happy ending (which I appreciate) and some people didn’t get to follow their dreams until they were in their 60s.
In one story, the woman was always asking “What should I do next with my life?” When she rephrased the question to “To what can I devote my life?” it changed the way she perceived her world and her choices.
I love that question. When I’ve been looking for “the next big thing” in my business, I’ve been stumped. Nothing came up that excited me, challenged me, or made me any happier than I already am. (I’m a pretty happy person by default. I’m not looking for more happiness in my life.) But when I asked myself, “To what can I devote my life?”, I could immediately drop off those things that were interesting but I wasn’t willing to devote my life to, especially when it comes to work.
The result? It was surprising to me (but maybe not surprising to anyone who knows me) that the work that I really could devote my life, my heart, my soul to was “helping people to be successfully self-employed.” It was a simple statement of what fires me up, what mirrors my values and beliefs, and where I can best serve the world.
I’m such a huge fan of self-employment. It gives people freedom and flexibility that they wouldn’t have in a job, and forces them to bring forth character traits that will hold them in good stead throughout their lives and their relationships, like honesty, self-discipline, and creativity.
To me, self-employment is a fire that forges the personality. It’s an incredible personal growth vehicle. It also helps people to put their personal values into every aspect of their lives. The integrity it offers is extraordinarily important, especially as more and more people find that they can’t express their integrity in their job for an employer.
I still don’t know what’s next for my business, but I feel more strongly than ever that I’m doing the “right work” in working with other self-employed people to grow their businesses. So I’ll stay in the not-knowing about the future and see what comes up, certain, at least, that I’m on the right track.