You've got two options.
Either you get comfortable with uncertainty or you get comfortable taking orders from other people for the rest of your life.
When I started my first business, the last thing that I thought about was my five year plan.
My goal was survival. My wife and I didn’t take the road most often traveled for startup businesses.
We jumped out of the plane without a parachute. We didn’t have any savings, and we had no credit cards because we had cut them up.
We were in this thing for the long haul. No plan B.
Why would we do something so ridiculous? So “irresponsible”?
One word: freedom.
We made the decision – albeit a very, very difficult one – to choose to have the freedom to do what we want, how we want to, and where we want to.
The problem was, we didn’t know how to make money doing that yet.
At least not professionally. Sure, we had been freelancing on and off for quite awhile – but it certainly was nothing consistent. We didn’t have an established clientele or much rapport with anyone other than some friends and family.
But the one thing that we did have was the resolve that we were done taking orders.
We were done spending the best years of our lives making other people wealthy and accepting their meager payouts.
I knew far too many people who never learned how to start something for themselves. I had friends who were brilliant creators in high school – yet never pursued anything beyond a few art classes once they got their jobs.
We wanted to do something different. We wanted to build something for ourselves and our families.
If living in and starting a business in Silicon Valley taught us anything, it was that there is a definite mindset that you have to cultivate if you are going to go the distance and build something that will last.
And that mindset is this:
The only certainty is uncertainty. Get comfortable with it, because it’s going to be there for the long haul. There will be ups and downs, but if you can learn to lean into them rather than resist them – the decision to set out on your own will be the greatest adventure you ever could choose.
We really do ‘choose our own adventure’. We choose what clients we will work with and which ones we won’t. We go to bed when we want to. We wake up when we want to. We choose who we will meet with and who we won’t. We choose how much our time is worth. We decide what is going to be on the check that we are handed or the invoice that we send.
We choose where we will work, when we will work, how we will work, who we will work with, and why.
We are writing our own story rather than just playing a part in someone else’s.
That is important to us. We are driven by our why rather than our bank accounts and the illusion of “stability”.
As far as we see it, we have more “stability” in our working lives than anyone who is working for someone else.
Because we have learned a very important universal truth – and that is that wealth – true wealth – is not earned as a wage.
It is created.
The value you add in the environments you find yourself in is precisely what will determine your future success.
We learned that if we ever wanted to have the freedom to travel the world and experience all of the incredible things that the world has to offer that we would have to do things differently than the status quo.
We had to listen to that little spark in the back of our minds that asked one of the most powerful questions you can allow yourself to entertain:
What if things could be different than we were used to?
What if we weren’t limited to the way things are?
What if we could leverage our knowledge, our networks, and our skillsets to build something that could leave a legacy for future generations of our family?
What if we could bring together a team of people to solve very real problems that have plagued humanity for millenia?
What if we could actually make a living doing what we love?
Could we actually harness that mythical beast?
What if we could find a way to *actually escape the 9–5 and really call the shots?
We had to get to a point mentally where the value that we placed on that kind of freedom was higher than the illusion of “job security” that having a 9–5 creates.
I mean, really think about it. How many people do you know personally that had the same job for decades and then as soon as the boss couldn’t afford to pay them anymore, they were cut loose without a second thought?
Usually those people have spent those decades talking about how great the company is and poured a lot of blood, sweat and tears into it.
And then they’re handed the pink slip due to downsizing, outsourcing, or advances in technology that made them obsolete.
Like a fricken’ cell phone or outdated operating system.
Maybe you were that person.
If so, allow this to resonate within you.
Allow it to breathe hope into the areas where despair may have gripped you.
Allow our story to inspire you that there is a different way.
You are not the product of your environment. You do not have to remain in a working situation where your superiors look down on and do not value you.
I am not necessarily advocating doing things the way that we did them – but what I am advocating is encouraging you to start building your escape hatch.
I’m encouraging you to do the hard work in your free time that is required to learn the ropes of doing things for yourself.
For your family.
I’m encouraging you to step out of the illusory bubble of “job security” and into the real world where the only certainty is uncertainty.
I’m encouraging you to learn how to ride the waves that are sure to come and in so doing, learn how to build something that will leave a legacy for your loved ones.
It might mean dusting off that guitar or tuning that piano or getting out that journal or writing that memoir.
It might mean repairing relationships that have been long damaged. It might mean looking into patenting that idea that you’ve been sitting on for decades. It might mean going to your local business development center and asking for wisdom on where to go from here.
Whatever it is for you, let the thought of freedom be what guides you. Let the hope that you can actually build something better inspire you. Let the knowledge that you have an overabundance of information literally at your fingertips encourage you to seek out the wisdom and the success that is waiting for you.
One of our clients said something to me the other day that I’ll leave you with – and that is this:
“No one can create what you can create.”
You are unique.
Your vision and your voice matter.
So stand up, speak up, and step out of that comfort zone that you KNOW is slowly killing you.
Start something new. And follow through with it.
It’s a wild ride and I wouldn’t trade it for promises of “regular income” any day of the week.
Because I can assure you – after 6 years of being out of the 9–5, there’s not a damn thing I miss about it.
Especially the traffic.