The sound of my alarm clock fills me with dread as I rolled over and contemplated smashing it against the wall.
Time for another day of cubicle life.
I recently came across a notebook of ‘personal development’ that I had written in long ago, back when I was at the second (and final) soul crushing office tech job of my illustrious career.
I was stuck, they were paying my tuition as a benefit and quitting would mean taking out loans to finish my Bachelors in Computer Science. The smart play was to suck it up and get paid a solid salary to attend free college classes. Not terrible in the scheme of things.
So every morning for two years I dragged myself to a job that could’ve be done from home. The work was easy enough, and gave me a lot of time for planning my escape. I wanted to be remote and travel. I wanted to be free of an arbitrary schedule.
In my rediscovered notebook I had written only two essential goals.
- Make six figures
- Wake up without an alarm clock
If i could achieve those two, THEN I’d be happy and content.
It’s funny how your goals of what will make you happy tend to move and grow with your accomplishments. First it’s make 100k, then it’s make 100k working from a beach, then it’s make 100k working only a few hours a week, then it’s make 100k every month completely passively.
My point is that if you base your happiness off of goals, you better make damn sure you celebrate achieving them and relax before eyeing the next big thing down the road.
Remembering those two goals (which i’ve already been achieving for the last 3 years) is powerful. According to them, I should already be totally happy and content!
One of the biggest unknowns about entrepreneurship is the guilt of work and growth that plague founders every single day. We fight for freedom, only to build ourselves an even sturdier cage than the cubicles we escaped from.
I built myself the freedom to sleep 9 hours a night and wakeup at 10am. Yet whenever I’ve done this in the past, instead of basking in my achieved goals I’m more likely to spend the day feeling lousy I ‘wasted’ so much time that could’ve been spent grinding on my businesses.
It’s hard to sit in a hammock when the Gary Vaynerchucks of the world are sleeping 4 hours a night, working HARD all day. And of course simultaneously vlogging the whole fucking thing to an army of devoted social media followers.
And YOU have the audacity to sleep in and blow off most of the morning? Pathetic.
The challenge of running your own show is that you constantly fight the pressure of working. There’s no escape like a normal job.
At least in an office job, you walk out the door for the weekend and you can completely ‘shut it off’ for a few days. If it’s your own company, the concept of a weekend doesn’t always exist.
So I made the decision to be guilt free when it comes to work and leisure. Building businesses is a blast, and so is living a great life. They can be done at the same time in perfect harmony if you drop the guilt of achieving NOW.
Take a breath, get some perspective on all that you’ve built up to this point. Life is probably a lot better than you’re willing to admit. If you’ve worked towards something, make sure to smell the roses when you get there.
This was a pretty solid essay. I think I’ll take a nap.