It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything on my blog about the nitty gritty things in life, like jobs and money and other ugly words like that.
Mostly because I haven’t figured it out yet, and I’m kind of ashamed I haven’t figured it out yet, even though one of the purposes of this blog was to record the process of figuring it out.
I’m on a wild goose chase. I’m running after a golden feather waving promises of freedom, purpose, and meaning.
I’m pursuing a life bigger than the status quo, a life situation that aligns with my actual life, which is my very soul.
But it’s an ugly race.
It often feels like I’m the only person running it. That I am all alone in a sea of people waiting for me to get back on my feet so I can join them in their version of a reasonable life.
But it is not my version, and if I joined them it would only be to wither up and die, to be washed away with my dreams in the tide of a normal life.
But I’m not alone.
As I’ve been struggling to keep going, to brew a daily cup of motivation, bitter as it may taste, I stumbled across Natalie Sisson and her blog The Suitcase Entrepreneur. I saw her 10-day blog challenge and thought yes, this is what I need to do if I’m ever going to stop drowning in this sea of cheerless pursuit.
So I’m just going to toss my unslept-on musings at you for the next 10 days, which is scary for me because I’m a very picky editor of my own work, and I hate to write and publish on the same day.
But here it goes.
Today’s challenge is to write about challenges. Here are my top three challenges and why they suck.
Challenge #1: I Don’t Know Anything
I tell myself I don’t know how to do anything. Nothing at least that will take me beyond a mediocre J.O.B.
I don’t know enough about business. I don’t know how to be my own boss. I don’t know how to be my own employee. I don’t know about money or time management or working a network. I just don’t know.
Mostly I’m scared of not knowing the stuff that you can’t use Google to figure out. Which is everything that you can really only learn by living and yes, often even failing.
And who wants to fail? Ugh.
Challenge #2: Fear of Hard Work
This sounds kind of dumb because I was a star student in my day and obviously had to work hard to become such, but I think that’s what is so scary.
When you work hard in school you get a gold star or a row of straight As or a fancy diploma (read my rant on valedictorians here and here), but in life you can work much harder than you did in school without getting anything in return. Heck, you might even lose something, and that is called risk.
Hard work in real life is different than hard work in school life. I was listening to one of Seth Godin’s books, and he gave me an interesting idea:
Hard work isn’t just punching a clock in and out and doing your thing for a set time each day and then going home and watching TV because you feel tired.
Hard work is when you have to do something you’re incompetent at every day, something that terrifies you, that doesn’t allow you to be comfortable, and for which you may not even be compensated, something that could risk the loss of your health, time, relationships, or bank account just to make progress toward your goal.
It’s to hit the Oregon Trail every day not knowing whether you should use your last bullet to hunt for bison now or later or whether you should risk fording the river or hire a ferry with your last dollar just to make it safely across.
This is why most people won’t leave the job they can only tolerate. They’re scared of hard work that is actually hard. And so am I. That’s why I can’t seem to get started.
But you know, the people who make it to Oregon, they say it’s worth the trip.
Challenge #3: Lack of Clarity and Focus
I worked with a coach and got pretty clear on my goals and life purpose and all that jazz, but when that was done it felt like a parent letting go of their kid’s bike for the first time. I coasted on my own for a few feet, wobbled, then tipped, and promptly fell over.
I mean, I still know what the bike looks like and how it works, but I just don’t really have the motor skills down yet, and the dust I kicked up when I fell has gotten in my eyes, and when I can’t see the road how am I supposed to ride the bike?
So yes, I’m stuck and can’t move forward because I can’t see my goals clearly and perhaps more importantly because I can’t see a realistic, attainable path for achieving those goals.
It’s like, I can tell myself my goal is to get to the moon, but what’s the first step? Climb the Empire State Building and just jump really high from there? Apply for a job at NASA? What?
This list could go on and on, but I won’t make you read any more of these ugly bits I scraped out of the bottom of my boiled-over heart.
Until tomorrow that is.