With the increasing glorification of entrepreneurship, a lot of people feel the pressure to start their own businesses and become and entrepreneur. Everyone is talking about finding their passion and making money out of it. Entrepreneurship has been painted to be so glamorous one is made to believe that they have not lived a full life if they have not found their passion, invented and innovated, became entrepreneurs, worked for themselves and made their money work for them.
The pressure to be something makes many of us feel as if they are living mediocre lives, simply because they are not out there chasing the big bucks, sacrificing themselves, taking big risks, starting their own businesses or creating a whole movement. Do you really have to find your passion? Do you have to become an entrepreneur? Is there something wrong with working for someone else?
The media we consume today is so stressing from different angles. From showing the glamor of those ‘living their best life’ to making you feel as if you are not doing your best if you haven’t achieved this and that. I would like to address the whole finding your passion and becoming an entrepreneur glam. How real is it?
Do you really have to find your passion?
The problem with answering this question is because you can feel inadequate your whole life simply because you have not found your passion. If you have, they may make you feel that it is not a passion to go announcing to the masses because it is not bold enough, does not involve much talent or you can’t make money out of it. What if your passion is to raise well-balanced children and not invent the machine that solves all kinds of housework? What if your passion is to build great relationships, connect those around you and not to become an international public speaker? What if you don’t find your passion until you are old or maybe you get old and realize you have been living your passion all your life?
Media is constantly showing us how much we should find our passion and make money out of it. We feel less of a person if we have not found our passion or if it doesn’t involve any form of returns. So, how do you survive the world that is constantly pressurizing you to find your passion?
This is external pressure and if you listen to external pressure and let it influence most of the decisions you make in your life; you will live a miserable life; a life lived for others and not for yourself. Therefore, strive for your passion when you have an internal drive to find your passion. Take time and try out different things until you find your passion. If you don’t, do you really have to? And if you find it, does it have to make you a gazillionaire?
Do you have to become an entrepreneur?
We are often shown how we should find some business to conduct, or innovate or be an inventor, simply so that we can become entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship is derived from taking risks and often, you are shown as if you are less of a person if you do not take risks, start a business and make it out of the rat race. You are probably constantly feeling the pressure and when your friends meet, and they are talking about their ‘side hustles’ and you have nothing to speak of, you feel out of place.
Who said that there is something wrong with finding a great job, which you love, and working at this job till you retire? Who said that you have to own a business to live a full life? It has been made to appear as if there is something terribly wrong with working for someone else. If you become an entrepreneur for instance, does that mean that there is something terribly wrong with the people that work for you?
My advice is, don’t let anyone make you feel less of a person because you chose to work in employment. Don’t feel as if there is something wrong with improving your work life, and making your place of work as satisfying as it can be for you to live a good life. We derive satisfaction from different things. Some feel that they have too much adrenaline, risk-taking nature and want to take risks in starting their own businesses. There are also those who are hit by brilliant ideas and make inventions and innovations that we are so happy for, and we are thankful for that. There is a reason they were made that way, and they make the world better with their inventions.
We as well, make the world better when we work in companies that have made these inventions. We help in translating this idea into reality and making the product and service reach out to different people and improve their lives whether our roles are in the finance, marketing, logistics, and any other department. It’s possible that some people will view you as a corporate slave when you chose to dedicate your career to a certain organization and yet you could be very content doing this. Anyone can live a fulfilling life, no matter what they do for a living. Self-development is about developing the person, the individual, no matter what they do for their day job.
I read in a forum a lady questioning whether she was living a mediocre life, since she was happy, and yet everyone around her made her feel as if she wasn’t living a full life. To narrate her case loosely, she made her case as follows; she is ok living her normal and peaceful life, which is not bad. She is not rich, but she eats well and has a place to live. She is married and always trying new things at her pace. She repeats several times that she is pretty happy in her life and does not feel the need to overachieve. And yet, her parents are constantly showing her how much of a mediocre life she is living and she should do more with it. They want her in the shark tank fighting with other sharks and not considering how happy she is.
While I am not advocating for a mediocre kind of living, it is you who determines where your happiness lies. And whatever choices that you make, as long as they are respectable choices, don’t feel as if they shouldn’t define your happiness because they don’t define the happiness of others. Also, whatever gives you satisfaction is very different from that which gives other people satisfaction. I recommend this exercise which you can take to find out what matters to you, and the results from this exercise can influence your choices in life.
Being content is a choice, and if you are content as you are, and yet you chase another person’s definition of happiness, this can lead to your misery. Concerning entrepreneurship vs employment, what we need to realize is that being an employee is not full of cons and neither is being a business owner full of all pros. It takes a lot of sacrifice and tenacity in owning a business and it is not for everyone. If you ask most entrepreneurs, they will probably agree that starting a business is not for everyone.
Therefore, for a woman that chooses to focus on her family and not a career, good for her, and good for also the one who chooses to focus on her career and hire people to help her take care of her family. For those who choose to venture into business, good for them, and good for those who chose to stay in employment. For those who choose to open businesses, have other people run them while they stay employed, good for them as well. It is a free world, you should live your life exactly the way you want to, without the pressure to conform to some form of standard or another.
According to the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, most of the people who succeed in various fields had an opportunity and maybe a stroke of luck that led to their success in the various fields. What if you never had this opportunity or luck to venture on your own, assuming you wanted to? Should you hold a daily pity party because you are not where you wanted to be? Should you feel you chose wrongly by choosing stability over risk-taking?
If we hold onto our own ideas of how things should be rather than accepting how they really are, we arise conflict in ourselves in the form of defensiveness- Carl Rogers.
This means that sometimes you need to accept things as they are and not what they should have been. If at some point you thought you would get into business but circumstances didn’t allow you, and you are gainfully employed, there is no need to constantly beat yourself about it. You can be content with your life as it is, and by accepting your life for what it is rather than what should have been, you choose fulfillment and happiness.
There are so many different determinants in life that influence us to make the kind of choices that we make. Many choose to go for employment for the stability, security especially if they have dependents, to serve in different ways especially if they are in a career where it is difficult to serve alone but as part of a group such as doctors, because they don’t want to go through the tedious process of starting something new, risk-taking is not in their nature, they don’t have business ideas, and a million other reason, none of which is superior to the other.
The bottom line is, we all have different paths, and whether you choose to start a business or be an employee, or even to stay at home if you are provided for, let us not shame each other for our choices. Don’t allow yourself to be shamed and pressured as well. Live life on your own terms.
Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck- Dalai Lama