Written by Melissa Anzman
Being an entrepreneur can feel like a roller coaster ride – sometimes it’s exhilarating and other times it’s scary. Lots of highs and lows.
A few weeks ago I started my day like any other, but something was off. I woke up on the wrong side of the bed, again. I was going through the day unhappy, dare I say miserable, again. I’d felt like that for some time – frustrated, stuck, miserable, unsure, and so on.
I looked around me. And here’s what I saw:
A consulting client that I’d been working with for 2.5 years – feeling underappreciated, underpaid, and undervalued. Not to mention every time I had to get on a call or reply to an email, which happened 10-15 hours each week, I was annoyed.
A long-time client who’s partnership had changed dramatically in the way we worked together. I had gone from being the creative brain behind the machine, to an order taker. Not to mention having been told that she had been saying some seriously negative things about me as a person, while being sweet to my face for work. Even knowing that for several months and never saying anything, I just couldn't seem to get over it and not take it personally.
Constantly stressing and worrying about money. Even when it was coming in and I was ok, I was still worried about when it may not.
I hadn’t had a late night coding session, or creative brainstorm/rabbit hole, or been super excited about much of anything… for a long time.
Three of my clients had just completed extremely successful launches… which felt reaffirming, but I was a bit bummed our immediate work together was done.
Not to mention, I was finding it extremely difficult to find time to improve my new skiing hobby… and I live at the base of a mountain.
And all of that, is just the tip of the iceberg.
But I can honestly say, I started questioning if it was all worth it.
So I looked back at my life when I was in the corporate world, before I left the first time. I read a few journal entries and they looked a little something like this:
“I am making well over six-figures, I have the title, I work for a great company, I’m still moving up the ladder… but I’m so unhappy and feeling trapped.”
When my clients come to me in a similar conundrum, or if they’re just starting out with their business, I always remind them to create and keep their “Why” close at hand. But my “why” had changed since my first leap.
And essentially, despite my “why” I created the same work environment that I loathed when I was working for someone else.
I think we have all fallen down that same spiral before, whether we’re working for ourselves or for someone else. We naturally gravitate to the path of least resistance when it comes to the work we do. We can expand and focus on different skills and head in different directions, but we always tend to get busy.
When we get busy, we forget to look up and see what more is out there. Of the many ways we can live a bigger life.
We stop asking questions like:
- “Is this the type of work I want to be doing?”
- “Is this the client I want to partner with?”
- “What will really happen if I don’t respond to that email within 10 minutes?”
- “What skills do I want to learn to help me be a better me?”
- “How can I still do great work, but also become a better person?”
I felt like I finally looked up for the first time in a long time. And I wasn’t at all pleased with the world I built… I had fallen into the same bad work habits, with some improvements sure, that I had when I worked for someone else.
So I jumped without a net again.
I told the consulting client that it was time to move on. I told my long-time client that our time would be ending at the end of our project.
I knocked off a few of the long-hanging fruit. I fought to get back the freedom and flexibility I crave, regardless that those two clients were approximately 30% of my monthly income (and more "reliable" than my other income streams).
A weight was lifted from my shoulders immediately, but the worry was still there. It wasn’t the “smart” choice… the smart path was the one I was on. But for me and the work I want to do, it was time to be uncomfortable again.
Which leads me to where I am today.
I want to encourage all of you to look up; stop being busy for a few minutes and answer these questions for your own work/business, and share them in the comments below:
- Is this the type of work I am energized about more than not?
- How can I live my life and work, bigger?
Melissa Anzman is the creator of Launch Your Job where she equips ambitious leaders with practical ways to grow their career. She is the author of two books: How to Land a Job and Stop Hating Your Job. Follow her @MelissaAnzman.