Create Your Story
My generation has become extremely comfortable with the idea of "creating your own career". We all long for flexible schedules, jobs that have built in adventure, and the warm and fuzzy feeling that comes along with doing work that you love. I don't disagree with any of these sentiments, but as more and more people catch on to the idea of being your own boss, I can't help but feel that we are losing the why behind it all. Anyone can decide to create their career in today's world. Build a free website, write a blog, pick up photography, and suddenly you are an artist. Business cards don't cost very much to print, and it's not hard to coin yourself as an entrepreneur if you have the right attitude. Invest your own money or invest someone else's money, create an LLC, and boom - you're an owner. Play music, record a few tracks, create a Kickstarter, and you are in business. Maybe you're profitable, maybe you aren't, but you feel that you have achieved the American dream, nonetheless.
Here me when I say that none of these things are inherently bad. In fact, if you are passionate about being an entrepreneur, I hope you find every way to make it work and make money doing it. However, in the midst of trying to create your dream career, it's easy to lose sight of how to live the dream. People who create their career often go in one of two directions. They slave away from morning til night and work themselves into the ground to become financially successful, or they take the opposite approach and become obsessed with "helping others" but fail to make a profit. Essentially, today's entrepreneurs often become an extreme of the for-profit or the social venture mindset.
I believe the dream career is twofold: it's the ability to financially support yourself and your family doing something you love, but it also allows you the space to breathe, create, give, and ultimately make an impact. I see too many non-profits and social ventures that have incredible hearts for service, but they are so focused on the people side of things that the business structure falls by the wayside. If you don't make money, you can't give money away. On the flip side, it's easy to become a slave to the business you own, constantly focused on the bottom line, and unable to delegate and step away. Neither are the goal, yet they are often the reality.
My husband and I both own our own companies, and we often talk about what success looks like in our ventures. Ultimately, he and I both feel that being an entrepreneur is not about creating your own career, but it is about creating your own story. Your career is one piece of your story, so it can't control the entire plot. Before you drop everything to go into business for yourself, figure out what you need to do to make the greatest impact with your life. It might not mean leaving your day job, and it might not mean finding conventional success in your 20's. But, creating your own story will always mean living your adventure, loving the life you live, and pursuing a path where the journey is more important than the final outcome. If you find yourself constantly questioning what you are going to do with your life, stop asking and start living. God can't move a parked car.