You can spot an entrepreneur the second the topic of work comes up. Their eyes light up. They smile. Their speech quickens as they eagerly describe their business.
With a tiny bit of prodding they’ll share all the details you can handle about their latest challenge or upcoming product launch.
There’s a certain energy about it. It’s less like hearing about someone’s work and more like hearing about a relationship.
And even when they don’t have the smoothest pitch, or get a bit lost in the details, it’s always better than the opposite — hearing someone talk about work they don’t care about.
The signs for that are equally obvious.
The person’s eyes glaze over as they let you know that “things are fine” (sigh). You’ll still get an earful of details but mostly around annoyances. There are mentions of a painful commute, clueless bosses, and the plodding march toward a vacation that always feels a little too far away.
Those become the focus points when we lose interest in our actual work.
That’s why I love working with entrepreneurs. It’s way more interesting to spend time with people who are deeply invested in what they do. It’s why I support entrepreneurship through my writing, resources, and with the products I create. It’s why I’m an entrepreneur myself.
I want everyone who has an idea to pursue, or is already in the thick of it, to have the best possible chance to succeed.
And I believe their success should be a product of their determination rather than their current set of skills, level of experience, or the random circumstances of their background.
Everyone should have have the opportunity to create a meaningful connection to their work.
Different Shapes And Sizes
Entrepreneurship can come in many forms. You don’t have to scrap everything and go all-in on a new venture with a grand exit.
“Who’s coming with me?!” (source)
Side hustles are an excellent way to test the waters of entrepreneurship. It gives you a chance to explore an idea while maintaining a source of fuel to keep life moving.
It’s also possible to have an entrepreneurial experience working for someone else. The key is finding companies that give their employees real ownership of their work. If you see lots of folks that are invested in what they do and have stuck around a long time, you’re on the right track.
The opportunity to utilize your skills and have the autonomy to make and own your decisions is what cultivates that fulfillment.
When you feel that entrepreneurial connection, it creates a shift from simply needing to do something to wanting to do it.
Embracing Work, Not Escaping It
I recently read The 4 Hour Workweek for the first time. I’d known about the book for years, but I had avoided it because the concept didn’t resonate with me. The premise of escaping work in order to spend my days lounging in an island hammock has never been my dream.
After reading it, I admit I was wrong about some of the message but right about one very important piece.
Despite the gimmicky title, I was wrong in the sense that the book does provide quality advice to help someone pursue entrepreneurship. It provides endless tactics for getting started on a simple business, shifting your mindset about money, and focusing on high-value tasks.
What I dislike though, is how the book portrays work as a necessary evil strictly for generating money. That you just need to follow a simple recipe, collect your passive income, and then enjoy your time doing the things you really want to do.
It’s the idea that to enjoy life you need to break your dependency on work.
My view of entrepreneurship is very different. It isn’t a quest to escape work. It’s a mission to find work that fulfills you.
Rather than viewing work as a burden to carry, recognize that being connected to your work can lead to deeper satisfaction with your life.
Of course being connected to your work doesn’t make it easy.
Even foolproof formulas require a ton of work to become successful. A ton.
So, why take on all of that effort and risk to build something you don’t really care about?
If you’re going to seize the opportunity to do something new, why not focus on building a business that utilizes your skills and interests in a meaningful, connected way?
This is how you achieve long term fulfillment in your work.
It’s about getting invested in what you do. It’s making work something you want to embrace rather than escape.
Will you have to work on it for more than 4 hours per week? Yes, of course. Anything worthwhile requires a lot of time and effort.
But when you’re feeling that fulfillment. When you’re connected to what you do. When you’re realizing the best version of yourself by utilizing your skills and owning your decisions, you’re excited to put in that effort.
We should all aspire to be the person who wants to talk someone’s ear off because they feel so good about what they do that they can’t shut up about it.
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