In most cases they don’t know what exactly they want to change and even what they love, but are convinced they are born to do something bigger. That’s at least what they are told by the media and social networks. The Career Man has been thrown off from its pedestal and replaced by The Loving Entrepreneur.
The DWYL boom has made the lives of all those still working (or choosing to work) in the corporate sector miserable. You don’t want to create the new Facebook? Loser. You are pretty happy with knowing what you’ll be earning 3 years from now? Triple loser. You’ve turned 30 and haven’t created yet a multi-billion business, or at least a blog visited by a few hundred thousand readers a day? Your life is wasted.
There’s a clear reason why this is happening. Corporates failed at large to recognize and utilize multiple aspects of one’s personality. An ideal employee is a ‘function’, not a living human being. In the corporate viewpoint, he should only have a couple of qualities that help him do his routine job. Everything else is a distraction and is strongly discouraged by most corporate cultures, consciously or subconsciously.
People, however, don’t like to be put into boxes and seen as machines, even if they can act as such. They might not understand what is happening, but when they are underutilized and not encouraged to be their bigger selves, when they are not appreciated for who they are as humans, they get disengaged. They start intuitively looking for something that will make them feel whole and happy. And in this moment they get fed the tale of The Loving Entrepreneur.
I’m almost risking to become a social pariah to say that, but not everyone is fit to become an entrepreneur. It may sound weird to say that given that most of the work I do is with entrepreneurs and people who want to change their careers to something more fulfilling. But this is exactly the reason I’m saying this. Not everyone can be a Steve Jobs. And not everyone needs to, by the way.
A recent article in The Guardian mentions that ‘doing what you love’ essentially is a privilege for the rich. In my opinion, it’s not simply about your income, but about managing your expectations and, mostly importantly, your ego.
Society is putting the pressure on us not only to do what you we love (which is nothing wrong in itself), but also get instantly successful with it, sell our product to the millions and be featured at least in Forbes, if not Techcrunch. And this is what makes the whole thing very dangerous. Entrepreneurship is not about success. It’s about trying and making mistakes, failing and starting again. If you are getting into it with an idea that you must succeed, you are putting yourself under an enormous pressure. Instead of being flexible and curious, you become rigid and attached to the success. Guess what: success never comes when you are demanding for it.
I worked with many clients who were very optimistic when they first got into doing what they loved, and a few months later came to me totally burned out. They litigated with their friends, because they didn’t find the support they were looking for. They lost some of their social connections because they kept spamming them on Facebook and Twitter telling everyone about their new venture. The clients were not signing up, or they were stupid. They were constantly frustrated because the world was not making everything ready for them. They stopped believing in themselves and in doing what they loved. This was the power of false expectations.
The truth is, nobody owes you anything. Entrepreneurship is about other people, and not yourself. It’s about making other people happy and fulfilled, not yourself. Doing what you love is YOUR own reward, and it might or might not be rewarded by other people. It will, if they share your passion, but they don’t have to. You do.
The Loving Entrepreneur doesn’t love himself. He loves other people.
Yes, you should follow your heart. But you should also use your head, and many other parts of your body.
The first step to doing something you really love and perhaps being successful in it is to ask yourself – apart from myself, who else can I make happy by doing what I love?