It’s 5:30 am and I’m already awake. You’re probably thinking, less then ten words into this post, that I’m absolutely insane. You’re right. But recently, the days are blurring together – having recently joined the “no longer dreads Monday morning” club – I’m quickly learning that the old “weekend” I used to know has all but flown out the window.
So, only a few weeks ago I ended my stint with the nine to five world – since then, I’ve done everything I can to make my business legitimate. Business is good, no complaints, and I’m doing what I love – but what I’m realizing more and more is that this “life” isn’t for everyone – being your own boss and starting your own business isn’t and shouldn’t be the end goal for every single one of us. Your passions shouldn’t lie in what anyone else is telling you or what anyone else is doing – and your goals shouldn’t be bench-marked on societies – at times – ridiculous expectations.
Generation Y is a pretty “loaded” term these days – one that means many different things to many different people. But above all, when I think of Generation Y, I think of “Generation Now”. We may be movers and shakers – we are no doubt the future of society and the world in general, but we’re also incredibly impatient – we’re inundated with stories of entrepreneurship, location independence, and “living the dream”…
I admire the heck out what many of my fellow Gen-Yers have accomplished, but this “now, now, now” attitude is brainwashing us to think that if you’re doing ANYTHING less than your most idealistic dream, you’re “settling”.
“Oh, you’re working a retail job to pay the bills while you pursue your dream of becoming a musician? You’re a sucker – just go be a musician.”
You get the point. The fact is there’s a REAL world out there with REAL people who are doing everything they can possibly think of to live the dream – and it isn’t glamorous – it’s not working from a beach in Europe – it’s living in a tiny one bedroom apartment eating Ramen while you work an hourly job to save up money for that coffee shop you want to open someday. It’s sacrifice – and a willingness to accept that it may not be “now” but it WILL BE the future.
It may not be what people are writing about and talking about because it’s not as “sexy”…but honestly, I admire the hell out of EVERYONE out there, regardless of what they’re doing, who is working toward improving their quality of life, and the quality of life for the people they love. Those location-independent entrepreneurs are great – I’m good friends with many and they are doing some amazing things – but we have to stop putting them on a pedestal, and honestly, stop measuring our own success against the one’s we’d say are “living the dream”. Yes they put in hard work to get where they are, yes they very well may be doing what you love. But so can you, so ARE you – and if you’re not. Do something about it, but stop worrying about them.
Find YOUR dream. Find passion in what YOU love – whatever that means to YOU. Stop listening to me. Stop listening to everyone else. Stop measuring yourself against other people’s accomplishments and please stop saying “I wish I could do what so-and-so is doing”. Just go do it – set your own goals and stop following.
Your passion doesn’t have to revolve around your career, either – so stop thinking that. Your passion can be anything from learning how to climb a rope to marrying the woman you love and starting a family. There’s no limit. We often forget there are more important things in life than earning a paycheck…
Here’s the thing – by following – by riding on the coattails of everyone else – when will you ever be a leader? When will you ever be an innovator? The answer is never – you’ll never be where YOU want to be when your worrying about everyone else and measuring your own success against the success of others. Stop with the jealousy, eliminate the ill-will you may be feeling toward others – listen, collaborate, endure, learn, persevere, try harder, and kick your OWN ass to be at your best.
“Your best” is when you’ve given something your absolute 100% best effort without any regrets or worrying about what anyone else thinks. Sometimes, I forget what that is – and odds are so do you. But it’s time that we step out of our bubble, step out of this tiny Gen Y niche which represents a TINY microcosm of society, and put ourselves out there in the real world and all of the opportunity it holds for us.
And for God sake, stop beating yourself up so much – Lord knows I’m guilty of this – I may be an enthusiastic, go-getter, suck-the-marrow-out-of-life kind of guy in the spotlight, but let’s be real. I doubt myself all the time. It’s part of being human. Just make sure you’re not dwelling on the doubt and lingering on the fear – Use both as fuel to succeed.
You don’t have to be a part of “Generation Now” - be a part of the hard-working, inspired, going to make the most out of today, tomorrow, and the next day generation. We all have a hell of a lot to be proud of.
(Image c/o dcdead)