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Losing Ones' Self

In the midst of “adulting,” we become so busy working, dropping kids off to school and picking them back up, grocery shopping, going to football practices and dance lessons, teaching Sunday School, leading scout troops, and the list goes on…..that we forget WHO we are.

We wake up one day and we’ve become a long list of WHAT’S. We’ve become mother, father, wife, husband, caretaker, chauffer, chef, baker, teacher, tutor, hairdresser, barber, short-order cook, housekeeper, dog walker and the list goes on…...

After a long day of switching hats from one “what” to another “what,” we get maybe 45 minutes a day to think about WHO we are again. In many cases, to be honest, we don’t put any real thought into this until the kids are older or are out of school, or some big event occurs like divorce, bankruptcy or death of a loved one.

We start focusing more on our 9 to 5 job, and what we really want to do with our lives. If we’ve not been too distracted with all of our titles and duties, we’ve built a nice career that we love and value. But, I’ve heard from far too many people that their job is just a job for them.

Sure, they may have enjoyed their jobs in the beginning, but now, it’s a means to an end. It’s no longer challenging and no longer enjoyable. Sometimes, they’ve just outgrown that particular job.

In the last decade, we have seen the rise of the “gig economy,” which is has it’s pros and cons. Many people are lured into this “gig” or temporary job market thinking that they will have more control over their time and the money they earn. What the find out is that they work more hours for less money and no benefits. Some people quit their regular jobs to become full-time entrepreneurs, a world that most are not ready for financially, mentally or professionally.

They lose themselves again for the pressures of driving the business towards success. I love the entrepreneurial spirit, but I caution people to do their homework first and understand the demands of running a business. I also advise individuals to keep their day jobs while they dream big about the business they want to start. It takes money to live and money to run a business, any business.

Establish a budget, start saving and even put money aside for your future business. Start small and scale up over time. This gives you time to see what works for you, without risking your income and perhaps losing yourself again in a sea of debt, sleepless nights and worry.

Talk to others who have small businesses and learn from them. Take business classes and work on your business plan, then save more money, all while you are working on your 9-5.

When you’ve saved enough money to pay six months or more of your bills, and you’ve educated yourself, then begin implementing your business plan. Now, I understand that many people were thrown into business startups during this pandemic when their primary jobs ended. Hopefully, their businesses will survive and grow. They may find it necessary to take on additional part-time jobs to make ends meet while they grow their business.

All of this is really normal and despite what seems to be a roller-coaster ride, it can help one truly find themselves.

Failing, picking yourself up again, and running towards success is how you find yourself, whether you’re an entrepreneur, have a regular 9 to 5 job or a contracted “gig.” The moral of this story is to just keep working at it and working on yourself. You’re going to fail and you will learn from each failure and success. More importantly, you’ll figure out WHO you are and with work you can align it with WHAT you do.

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