Why Working for Yourself is the Scariest Thing You’ll Ever Do

Start by doing what’s necessary, then what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible – St. Francis of Assisi

As I sat waiting on an potential client who never showed up to our meeting, I thought to myself how very scary it is to get up in the morning and know that everything that is done today depends solely on me. All the disappointment that the day brings, all the anxiety, the prep-work and planning, the feelings of accomplishment or in this case, the feeling that time and effort is being wasted – all that’s on me. Whether I get up in the morning ready to start work, or spend the day lazing around watching reruns of Scrubs; whether I’m are able to push past the hassles of a life built solely on self-motivation or I let every hurdle in the road hit me, smack in the groin…all that’s up to me.

That’s the reality of self-employment. It’s not glamorous, it’s not a “sure thing” and most days there are more questions than answers. The pressure of knowing that regardless of if you fail or succeed, the onus rests on you is extremely daunting. Some days I feel extremely productive and optimistic, other days I feel inferior to those who fit into a cookie-cutter career, have a boss to…boss them, a steady salary and a set modus operandi between 8-4. Sometimes my work overflows into the night, into the weekend, when everyone else is relaxing or partying I’m making plans, implementing plans, planning to plan…

Here’s the truth working for yourself: Sometimes I have to tell my friends I can’t make it to a get together simply because I can’t afford it. Not that my friends spend tons of money, but because I’m simply not sure if I have the change to spare. That’s embarrassing, but it’s the truth. Time isn’t the only resource that goes into breaking away from the norm. In fact, time is easy to spare compared to the physical energy, brainpower and psychological fortitude that it takes to get through every day – not because my life is so hard or because I’m so badly off because of my decision to be self employed, but because I am literally the beginning, middle and end of the story. There is no coworker, boss or work environment to blame for being miserable. There is no late salary, transit or not getting enough credit to complain about, there’s no discounting or displacing anything onto anyone. It’s just you, your dreams, and your drive to succeed.

Since the moment I realized that risks were meant to be take, I’ve told myself one thing – you’re only a hero if it works – and every morning that I wake up and casually (not) peruse the mountain I’ve set out to climb, this thought scares the hell out of me. That’s the beauty and the curse of betting on yourself. Taking yourself seriously is one hell of a double-edged sword. My gymnastics coach always said, “don’t try, just do” and for the life of my I could never come to understood that in the moment. I mean, I’m “trying” in hopes of “doing”, right? Oddly enough that makes perfect sense to me now, because trying leaves room for failure, and failure cannot be afforded – it’s too f@%king exhausting…

(photo credit)


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