Is it right to postpone starting our own business?
Have you seen those studies they sometimes show on TV about child development?
Small children are presented with a sweet and told that, if they don’t eat it, when the adult comes back, they’ll get even more. Usually the sweet is in the toddler’s mouth before the researcher has left the room; however, as the children get older, they are able to wait for longer and longer before enjoying the rewards.
That learning gained as children, to postpone immediate gratification for a larger gain, takes on new proportions as our adult responsibilities grow.
By the time we are working and have mortgages and families, it can feel like most of what we do is for some future benefit. We stay in jobs we no longer enjoy, with organisations that don't appreciate us and bosses that drive us crazy, so we can have the things we think we need.
We hope that, by the time we get to really enjoy our rewards, they will have multiplied. We dream of doing what we love and spending time with those we love. Yet we've all heard of dedicated workers who dream and plan until they reach retirement, only to find nature has other ideas.
With all of our responsible adult behaviour, let’s not forget our creativity, dreams, and self-expression.There is a cost to squashing our playfulness, silencing our ideas, and setting our dreams aside.
“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost” - Martha Graham
If setting aside your creativity is what life is about for you, the chances are you are not actually seeing a cost. Repeatedly shutting down our desires often leads to feelings of numbness and disconnection, like going through life on auto pilot.
We might compensate ourselves with food, drink, and holidays; a glass of wine when we come home, or snacks through the day 'because we deserve it'. Perhaps we consume with the aim of changing our mood, or go further and regularly use drink or drugs to escape reality. Of course, all of these have implications for our health.
On top of these unhealthy habits is the stress we experience when we are spending time in a role we feel is not quite right for us.
Even though we might try, we cannot keep our work experiences from impacting our close relationships. We think we are making sacrifices for our families, whilst not realising the example we are setting as we deny the self-expression we are drawn to.
It is typical to fix on goals and improvements to make ourselves more comfortable, without really getting to the source of our frustration.
If we wake-up to recognise the problem, we still might not see a way out. We compare a career we regard as stable and predictable with unknown, unfamiliar options that look reckless and incompatible with our responsibilities, and we are quick to talk ourselves out of taking action.
The clearer the vision of the kind of business we really want to create, the one that fits with our passions and the lives we want to live, the more we can see how we, those around us, and our community will benefit from the creation of this service. This not only draws us forward, but also helps us get our loved ones onboard.
Revealing this vision is the first step towards mapping out the path we can follow to get there, and we can more accurately assess our readiness. Perhaps there’s a certain amount of rainy-day money we need to save, or a level of qualification and experience we want to gain in our current position that means we need to stay in employment for a specific time. In this situation, postponement might just be part of the plan.
Often, this clarity, and working towards creating our business, immediately eases our stress. On the outside, our lives might not look different, but never underestimate the power of purpose and intention.
Soon the outside will be changing as well.
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