You’re late, in a hurry. Your heart is racing, and your breath is heavy…
You grip the steering wheel, check the clock, and with a very long stretch of open road with no one in your way, you think, “Yes! I might make it!”
But hope is shattered when a car traveling half your speed pulls into your lane and blocks your way.
“… are you kidding me? I don’t have time for this!”
In frustration, you remember how familiar this painful feeling is. You never have enough time.
You're always rushing through life looking for brief moments to breathe, enjoy the present, or catch up on something that's falling behind. But you never find a long enough moment to get anything productive done.
Is this what life is?
Will be like this forever?
What you really want is more time for your side hustle, but deep down, you know it'll only happen if you give something up. If you let go of something that's important to you.
But what are you willing to give up?
What can you give up?
You can’t give up your job.
And Time Isn’t Your Only Problem…
Here’s another scenario…
You’re waiting for an appointment, staring at your phone, and scrolling social media.
Joe and Sally, who you haven’t seen in years, just posted pictures of their new house. Nice…
A three-car garage? Really?
Is that a boat in their driveway?
And what about the endless backyard with a gazebo and a pool?
Leave it to social media to make you feel like a failure. Or at the very least, inadequate.
Not only do you not have time, you don't have a boat, a gazebo, or a pool.
In fact, it's much worse. Your bank account is running on empty and your “friends” are rubbing it in your face.
Well, not really, but the effect is the same.
Here you are, putting everything you have (including your soul) into your home business.
Every minute and every penny you have but so far… you have nothing to show for it.
“One day!” you tell yourself, “One day I’ll have a house like that, and I’ll have enough *money* and enough *freedom* to enjoy it.”
The entrepreneur's life is anything but easy. You’ve tried a dozen things, but none of them have worked. Your family is frustrated and borderline angry. Your friends are probably talking behind your back… secretly hoping you fail.
Somehow, YOUR pain makes them feel better…
They’d sooner buy a new BBQ before spending time or money on their own future. Investing in a course to learn a new skill, for example, or hitting the gym.
And from your perspective, they seem happy. Happier than you. Maybe more successful too.
It's no wonder you’re in doubt. On the outside, you project confidence. But inside, you wonder if your efforts are a waste of time. If your craving to do something more is a character flaw.
For all your efforts and sacrifices, you’re just scraping by while your friends have the new house, the shiny car, and the new BBQ.
It’s NOT Your Fault
Most (if not all) entrepreneurs go through this.
The “go-to-school” and “get-a-good-job” message has been hammered into us so deep it’s in our DNA.
As sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, a job is the best path to happiness and prosperity. Or so we've been told.
And when you look around, that may be true. From my perspective, it seems that way.
Sure, starting your own business or side hustle is admirable, but is it worth it? Most fail. And for all your hard work, what's the point if you can’t have your dream house, your new car, and a nest egg to retire on?
While you’re slogging away at the computer, in your garage, or wherever your hustle is… investing in new knowledge and skills, your friends are renovating their kitchen and going on vacations.
Don’t worry. They’ll post pictures of it all on Facebook for you to see.
But more than likely, your friends are feeling their own version of this, comparing themselves to others. They may even be comparing themselves to you. Secretly admiring your courage to do what they can't. To walk the road less traveled.
They feel it, and you feel it because,
- You're human, and…
- Consumerism is being shoved down your throat.
Most people collapse under society’s pressure, and like an addiction, they give up their dreams to play it safe. To compete with their neighbors. To find their own happiness.
And they're not wrong.
Compared to the hundreds of thousands of years that came before, even the status quo is pretty good.
But it's not enough, is it?
You want more.
No one is immune to desire. And big companies and corporations spend billions to exploit it.
And It Doesn't Get Any Easier…
There are realities we can’t ignore.
Even if you’re willing to do whatever it takes to get what you want, that doesn’t mean you can.
You're rushing through life already. What more can you do?
You may or may not be familiar with the myth of busy, the idea that being busy is just an excuse, a fairy tale we tell ourselves that isn't true. That none of us are “actually” busy. We just think we are.
While that’s certainly true for some, for others, busy is 100% real.
And no one understands this better than the struggling entrepreneur, particularly one who also has a full-time job, car payments, a mortgage, and a family.
But here’s the thing…
The busy “naysayers” are half-right. Busy is a partial myth (whatever a that is).
The truth is, you can always simplify and become less busy.
You can sell, downsize, or maybe even move somewhere cheaper to live. You may even be able to move to a different country or join the van life community to save money and gain more time.
It's all about choices. Hard choices.
But even though YOU might be okay with simplifying your life, what if you have a family?
What if your debt is underwater?
What if you're willing to sell your house and downsize, but before you can, it needs renovation?
What if you’re a full-time student juggling part-time jobs just to keep a 10’x10’ roof over your head?
You can walk away from it all but that doesn't mean there won't be consequences.
So busy is NOT always a myth.
You probably have responsibilities, and freedom won't happen (for you or your family) if your nights are spent watching TV and your weekends shopping.
And freedom won't happen for them if you make that mythical decision to walk away from it all.
But What if You Had Superpowers?
A superhero is someone who can do what others can’t. A person who has powers others don’t have.
Putting your life on hold and purposely doing without is something most people can’t do. At least, not for long.
If people could, the economy would probably collapse. Literally.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting more… as I mentioned above, it’s another way of saying we’re human.
But those who can stick with it, who can give up today for a greater tomorrow, are rare. They are superhuman.
They are able to do what most can’t and go where most can’t go.
Some have the courage to fight when failure is almost certain. They get up and then fight some more.
They can ignore what’s being said behind their backs and they have conviction. They don't think “I’m going to try this for a few months and see what happens”.
They commit. They have patience.
They have internal strength.
That’s your superpower, and it separates you from the 99.9% who can ONLY SAY they’d give anything to be where you'll be but never would.
Not Quite Ready to Fly, But Feeling a Little Lighter
Imagine knowing that no matter what, if you lost everything today, you’d still be okay.
In fact, better than okay. Knowing that if you lost everything, it would be a blank canvas to start over and to live out a fantasy so many people have, which is…
“If I could only go back and do it all over again.”
I’m not talking about losing your family. And giving up most things in life is easier said than done.
But if your goal is to do something more, to achieve something most people don't (or can't), you must start somewhere. And there is tremendous power in being able to give something up to do it.
In one of Tim Ferris' podcasts (author of The Four-Hour Workweek), he interviews Kevin Kelly, Co-Founder of Wired Magazine and The All Species Foundation.
Kevin talks about empowering yourself through “voluntary simplicity”… learning to live with nothing more than a backpack and some oatmeal.
It sounded crazy.
But maybe not that crazy.
He goes as far as to call voluntary simplicity a necessary “life skill” because knowing you can live with just a backpack and oatmeal is true confidence.
The confidence of knowing that if life goes sideways (at least, financially sideways), you’ve been there, and you've lived it. It’s not that scary.
Similar sentiments are made by The Minimalists, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, who have helped empower millions to shed their material burdens.
Chrome Valdez of Vancity Vanlife (and many other van lifers) has also given people the confidence to simplify their lives by showing the world that “stuff” isn't everything.
That doesn't mean you must give up wanting. It's about knowing what you want more. Stuff and things that prove your worth, or the time you need to build your “empire”.
I'm not sure anyone is free from envy or desire, but those who get what they want, know what they want.
And they know what to give up to get it.
In truth, everyone has this “superpower” to give up. Unlocking it, though, that’s the key.
It probably won't happen overnight. You’re still rushed, stuck, and struggling. Frustrated that the life you want belongs to someone else and that you don't have the time or money to get what you want.
But you know you can get it. You just need that time or money. And deep down, you know it’s worth it.
What you need is a place to start, and this I share from experience…
My wife and I sold anything we had that wasn’t being used. We gave away (literally) truckloads of junk, moved to a smaller house, and even got rid of one of our vehicles.
We reduced our expenses to less than half of what they were.
You probably won’t need to go that far. Maybe start with a garage sale or put that watch you never wear on eBay. Fewer dinners out, or temporarily suspend a hobby.
If you can give up enough to reduce a meaningful chunk of your expenses, you might be able to take a less demanding job. In my case, I was able to survive driving Uber, which opened up a dozen or more hours per week to build the business I desperately wanted.
Giving up felt amazing.
Try it. You’ll have less stress, less frustration, more time, and while it won’t be perfect, you’ll have more open roads in front of you.
It might even feel like you have a superpower 🙂