“Follow your dreams!” That’s what everyone who has been successful in doing so always preaches, promising happiness, more free time and the ability to do what you love each and every day. The problem with taking that risk? The journey it takes to get there.
Now I’m not talking about the struggle to actually reach whatever goals you have for yourself, because, as we all know, accomplishing those takes time, patience, hard work and persistence. When I talk about the journey, I’m referring to something nobody actually tells you about when trying to inspire you to follow your dreams: the loneliness.
Within the past year, I decided it was finally time to give up chasing jobs that meant nothing to me and really go for it. Forget the fact that I had no fucking idea what “it” actually was yet, but I knew that working for someone else just wasn’t right for me, and applying to gigs that would pay high, but deliver low satisfaction, just weren’t going to cut. I also had the luxury of freelancing on the side, which allowed me flexibility throughout the day to work on finding the right venture I wanted to launch.
After initially thinking I’d write a book, I decided to keep it simple and do what I’ve been so successful at in my career: launch a digital production company. 10 months later, here I am, still (slowly) working on building this damn thing from the ground up. It’s been rewarding, but, man has it challenged me.
Contrary to what you might think, it’s not the money, nor the “no’s” I’ve heard from people, nor the dead end conversations, nor anything else that’s really gotten me down. It’s the loneliness.
Here’s a tricky little thing nobody tells you before you decide to follow your dreams: it’s just you!
Sure, you may have a couple people helping you along the way, but, in my experience, the isolation has been the most difficult part of this. It’s mornings checking your email for any leads. It’s late nights pounding out content or putting together pitch decks and business plans. It’s a lot of times at coffee shops, sitting solo, trying to gather all of your thoughts without help from anyone else. It’s realizing you work best during odd hours and not between the hours all your friends work.
There’s a reason why successful people claim it takes someone special to be an entrepreneur — because it’s an absolute mindfuck of an experience, and it’ll test your mental strength like never before.
Some days will be full of excitement, while other days you’ll hear crickets. And when it’s mid-January and the weather’s cold, rainy, snowy and dark, good luck trying to find the motivation and optimism that you’ll be successful — because it can be hella hard.
So go ahead and follow your dreams, but be prepared for the loneliness it brings — which may just be the most difficult part of the entire journey as a hopeful entrepreneur.
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