Solving for joy
For a new business to succeed, they say it takes time. What they don't say is that it also takes stamina. And to maintain stamina, it takes JOY.
First—about that time. Of course there's a huge investment up front.
There's the time we spend to set up and market the business. And the time it takes to send emails, make phone calls and arrange coffees to reel in the work.
There's the time we spend doing the work. Also, the time we invest in professional development. And then—everybody's least-favorite sinkhole for time—billing.
Shouldn't there also be a piece of the "time pie" for joy?
Companies invest millions of dollars to cultivate morale. But no half-day off-site retreat ever gave me lasting control over what mattered most. My time. My priorities. My impact.
Back then, I rarely felt joy. Nor did I see joy on the faces of those around me.
Having left full-time employment to consult and write, I get to bake the time pie now.
And I get to slice it up.
So far, here are a few things that I know are essential for joy to happen.
Freedom to prioritize. It's after 9 p.m. and I'm still at my desk—because I want to be. Today I also swam laps outdoors, wrote this blog, confirmed an assignment for tomorrow, and looked into making a 2-D "explainer" video featuring a talking flamingo.
Creative license. People ask me why I write this blog, and why I post to Medium—as though everything has to be monetized to be justifiable. “There must be a reason,” I say. “But I don't know yet what it is.” What if putting words on the page is just my way of discovering the world?
Purpose. I'm not yet working at my Highest and Best Use, but I do feel good about my general direction. But more important, I'm beginning to believe that the freedom to prioritize and the freedom to create are the very things that can help us find our purpose.
What if writing and sharing—in order to help other people discover their worlds—IS my purpose?
And what if my professional-services business is related enough, and meaningful enough, that while earning a modest living I might also experience joy.
Now. Yawn. About that stamina.
I guess I better get some rest.