Image via Charles Deluvio
With the world in the distress and years of pandemic fatigue behind us, the engine that used to power you may be fading and your motivation to work fading. While facing feelings of guilt, you might start to wonder - what happened so that the work which once gave me so much energy, suddenly feels so burdensome?
The fatigue is real. It is as human, as understandable as it is pivotal.
Let’s note: Hard work does not necessarily get rewarded the way it used to, if the system we live in – be that healthcare or our banks - stands at a crossroad.
So this is about creating a master plan. To reinvigorate what you might think has been lost: Your inspiration, your motivation, your love for the things you create.
Your motivation for business, busy-ness and entrepreneurial thinking.
A crisis may wipe out all three of them. Motivation is the drive we discover as we see a meaningful goal become attainable, harnessing a skillset we believe to have somewhat mastered.
What is meaningful in a world that doesn’t nourish the ego any more, as social events (aka key opportunities to see-and-be-seen) are regulated away? As standard forms of consumption ranging from dining out, to adventure travel or (offline) shopping become a safety hazard? As the product, the making of which you used to love, now suddenly needs to be “virtual”?
So where do we look instead?
How to reconcile lifestyle expectations and entrepreneurial necessities
Let’s start by making a distinction between making money, living your passion and making money with your passion. And let’s face the reality that anything bearing the title of “money” will ultimately be related to you selling stuff. Whether it is just “stuff” or “stuff you are passionate about”. Where it’s not about you, but your customers.
Many passion-preneurs embark on their “making money with their passion”-endeavour with the all-so-human hope of a less-triggering career. Whether a lack of humanness at the work place or a general antipathy to the tasks direct supervisors provided you with.
The pain crises like this pandemic cause is that they cruelly surface when lifestyle-preneurship gets entangled with entre-preneurship: When the painful necessities of being an entrepreneur outweigh the expected or “hoped-for” benefits of the freedom and fulfilling lifestyle we wished to create. When the world once had magically unfolded around us – and now that it doesn’t do that anymore we grieve our loss of motivation.
For some reason lifestyle-preneurship is at times seen as the lesser good in comparison to “true entrepreneurship”. However, let’s understand, it is as honourable to embark on a journey of adjusting our lifestyle to one’s desires, as it is honourable to pursue entrepreneurship. Nothing is wrong about healing the pain from being ignored by our bosses or from suffering in silence behind one’s desktop.
The content page of your master plan
The challenge hence is not to make lifestyle-preneurship fit into entre-preneurship, but to discern between the two. So in order to lay out your strategy, consider these questions:
To which extent are you truly motivated by lifestyle and to which extent by entrepreneurship i.e. sales, business building and “money making”? Both are fine. Both are great. And both require a different set of actions.
What needs, hopes and expectations have you initially started out with (gotten seduced by)? Which of these are related to the “life you want to live” and which of these are related to the “entrepreneurial impact you seek to have”? What is the true source for your business activities?
What are ways to preserve the life you want to live? What initiative is needed from you? And (to which extent) will you dare to simply experience joy of life – no matter which circumstance you are in?
What are the entrepreneurial necessities for your business in these days? How would it look like if you implemented those full-heartedly, fast and with the outlook of generating inspiring impact?
The daring moment of decision
Let’s take a deep breath on that. And for once don’t escape into the soothing idea that we can have it all. We don’t have to. We do not have to live for ourselves and for our customers. Let’s understand that they may just paradoxes we might be dangling between. Back and forth. That there are times for one and times for the other. That – not always – is the answer to find balance, but to make choices. And that taking a stance can be freeing, too.
The Swan by Rainer Maria Rilke
This laboring of ours with all that remains undone,
as if still bound to it,
is like the lumbering gait of the swan.
And then our dying—releasing ourselves
from the very ground on which we stood—
is like the way he hesitantly lowers himself
into the water. It gently receives him,
and, gladly yielding, flows back beneath him,
as wave follows wave,
while he, now wholly serene and sure,
with regal composure,
allows himself to glide.
Written by Astrid Schrader, Founder of The Arc – Leadership Bootcamps and Coaching for impact-driven individuals seeking to build a meaningful career.
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