Sometimes I think there is something wrong with me. I live a great life. Actually, I live an amazing life. Yet, it’s not enough.
I have a great job. I work for a great company, have a great boss and co-workers, I get 5 weeks of paid vacation plus holidays. I can go hike, bike, ski during my lunch hour and I make a good living. I am very lucky. I say thanks every day. Yet, I struggle. I need more. More vacation time. An even more flexible work schedule. I like what I do. I am good at what I do.
Why can’t I make that work for me? Why can’t I settle for that? What is wrong with me?
Then as I talk to people I learn many feel exactly the same way. They are in the same situation I’m in. They like their job and have a great life but it’s not enough. They feel restless. They feel confined. They need something different. They need more.
I don’t need more stuff or material things and neither do the people I talk to. What we crave is freedom. The option to set our own schedule instead of literally running in a hamster wheel from dawn to dusk with 8-5 work, chores and obligations.
We crave to design our days just the way we want to and also have the option to pursue our passions, not have someone else design it for us. We are trying to fit into this box society wants us to fit into but can’t. It just doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t make us happy even though we really want it to.
But is us wanting to design our own days realistic? Or are we just a spoiled generation of dreamers that grew up being told we could do anything we wanted? Should we just give up on that and accept that adult life really isn’t as much fun as we thought it would be? That this is what it’s like and deal with it? After all, our parents and grandparents did.
The answer to that is: No, we shouldn’t settle. Our parents and grandparents did mostly out of necessity. They worked inside that box so that we didn’t have to settle. To settle would be to dishonor all the decades they quelled their dreams for just so that we could have a better life.
What we need to do is to keep the work ethic they had but change the box that society created.
We need to break the box and re-build it. Not just think outside it. Make it moldable. It’s already happening. More and more employers allow telecommuting, flexible schedules and focus on results instead of hours worked. Start-up businesses are on every corner. The word entrepreneur and solopreneur are now commonly heard. Dave Ramsey put the word EntreLeadership on the radar a few years ago with his best-selling book.
Becoming an entrepreneur or finding a way to break and mold that box isn’t easy, it takes hard work and guts. Our society is still very much a “one fits all” box and run on the “don’t rock the boat” mentality.
I’m working on breaking and molding that box but it’s scary. The box I’m working on isn’t that bad of a box. Opposite, it’s quite good! What if it doesn’t work out and I end up losing something great?
What if life outside the hamster wheel really isn’t what I envisioned? What if all the encouragement and tips I share here still being in my hamster wheel while helping others get off theirs were just big, fat lies and I should have never told you to go for your dreams? Do I then shamefully need to start a blog called “Stay In Your Hamster Wheel” even though the majority of people I meet want to leave theirs?
Naturally all the “what if’s” are coming out of the woodwork. But then it’s a whole lot easier to focus on what can be lost (the known) instead of what can be gained (the unknown). Too often we limit our mindset and we end up telling ourselves we’re going to fail before we even try.
I love to hear your thoughts on this. Please share in the comments.