My business was my first love.
It was the first thing I gave everything to, and the first thing that gave everything to me. The two of us were absolutely faithful to each other. We were inseparable. You couldn’t tell where the company ended and I began.
However, like so many first loves, after ten years of spending every waking moment together, I found myself bored, burned out and lonely. The buzz just wasn’t have the same effect anymore. And I knew that if the two of us didn’t spend some time apart, there might not be any hope for us long term.
That’s when I made the unlikely decision to set aside my business and go work for somebody else. It was the last thing I ever thought I would do. It was the last thing anybody ever thought I would do.
But then again, maybe that was the point. Maybe I was clinging to my gift too tightly. Maybe the only way to truly own my career was to set it down for a while.
And so, I took a day job. I packed a lunch and commuted on the train and went to an office and collaborated with coworkers and answered to a boss and went to meetings and got a weekly paycheck. It was exquisitely ordinary and wildly refreshing. Like going on a break with your punk rock sweetheart to date a working girl in a beige pantsuit.
And the good news was, my enterprise didn’t go anywhere. I still ran my business on the side. I still kept one foot in each camp. I still maintained dual citizenship as both an entrepreneur and an employee.
But I had to see what else was out there. I had to sow my professional oats. And what’s interesting is, after a year of living this new life, something occurred to me.
I missed my sweetheart. I missed the freedom of entrepreneurship. I missed the ability to create my own future. But I only realized that once I took the risk to walk away.
Sting was right. If you love something, set it free. If you want to keep something precious, lock it up and throw away the key.
And so, two years later, once I had had my allotment, I returned to my roots. I reclaimed the mantle of entrepreneurship, reignited a relationship that I once thought was dead, and I’ve never been happier.
Lesson learned, if you don’t leave it, if you don’t create a vacuum, you can’t fully own it. If you never doubted anything, perhaps you never really believed it in the first place. Doubt is a sign that your faith has a pulse. Sometimes the only way to slay the dragon of doubt is to ride it into the sunset.
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What relationship do you need to walk away from?
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That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.
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