Archive | May, 2015

Entrepreneurship and the Elusive “Enough”

29 May

I’ve realized that I have a pattern of striving for the elusive “enough.”

What does “enough” mean? I love words, so I turned to my handy friend Dictionary.com, and learned a definition of enough:

“In a quantity or degree that answers a purpose or satisfies a need or desire; sufficiently.”

This gave me pause and made me really look at what I’m doing. I’m constantly berating myself for not “doing enough,” “being good enough,” “making enough money,” caught in a maelstrom of “You are not enough.” It’s the double-edged sword of being a motivated person—you are always working toward the next goal and you tend to get quite a bit done, but it never, ever feels like “enough.”

As an entrepreneur, or anyone who is self-employed or embarking on some self-directed activity, it’s really hard to know what is “enough.” It’s not like you have a boss evaluating your performance every quarter or really anybody giving you feedback about what you’re doing. The beautiful, and terrifying, part of it is that you have to decide what your purpose, need, or desire is, and then go about figuring out how to satisfy it sufficiently.

Which, in case you’re wondering, is really hard. Because there’s this insidious part of your psyche that’s always looking around and seeing what other people are doing or have done and comparing your efforts to others. “Oh. Her website looks ten million times better than mine.” “Oh, his product is selling like hotcakes.”

I know that I get caught up in this game of constant comparison to people who are not doing the same thing that I’m doing. In fact, NOBODY is doing the same thing that I’m doing. I can be inspired and learn from others, but at the end of the day, I have to look at my real purpose.

Why did I even start my own business? What am I trying to achieve? I started my business because I feel so strongly about dance and about getting other people to dance, that I truly do not understand what else I would be doing. I love my work. I love my job. The moment I knew I was doing the right thing was when all my days of the week held equal value—Mondays are as good as Fridays to me.

I have to evaluate my purpose—to get other people dancing and as fired up about dance as I am. I get caught up in the numbers game—“Oh, only a handful of people came to that class,” or “Only a few people liked that Facebook post.” I have to remember that I love every person I get to interact with—it’s FUN. Every person I work with is truly special to me. There’s no greater feeling than having people smiling and moving to the music because I helped them get there. I was looking at pictures from my first big event, “Spirits and Salsa,” and was totally blown away by how HAPPY all the guests looked in the pictures. If that’s not enough, I really don’t know what is.

When you’re feeling like you’re not “enough,” can you go back to your purpose? If you’re clear about you’re purpose, I have a feeling you’ll find that what you’re doing is more than enough.

Beat of your own drum is boring

17 May

I always hated when people told me I marched to the beat of my own drum. Because that’s a cliche. And if I were *really* moving to a sound that has yet to be heard by someone else on a percussive instrument of my own design, then I wouldn’t be able to be defined by a cliche.

But recently, I had an epiphany. The reason people needed to describe me with such a trite expression was simply because nothing else existed to describe me.

And that doesn’t apply to just me.

It applies to anyone who strikes out on their own. Anyone who has something to say or express in a way that isn’t “in line” with what society deems acceptable.

Which is, in my experience, almost everyone.

But for some odd reason, we (myself included) don’t have the balls to truly go and make our own noise. We’re content to be told that we are marching to the beat of our own drums when that’s not the case, we are waltzing to the fucking concerto of our own philharmonic symphony. Or  [insert movement] to the [insert sound] of your own [insert musical instrument/grouping/style].

You get my drift.

So what this has led me to realize is that to really do the things you want to do, to be yourself, you have to be completely synchronized with your idiosyncratic rhythms.

I’ve been reflecting a lot on finding my own rhythms. Everyone functions optimally at a different rhythm. Some people do best when they wake up at 6 am, others when they go to bed at 6 am. Some do better eating three meals a day, others need eight. It’s really easy to get pigeonholed into other people’s rhythms. Some people operate FABULOUSLY on the 9 am to 5 pm schedule. Others (like me) do not.

I’m learning to respect my rhythms and use them to my advantage, so that I can harness the power of my most productive hours and not try to force myself to work when what I really need is a nap (yeah, don’t expect me to do anything worthwhile at 4 pm).

Being YOU, getting YOUR stuff done the way that only YOU can do it means high-stepping to the sound of your own polka band.

If you will.

It’s doing you to the nth degree. It’s staying in your pajamas until 10 am on a Tuesday because that’s what you need to do to get that newsletter written. It’s sipping a glass of wine on the patio while balancing your books, because otherwise, they will never get done. It’s taking a nap at 3 pm so you can teach and rehearse until midnight.

So yes, others may look at your daily schedule and feel some confusion. The only way they may be able to describe how you operate is “Hm. She sure marches to the beat of her own drum.” You can smile and nod politely, waiting for them to come up with a more creative (and accurate) way to describe your existence. But don’t wait too long…it’ll surely throw off your timing.