An unexpected book title emerges (and a bit of motivation as well)

I have been toying with the idea of entrepreneurship for the last, oh, 20 years of my life. I fantasize about running my own company on a daily basis. (This is not an exaggeration.) What the business is … that would be something I have struggled with for just about as long. I have far too many interests and for a long time I have been nursing this troubling mindset that I don’t have enough expertise in any one area to make a decent go at anything substantial. Plus, there’s the whole ‘you need money to make money’ thing. Plus I don’t have a business plan or sense of how to start… Plus… this is usually where my cycle of self-deprecation and defeat slides in and locks comfortably into place.

Recently, however, I have been shifting my thought process around what entrepreneurship looks like. For the longest time, I had this vision that I would have ONE BUSINESS, and that ONE BUSINESS would be my sole source of income. But I just couldn’t come up with what I felt was an actual workable idea for what the ONE BUSINESS would be. Then something clicked. I can’t remember what or when or how — but I’m guessing it was probably in the shower. (That’s where most of my good ideas happen.) I realized that if I am someone who thrives on having a wide variety of interests, any one of which can grab and hold my attention at any time, then why not consider that a strength rather than a liability when it comes to my paid work? What if I could have a bunch of smaller businesses or projects that could sustain me just as easily as one could? And if I really think about it, a bunch of smaller businesses that didn’t require my entire focus at every given moment might actually sustain me mentally as well as financially. At the risk of sounding cheesy, multiple income streams could possibly mean my ‘soul’ source of income rather than my ‘sole’ source of income.

(And now that I’ve come up with the title for my first book on living the entrepreneurial life… “Finding Your Soul Source of Income” … gods, doesn’t that just drip with self-help-y goodness?  … I really should move on.)

I think I’ve started to get a handle on what the foundation of this multiple-income-stream master plan might look like. And  can I just say… FINALLY. At the height of my depression over the last several months, because believe me, I have been immersed in a pretty dark place for a while — I would get really defensive whenever anyone would ask me about my plans for getting out of my current job situation. I would try to be polite, but anyone who knows me might detect the seething, red-hot anger just below the surface of my pat line: “I’m working on it.” Thing is, this response was a result of feeling stuck, scared, trapped, upset and helpless. And frankly, I still feel all of those things. Daily. I need to get away from my job – but it pays well enough and is comfortable enough that I find myself mired in it. Were I 10 years younger, I might take the risk I took when I quit a lucrative job at a great company and moved to Chicago on a whim with no job prospects. I am not in my 20’s anymore, and I am far less stupid. Granted… that stupidity turned out to be one of the best choices I have ever made … but my older, more mature and reasonably-economically-situated self doesn’t like to bring that up.

But in order to make this goal happen, eventually I am going to have to take a plunge. I’m just going to do it smarter than the 27 year-old I was when I showed up in the Windy City. But I can finally say that I have plans and schemes and dare I say it… a direction. I am ready to brainstorm and figure out how to make this all work. I am excited for the first time in months, and that’s no small thing.

Details to come. But for now, know that change is a’comin’. I don’t know exactly what the form will be, but I can’t help but feel a giddy sense of anticipation.

A Discovery of Delight

I turned 38 years old exactly one week ago. I suppose starting a blog a week after my birthday isn’t exactly auspicious, but this isn’t about being poetic. There are so many changes happening in my life right now – some anticipated, some completely out of the blue – that it seemed appropriate to document where I am now in relation to where I will be… sometime in the future. There’s no time limit on this, I suppose.

Changes are happening left and right after a period of status quo, all things normal, nothing really devastating or amazing happening, everything moving along just as it had been. It felt… comfortable. And all the time my soul was screaming. Because while I absolutely believe that “comfort” can be something to aspire to, I also believe it can mean “stagnation.” And I have been dangerously close to sinking into a state of stagnation.

So, change. It is happening, and I will admit, I am not doing a very good job of embracing it. Circumstances are dragging me kicking and screaming out of comfort into action. Rather than stamp my feet and throw a temper tantrum about it, I have decided to make a daily practice of cultivating wonder and amazement. Delight.

There is a poem by Jalal ad-Dīn Muhammad Rumi, my favorite 13th century Persian mystic, called “The Guest House” that is the inspiration for the title of this blog and this personal project. (Check out the sidebar for the whole poem.) This brave act of being human means that there will always be the unexpected, the devastating, the joyful, the heartbreaking, and the ecstatic moments. Every breath brings change and exchange. This last year or so, I have turned away from it. This year… I want to embrace and breathe it in.

For the forseeable future, I commit to finding things that delight me, fill me with hope, or otherwise invite change into my life that is a blessing — no matter how small. I will attempt to share these things with you here – and perhaps it will inspire some delight in your own guest house.

A little more wonder and amazement in the world certainly can’t hurt, right?