It’s easy to get caught up on buildings careers, moving forward, adding more money to the bank account, but the additional money isn’t what makes us happy. When I left my job to start working for myself, my salary went down significantly in that first year on my own, but I was a lot happier. Now, as I’m older and my business is more established, I’m starting to take a critical look at how I use money. After all, it’s just a tool. We often use it as a barometer of success, but I think my day-to-day happiness is usually a better barometer of whether or not I’m headed in the right direction, professionally and personally.
My dad has a saying, “You get what you intend, not what you hope for.” How many things in our lives are we actually intentional about, though? In the creative (and development) world, I consistently see studios grow beyond their optimal size. Our culture rewards it, and often our internal drive is to be bigger because we’re told that bigger is better. But is it?
I haven’t been distracted by pushing a boulder up the wrong hill. I get to focus on doing really great work for excellent clients.
Like Berger & Föhr, I’ve been intentional about operating as a shop of one—I’m a bit of a design and development multi-tool. Some projects I team up with others (like Berger & Föhr) and other projects I handle by myself. I may not be this size forever, but it has been an intentional choice and a lot of rewarding things have come from it. The biggest bonus, though, is simply that I haven’t been distracted by pushing a boulder up the wrong hill. I get to focus on doing really great work for excellent clients. And, contrary to popular belief, my access to bigger and better projects has often come as a result of my practice size, not at the expense of it.
How intentional are you about the size and goals of your business?
Yes, it takes longer—the term “slow money” is brought up later in the article—but can you think of a better way of investing money than in things “we can touch and/or impact and understand”? Money is just money, but this type of investment strategy can’t help but be rewarding on many other levels.
I’ve refrained from linking to or quoting a lot of the tributes to Steve Jobs simply because I assume we’re all consuming most of them together. But I wanted to point out this one by Horace Dediu of asymco. It perfectly captures what I admired about Steve Jobs and why his story will continue to inspire me.
It’s short, give it a read.Visit the Link
Great reminder. I’d love to hold onto this perspective daily.
ps – sigh, tumblr. I hate linking to things that are unattributed, but this one was good enough that even if it’s not really from Steve Jobs, it’s good to think about.
I’m not quite as intentional or disciplined about it as Godin suggests, but this is essentially the niche the iPad has filled in my life. For the most part, things like RSS, Tumblr, most online reading (through Instapaper), and even a good chunk of Twitter time are relegated to the iPad. I rarely even think of these things while I’m working on my laptop anymore.
Particularly, because my primary work machine is a laptop, there’s nothing more rewarding to me than heading down to my favorite coffee shop, with only my iPad and relaxing without feeling the need to work.
Yep. I’m guilty of this.
I’m mostly putting this here as a reminder to read the whole article again later, and then again after that, and again after that until it begins to sink in. Most of the things we spend our days emotionally consumed with are not worth worrying or thinking about at all. They don’t matter.
Yup. Guilty as charged. I seem to have a knack for hanging onto fear—and worse, often fear that doesn’t look like fear—and using it to prevent myself from moving something in my life forward. That bit that says, “You’re not allowed to do ‘x’ because…”? The ending is often different: “you need to feel bad about ‘y’” or “‘y’ is more important because it’s what people expect of you” or “you don’t deserve to do ‘x’” etc., but the result is the same. You can’t make good things happen from a place of fear. It’s immobilizing.
I’ve never met Leif, but I’ve heard his name around town and of course know and appreciate the amazing work Moxie Sozo does. He tells a gut-wrenching story from earlier in his life, the lessons he learned from it, and how it relates to new lessons he learned this year after his home burned in the Boulder Fire. Please read it.