I love running my own business. It enables me to set my own pace for work, lets me take half days (as long as I am willing to work late the next day) and has allowed my deep rooted desire for purpose to come forward. It’s a great feeling to wake up and know that you are working hard on fulfilling your dreams.
With that being said, a big emotional downside to this is that many of my peers are not in the same position as I am in. They wake up to go to jobs they dislike, working two dreadful jobs to make ends meet or, what possibly could be the worst one, are working a job just because it’s what they have a degree in since going back to school is so unaffordable these days.
At the same time, I see all these neglected and empty storefronts lining Main Street in Winchester, and across the state. I can’t help but want to use one problem to solve the other. How wonderful would it be if all those poor souls working tirelessly to get nowhere could find new purpose in running their own business! Doesn’t everybody deserve the same happiness as I have found?
In the past I have overstretched myself to try to encourage just that. Some people (like my friends and family) may sometimes call me a little bit, just a bit, of a control freak for my tendencies to over help. People often come to me for advice, and I want to see them in their own bliss so badly that I may overreach and overstretch myself. This never ends well because I end up so drained from worrying and working for 2 people’s dreams that everyone comes up short.
But as of late, I have come to realize that might not be the way to go.
I’ve been a bit taken with the imagery of a lighthouse for most of my adult life. They are so strong, braving the weather to help others on their way. But recently I have realized an important part of this idea; that the lighthouse doesn’t actually steer the ships into port. It serves as guide, a safe path to the shore. However, it’s the captains of the ships who make sure that each one gets safely into the harbor. And if the lighthouse keeper tried to micromanage every ship, you can bet that he his job at the lighthouse would suffer.
With this new line of thinking, I have decided on a new affirmation; Aspire to Inspire. It is not my job to single handedly get everybody to their dream job, or to fill all those empty storefronts. It’s simply my job to run the best business that I can, to put my heart and soul into Dirty South, and let it be a shining example to inspire others to their happiness. Of course I will still help others who ask for my guidance, but I am releasing the need to control and take on their burdens.
I am the lighthouse, not the lifeboat.
Photo Credit: Laura Combs - Cape Cod Lighthouse in North Truro, MA - Oct. 2015