I had the chance to catch up with a really good friend yesterday, someone that I serve as a mentor for and who inspires me with his positive attitude and boundless energy.
Several years ago he started a business to put on entertainment-based events and held his first event very successfully. After the event he assessed the effort required to pull the event off and the profit he made and decided to close the business down and instead work for his father’s business to get more practical experience and build up his net worth while he figures out what he wants to do with his career. Which I thought was a great idea.
When we were talking yesterday he confided that he felt like he let me down by not continuing with his business, especially as I am embarking on a new startup. I was shocked to hear he felt that way because, as I explained to him, I was impressed that he a) took the chance on starting a business and b) was smart enough to make the tough decision to pull the plug on it.
As we continued to talk I realized that he also thought that because I am an entrepreneur, that anything other than that was going to be seen by my eyes as less successful. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Having your own business, or working for a large corporation, or being a contractor, or being a stay-at-home parent, all of these are great pursuits as long as it is what makes you happy. For me, starting and growing a business makes me very happy and fulfills me. But that’s me and I know that different people are fulfilled by different things.
I’ve become very aware of this while my kids continue to grow up (way too fast) and I think about whether or not they will feel pressure because of what I’ve done in my career to start a business. I sure hope not and I’m going to try hard not to put that kind of pressure on them.
At the end of the day everyone should figure out what makes them happy from a career standpoint and DO THAT. And that’s true success.