You may have the calling to be your own boss, and you may know exactly how you’ll do it. Set up an environmental foundation. Create a T-shirt site. Write a book. Design a mitten that you know the world really needs.
But it wasn’t like that for me at all.
I had a good job, I believed that was the path, and I worked hard through the promotions and the pay grades. But it never felt enough.
When I worked for others who had control over my salary, my time, and who set the expectations of my performance — I never felt safe.
That lack of safety and the resulting financial insecurity gave me anxiety.
That’s where it all began. Very faintly to begin with, and then increasingly louder — I could hear the haunting call to embark on the entrepreneur life.
That call didn’t come in overnight — it was more like a personal journey to discover why I felt so ‘out of alignment’.
Specifically, it felt like:
- being stuck in a trap,
- drained of creativity and energy,
- chronic overwhelm,
- not knowing what I wanted, just that I didn’t have it,
- deep dissatisfaction with my circumstances,
- a sense of being out of control, and a desire to regain control,
- feeling limited, constrained, stuck, and paralysed in day to day life,
- craving freedom,
- never having enough money,
- never having enough time,
- wanting flexibility,
- in dire need of more travel (or time off)
- being hungry for change, and
- IBS, according to my GP.
It took it’s toll on me. I felt broken . Even my guts despaired.
Then the mentors, the role models and the guides started appearing on the horizon.
Their message spoke directly to my soul. They spoke of creating the freedom I knew I wanted, and they lit up a vision that I never knew I had. I knew I had to make a leap of faith. It was an expensive one at that — it was big enough and scary enough to wake me up and catapult me out of my life as I knew it.
So I bought into the dream.
Version 1.0 — Tim Ferriss and The 4 Hour Work Week.
I wish I could stand here and say it all worked out perfectly.
But two years later, I’m still figuring it out.
I’m not Elon Musk, and I didn’t race through life with this burning desire to be an entrepreneur. I don’t have an invention, specific purpose, or erudite message to share with the world. It almost feels like I’m approaching entrepreneurship backwards — that I’m making it up as I go along.
I am working on it in real time.
Working is the operative word — because if you’re not taking action, the danger is you get frozen — paralysed. Or you have to Go Back.
So, forwards it is. Guided by Thoreau’s instructions, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.”
Because I don’t have a super narrow calling, or a specific handbook on how to deliver it, those dreams and the paths to reach them can shapeshift — depending on my social media feed. It’s perilous.
But for those of us embarking on this journey, where we don’t know the final destination, we just move forwards, one step at a time. As James Cameron puts it,
“hope is not a strategy, luck is not a factor, fear is not an option.”
Nobody’s success is down to luck or to hope. It’s simply about taking action and executing.
Otherwise it remains a distant dream, an idea.
Version 1.0 is all about reaching out for the dream, blowing some life into it.
Fear stops most people from even attempting this. But if you have the calling — ignoring it is painful. At some point, you must start putting it into play.
Version 2.0 of my journey was shaped by new networks, connections, social media, podcasts — by the people who trod the path before me.
But Version 2.0 was cumbersome, clunky, costly, and hugely overwhelming. It’s the soloproneur model, where you have to lift everything up by yourself.
This did not create time freedom.
It did not create financial security.
It was someone else’s dream and someone else’s business model.
So this level comes with a caveat — follow too closely in someone else’s footsteps, and you may start to lose yourself.
Version 3.0, for me then, is about stepping away from the path, finding my own rhythm, and creating my own little trail.
I don’t know where the trail goes — that’s the joy and the curse. Right now it’s about finding what works, having the courage to let go of what doesn’t, and seeing where the doors open.
It’s about making it safe for others to do it too — breaking out of the previous moulds we are given.
There is no mould for freedom, that’s the whole point.
At each stage, with each lesson, I’ve become a bigger, better, more aware and more compassionate version of myself.
I had to give myself room to grow — if I had held on to the Version 1.0 dream I had envisioned when I was just a fledgling, and pursued it with a fixed idea of what I wanted, I’d be left holding an empty shell right now. A carcass of someone else’s dream.
Conversely, if I had sat on the sidelines just waiting for the picture to make sense, I know I would still be waiting — deep in that dis-ease.
Answering this call, embarking on this journey, you must create room for yourself to evolve. That’s why financial security is so important to me — it gives me the freedom to breathe, to evolve, and to challenge our limited comprehension of what is possible.
My journey is about pushing those boundaries — my mission is perhaps simply to understand what I am capable of.
It’s about stepping out into the unknown, and I take my tribe with me.
These are the open ended trails that we blaze.
If you’re looking to blaze a trail too, I have a map and a toolkit to show you.
We go together — together we rise.