I’ve had a hard time writing this. Not because I don’t want to share it, but because I’m not quite sure how to explain it.
I’m quite logical and analytical, and my one strong belief in “the Call” is — well — utterly irrational.
I believe that all of my entrepreneurial activities is no more than part of my self expression. I am “called” to relentlessly examine my assumptions, my perceptions, my beliefs (including this one belief), my interpretation of my human experience — and then from this examination create a tangible and intangible deliverable from it.
[In other words, I like to make money and am in it for profit, but that's not my primary reason for business.]
When I created this business, for example, it was purely based on the call to speak up about what I felt was profoundly misguided and unethical about a particular practice in the pharmaceutical industry. How could I come to live in a country legendary for its freedom of speech and then see how my coworkers actively suppressed their own for fear of retribution and retaliation? So I decided to take a risk that would allow my voice to echo their thoughts, because they chose not to put a voice to those thoughts that troubled them.
When I created this business, it was purely based on the call to start thinking in very long timelines for the things that I will do. This one is hard to honor, I’m going to admit to you right now. To follow this path, I had to retire the business I founded above, one that I had loved but one that I knew had become my safety blanket. Plus, I am not even sure what I’m supposed to do with this new business… all this uncertainty bothers me, because I am a control freak. I don’t like “not knowing”. I certainly don’t like “not seeing the faces of my customers”.
I’ll tell you that the temptations are many. You see, right before I was going to retire my business, it was as if I was getting tested on my conviction to move on. I met this person who was an investment banker; he started to look at the potential for my business to make seven figures. He proposed different ideas, which got me excited about the possibilities of taking the business to the next level.
As soon as I reinstated my conviction… this person dropped away from my life. I had inspired him to follow through on a dream he’d long had but never acted on, and he got busy. It was as if I had served a particular purpose for him, and he had served a particular purpose for me, and the execution of the timing of this mutually beneficial test was perfect.
How can I explain to you the rationale for leaving what looks like a perfectly good career, good identity, good reputation, good business — to follow what I can’t quite yet articulate, can’t quite understand, can’t quite see, and don’t know where I’d be headed?
I really can’t.
Because I haven’t been able to explain this to myself, either.
There are days when I interrogate myself about my one strong belief in the call.
“What’s wrong with you that you can’t be content with what you’ve built? So many people would wish they did what you’d done and they’d keep doing it and still do good things while doing well for themselves.
“Now, why can’t you reinvent yourself within this business? Why did you have to fire yourself from this job you’ve built?”
I berate myself. Frequently. Mercilessly. Sometimes days in a row. Short of bringing out the water-board.
But this is why Joseph Campbell told me about following my bliss. It’s not for the reward of gaining success that I am to follow my bliss, after all. I needed to follow my bliss because this is the only way I can remain steadfast amid the hell I put to myself and not waver from heeding the call to head into an unknown.
This piece is part of a sub-experiment within my 100DAYS Experiment: #TRUST30 Writing Prompts “To celebrate Emerson’s 208th birthday, The Domino Project is republishing a work of art that’s especially relevant today. Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson urges readers to trust their intuition rather than conforming to the will of the majority.” — “The world is powered by passionate people, powerful ideas, and fearless action. What’s one strong belief you possess that isn’t shared by your closest friends or family? What inspires this belief, and what have you done to actively live it? (Author: Buster Benson)”