Stop Romanticizing Entpreneurship

Picture this.

You wake up without an alarm on a weekday. You take half an hour to meditate, another half an hour to do some bodyweight exercises. You grab a light brunch before heading to the office so you can tackle the to-do’s you set the night before. You click some buttons, sign some checks. You take a client call some time in between. Business is booming!

Before you know it, the clock says 6:00PM and you’re off to dinner and drinks with your friends. You talk all night about how amazing it is to run a business. I mean, what’s not to love? You make your own money. You have full control of your time. You have no boss. You get to do whatever you want to do. You don’t understand why you didn’t take the leap from employee to entrepreneur sooner.

Except that this isn’t entrepreneurship. It’s a damn fairy tale.

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Doing What You Love Sucks

We’ve all heard it before.

If you want to be happy in this world, then you must go out and follow your passion. If you want a fulfilling career, you must do what you love. Life is too short for a 9–5 so go quit your dead-end job and become a full-time starving artist or a broke entrepreneur or both! #YOLO

This is bullshit. Complete and utter bullshit.

I’m careful with giving this piece of advice because I don’t want to create unrealistic expectations. As someone who has been doing what he loves since graduating, I can tell you that it’s nothing like how it’s advertised. All these feel-good articles and speeches left out an important note: doing what you love can actually suck.

Let me tell you why.

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Why You Must Dream For Others

I wanted to share a piece of my discussion in class last Friday. I had just given them a lecture on technology and innovation. We talked about how some startup companies are changing the world as we know it.

This was the short reflection at the end of the class. This is non-verbatim since I tend to freestyle my reflections. This is how it would play out if I wrote it down!

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To The Ones Rushing Life

At 25 years old, I run my own marketing agency, teach in a university, and frequently host workshops for students and professionals. A lot of people tell me I’m doing this adulting thing really well. A lot of people compliment me on how I’ve pretty much figured out my life.

A lot of people are wrong.

I will be the first to tell you that I am not doing this adulting thing really well. I have not figured out my life. It’s flattering to know that I give off that impression but the truth is I’m clueless and very confused. I’ve never worked for an agency before. I’m just a few years removed from the classes I am now teaching to others. I’m feeling my way around almost all the time.

Many of my decisions are really driven by my gut than based from actual experience. What do you expect? I’ve never done any of this before. And that’s okay. It’s okay to not be okay.

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Life Is A Game Of Confidence

During my years in theater, we would put up plays that required a short performance between major segments. Our resident saxophonist had just graduated, leaving behind a huge hole to fill in our act. I was always enamored by the instrument so I decided to pick it up and learn it myself. I had about three months to practice my short piece.

It wasn’t as easy as I thought.

A few weeks before my debut performance and I was still unprepared for my part. The pressure of filling such a vital role in our play was getting to me. I went to our managing director’s office to ask if we could do something else instead.

What he told me that day changed my life.

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The Power of Apology

Last week, I spoke to my team about the importance of communicating with one another. We had a couple of delays that could have been avoided entirely had we managed expectations better. It was a productive session where everyone got to speak up. After everyone was done sharing, I did what many people struggle to do.

I apologized.

I recognized my role in the problem and offered to do better. It was quite a humbling experience. I’ve apologized many times for many things but it’s always still a challenge. Why? Because sorry goes beyond just words.

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Late Is Unacceptable

Early is on time. On time is late. Late is unacceptable.

The people closest to me will tell you that I live and die by this principle. I’d rather sit and wait for more than an hour than come in 5 minutes late to an engagement or meeting. It’s something so deeply rooted into the core of my being that I will do anything to not be late. Anything. 

But why though? Why would I sprint to a meeting on a summer day? Why would I pay triple the Uber fare just to be on time for a dinner? The reason is simple.

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