There’s nothing quite like community, especially community that “gets it.” Each month that I go to a Tuesday’s Together gathering, I leave with a refreshed perspective on business and life. Last night our group went a little off the topic for discussion, and we talked about the sacrifices a small business owner makes in order to do what they love, and how someone else’s version of success may not be yours. How did we know when to leap? Is there security once you leap? Did you ever want to quit? What kinds of sacrifices have you made to pursue your dreams? What expectations do you feel others project on you? (That was a deep one). These are just some of the questions that were tossed around.
No hard thing in life comes without sacrifice, I think they say? Or maybe they don’t. But I do know that as we sat around the table discussing our thoughts, we all had one thing in common, we’ve all worked hard to create good things and made sacrifices along the way.
I talk about this often, but it’s easy to be misled by the things we see online. I’m guilty of this and I know that you are too, it’s the nature of the world we live in. I may project to the world that I live in a white bubble with hard-wood floors, beautiful plants everywhere, that I document love for a living in locations all over Northern California, and spend my afternoons in coffeeshops with colleagues. And though these things aren’t false, I can easily leave out the many things we’ve sacrificed over the years so that I can pursue this dream. Things like living in a one bedroom apartment for 2 years and then buying a fixer-upper because that’s what our budget could afford. Things like not taking luxurious getaways on our anniversary or traveling the world before we decide to have children, things like waiting to start our family until later in life so I can get my business off the ground, and things like being okay with countless lonely days, working from home by myself while Jeff works long hours at a job he doesn’t love.
My version of success isn’t making more money and living a luxurious life though. (I say that loosely, because who wouldn’t love those things?). But honestly, my real version of success looks more like working for myself in whatever capacity, setting my own hours, pursuing new goals and dreams. Having the freedom to work from home so that I can take our future children to and from school everyday, having the freedom to take time off whenever I’d like because I’m in charge! I’m not the least bit interested in letting this world define my success.
There have been countless sacrifices on the road of entrepreneurship, some that may not seem like a big deal to most people. But those sacrifices and many more have led to my version of success and I couldn’t be more grateful! So many small business owners share a similar story to mine, and I love that we have communities like The Rising Tide Society where we can come together and encourage one another along the way!