In a previous post, I talked about how these days, there isn’t one of us who doesn’t wear multiple hats. Having a side hustle is the norm. You may be in real estate, but you also dabble in raw food. If you’re a business owner, you may also lead a meditation group or be a professional sax player. My guess is that this speaks to our innate need to build a portfolio of interests to keep our lives full and interesting. Still, there’s another conversation I’m noticing at play lately, one that challenges a related paradigm. It’s this:
For many of us, the parts of our companies that make the most money aren’t always the parts that give us the most joy. And the parts that give us the most joy often don’t generate the commensurate revenue – and these are the ones that require more of our time than they justify on a P&L. I’ll use myself as an example: this blog doesn’t sell anything, promote anything, defend anything or ask for anything. It’s a mode of self-expression that often leads to productive conversations, but in and of itself – isn’t much of a ‘business,’ which is okay with me. And the reason it’s okay with me is that it allows me to say what I need to say, without being beholden to a client’s needs, or to a customer profile or to a creative brief. It gives me the freedom to work out ideas to an audience of smart, like-minded people, and figure out what I think about stuff. It nourishes me and gives me a creative outlet. It forces me to synthesize ideas. To take risks. To publish.
It also rounds out my client work. I don’t look to those projects for personal expression or fulfillment because I am able get these from other sources (although I’m no less attached to their success.) I show up to those teams/people/missions – whole.
I come across many successful people who are embarrassed (and even apologetic) at how much time their podcast / craft / favorite outside activity takes because it doesn’t deliver a big check. But my argument is that without it (and this may go against the conventional wisdom) – how good would you be at getting the big check at all? How happy would you be? How upset would you get if you couldn’t do that joyful thing?
The way I see it, the thing you love to do is your IV. It gives you the medicine you need to do everything else. And, the cost of not doing it is bigger than you might think.
Don’t make yourself wrong for how it performs. It has a different purpose, and puts money in a different kind of bank.