A few months ago I read: “The Start-Up of You” by Reid Hoffman (Co-founder and Chairman of LinkedIn). The context of the book is that your life is always in start-up mode, and to put the same amount of focus in your life, job, and future as you would in a start-up company. He talks often about how start-ups have to constantly refocus and realign their efforts to make sure they are going in the right direction. He explains that individuals, just the same as start-ups, have to refocus and realign our efforts to make sure the choices we are making in life are going in the right direction. One idea that resonated with me was about resilience:
“…compare a staff editor at a prestigious magazine to a freelance writer. The staff editor at a magazine enjoys a dependable income stream, regular work, and built-in network. The freelance writer has to hustle every day for gigs, and some months are better than others. The staff editor is always well fed; the freelance writer is hungry on some days. Then the day comes when print finally dies, the magazine industry collapses, and the staff editor gets laid off. Having built up no resilience, he will starve. He’s less equipped to bounce to the next thing, whereas the freelance writer has been bouncing around her whole life–she’ll be fine. So which type of career is riskier in the long run, in the age of the unthinkable?” page. 189
Are you the staff editor or the freelance writer? Have you developed the strength you may need if you are the staff editor? It made me think about the different jobs I have had, the choices I have made in my life, and whether or not I would be resilient or not. So often I think we stay in jobs for too long because of the security they bring us, but sometimes that might be a false sense of security. If we could have a window into our future, and know that if we take that risk, and put ourselves out there that everything will work out and be okay. If we had that option, the world might have more risk takers. Yet, we can do that without seeing into the future. We can have a Plan B, we can prepare ourselves to be agile, and in turn develop the resilience of the freelancer. We would bounce back with any changes that get thrown our way, think quickly, and move on to our backup plan.
Which direction will you go? Are you stuck in the security of life? Or, do you treat your life and future like a start-up, constantly changing directions as needed?