The Life Entrepreneur
Define and create your own success
You can be that person. You can be a life-entrepreneur. You DON’T have to start a company for that, you don’t have to qualify for anything, in particular, all you have to do is take ownership of your own life.
It is about letting go of the “wealth-image” of success and instead creates a definition of your own. Call if satisfaction or something else if the term success doesn’t fit anymore.
It is about stopping others to decide for you and make decisions of your own while awarding the right value to other people’s opinions, advice and feedback.
And maybe even most of all, it is about creating a new sense, the seventh sense. One that holds the ropes of your decisions and the outcomes of those. An inner coach who sharpens your mind about those decisions and about the purpose you choose to fulfil.
It might all sound quite complicated and I guess it is, I won’t lie to you. However, if you want to own your place in this world, be happy, create a fulfilling life and at the same time contribute to a better future for yourself and the people around you, the process of developing your life-entrepreneur sense is more than worth it!
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Resources: Cote, J.E. & Levine, C. (2015). Identity formation, youth and development: a simplified approach. Retrieved from the viewing copy.
Oleynick, V.C., Thrash, T.M., LeFew, M.C., Moldovan, M.G. & Kieffaber, P.D. (2014). The scientific study of inspiration in the creative process: challenges and opportunities. Retrieved from NCBI.
Because nobody is going to do it for you anymore.
And that might actually be a good thing. I believe designing our own life with all elements in it that we find important, will bring us more satisfaction and happiness. It will help us to create something truly positive!
People have not always had this chance. For a long time, people were raised with the certainty of taking the place of their parents, one day. The parents would have a certain job, role in society and social status and the fact that their kids would inherit those, was never questioned. Whether the kids liked it or not, things just happened that way. Just like religion was the main source of answering questions about our existence. That’s what created purpose in people’s lives. Those times have changed.
Every 15-20 years there is a new generation being born. Each generation is influenced by a number of factors (like the economic climate, the political climate, technical breakthroughs, and so on) and in our contemporary (western) society the expectation to make your own decisions is very important. Those decisions are the basics for the development of our identity. It is expected from (most of) us to choose our own education and career path. We are receiving the message that anything is possible because more options are becoming more and more available. Options for building a career, but also, for example, the acceptance towards different relationship styles other than the traditional marriage, where and how to live and also in the way we are connected to people.
The best way to deal with those options and obligation to choose is to get to know as much as you can about yourself. Your self-knowledge is what can guide you in making big decisions. They will help you to grab them with both of your hands and find out what works and what doesn’t. Times will continue to change and to me, it feels like only more options are going to become available.
So, what if this doesn’t feel like a positive thing at all? What if it becomes a source of anxiety, fear and insecurity? I know there are people out there who can feel that this situation is more like a huge BURDEN for them. Where do I start? How do I choose? What if it isn’t right? What if it has negative consequences?
This post will be for you! In the next section, I will turn all of this into something practical that you can use by starting today!
How do i do this?
Below you will find 4 ways that will bring you closer to your life-entrepreneur sense, or your 7th sense. Where your 5 senses (hearing, feeling, smelling, tasting, seeing) are triggered by factors in your environment (e.g. sound, touch, smells, food, objects) and your 6th sense is giving information from a source which is not one of those other 5. Your 7th sense is generating information from inside yourself. It is fueled by factors like experiences, personality, emotion, characteristics and values.
To strengthen this 7th sense, you have to make these factors more available to you. They tend to operate at an unconscious level. By bringing them to the surface you will see that there is actually a lot you can do with the information that they hold. This is exactly what is meant by the importance of getting to know yourself.
Read below how you can do that!
In every role of your life (friend, son/daughter, student, etc.) you are a little bit different. But you are still YOU. In all of those roles, you create a piece of your UNIQUE identity while fulfilling your need to belong somewhere. At the same time, your uniqueness is also important. Differing yourself from others helps you to find out who you are without them.
One of the ways to understand your own identity better is through the roles you embody during your life and this is how you can do it:
First, think about the roles you HAVE at the moment and the important roles you HAD in the past. Think about being someone’s child, being a student, a friend, a lover, a colleague and so on.
Second, write all of them down! And also include your “independent” role (so, separately from all the other roles).
Third, pick one role and take a moment to reflect on what you are/where like in that role? And how it differs from being in another role? Write the typical characteristics of yourself down with a focus on your qualities in that particular role.
Fourth, keep repeating step three with all of the different roles until you have one overview of all of them.
Fifth, ask other people what characteristics they see in you. They might see something that you are not aware of.
This way, you are generating information about your characteristics. Valuable information that can add to the next step.
It's all information
Your social roles can help you understand your characteristics. These characteristics influence how you do things. I also call that your (behavioural) patterns. In certain situations, you will use a chain of actions that have worked for you before in a similar situation.
This chain of actions, this pattern, is useful but can also expire over time. This means that they used to be valuable for you, but they are not anymore.
Step in the shoes of an investigator for some time. Just like in a crime movie. The investigator tries to understand the patterns of a criminal in order to increase the chance to catch him. To try to put the pieces together until they understand him better.
Your life is not a crime movie, but the role of an investigator can help you to understand yourself better.
Every situation in your life holds a treasure of information that will help you on this quest. The difficulty exists in our human tendency to judge about what we find. However, the investigator and the judge are NOT supposed to be the same person.
What you can do next time, is take a step back, breath deeply for a couple of times and have the courage to really look into the mirror, without any judgments. Then, trust to work with whatever it is that you find
When do you use this?
- When you want to prevent yourself from making the same mistake.
- When you are in the process of learning something new.
- When you want to learn how to approach something differently.
- And simply, to understand yourself better.
spend time alone
Have you ever taken yourself out on a date? We ask someone on a date because we want to spend time with them, but how often do we really spend time with the one person we can never escape from?
It is often not very encouraged by our environment to go somewhere on our own. Have a meal outdoors by ourselves feels weird and to make it worse, some restaurants will place you somewhere in the back (to hide you??).
But being alone from time to time can occasionally be the best thing you ever do. It leaves you with just your own thoughts, giving plenty of room to find out what you really think about things. It facilitates you to understand better what is important to you and why.
An extra side effect of showing up somewhere alone is that strangers are more likely to come and talk to you. It could open up opportunities to get to know new people and also to observe your way of introducing yourself. The story you tell a stranger tells a lot about the story you tell yourself.
How would you describe yourself?
When thoughts and impressions about yourself feel rather scarce, inspiration might do you some good. The inspiration I’m talking about is the type that motivates you to act upon the new possibilities that you started to see when you felt inspired by something. This is how you can trigger your own inspiration:
Step 1: Think about materials or situations that have sparked your enthusiasm before; movies, music, conversations with certain people, books, photos.
Step 2: When you have an idea about what type of things can inspire you, you try to narrow them down in a way that only leaves those that apply for the tasks or goals you are working on to create focus.
Step 3: Make them part of your planning and take the time to work with them. Don’t push anything and let your enthusiasm (combined with enough focus) be your guide.
Step 4: Inspiration is known to open up your mind to possibilities you would either not have seen. Let them in, experiment with them and see what they can do for you.
Don't Control it all
In 55-135 A.D. a philosopher named Epictetus lived in Greece and wrote about a wisdom we still don’t always carry out in 2020 A.D. …
He understood that the power to change things can only exist in those aspects in which we actually have an ability to control.
The aspects we cannot control, are not supposed to be changed by us. We ought to accept those.
He also said we need wisdom to distinguish between those two. Have you ever considered the difference between aspects you can control and the ones that are not up to you to control? You know, simply because you cannot control them, no matter what you try.
There’s a great tool to increase this wisdom. It is called “the circle of influence” and developed by Stephen Covey. It exists out of two circles and the circle of influence is the one we should focus on more.
To use this tool, you take a specific situation in mind.
In the circle of influence you write all of the aspects you can influence. What was in your control during that situation?
In the circle of engagement you write the aspects that were not in your capability to control, but they did play their part in the situation. Because they had a part to play, they might cause confusion sometimes.
The challenge is to increase your circle of influence. The more you know about your capabilities and the way you can take back control in a situation, the more you will increase your confidence and the better you will be capable of handling situations.
It’s not a secret that many of the methods I describe are happening mostly in the mind. And while we cannot exclude those processes, there are ways to include methods that will get you out of your thoughts for some time as well.
Experimenting is one of those great ways to get to know yourself, your capabilities and maybe even your talents and passion.
Why don’t we plan to do something new every now and then?
When we are in a new situation or doing a new activity, we don’t have any patterns yet for dealing with it. That’s precisely what makes them INTERESTING! They push us to improvise and to see what happens.
- The best dishes I have ever cooked, where improvised from scratch.
- The most interesting people in my live were met during gatherings that were new to me.
- My independence was triggered when I choose to go to a high school with a new form of education.
Have I been scared during these new situations? OH YEAH!
But it has always been more than worth it!
Next time you got yourself in a new situation, become aware of the effects on you. Did it bring anything positive? Can you build from that positive affect? And when it was negative, are there ways to make it positive during a next time?
And when you want to create a new situation, try to work in steps. If you have never done skydiving before, you are not going to jump out of a plane without any preparation or help, right?
who you want to be
When you are taking yourself on a date anyway, why don’t you also wonder about the line between being the person you are today and becoming the person you want to be?
And before you start judging yourself, we just learned that everything is information. Okay, wait, if EVERYTHING is information, I have to be honest with you. Judgments are also information. They can tell you that you are not happy with your situation right now and direct you towards the aspects that make you unhappy.
Do you know what you want for yourself? And who you want to become?
Why don’t you plan a moment in which you can dream away about the possibilities? Spend time with yourself, use everything that inspires you the most. When the dream phase is finished, you get your brain started with this post on how to turn dreams into plans. In particular step 3 will be interesting to really narrow it down.