For the last few weeks I’ve been speaking to someone who wanted to work with me on a new project he’s thinking of starting. I have the specialized subject matter expertise and he knows how to take that expertise and put it to work…to earn real money. I can’t tell you exactly what the project is, but it was no fly-by-night scheme. I have no doubt if I said yes that we would make money. And believe me…I am NOT opposed to making money.
So what went into my thinking and what finally made me say no?
I have no delusion that work is anything but that. Sure we want it to be fun, but to get to the fun there are often a lot of hills and mountains to climb…especially when you’re starting a new business. But the more I learned about the process and what my days would be spent doing – all necessary to build the business – I had trouble seeing much if anything that would be enjoyable.
Still, for the right goal, sometimes the joy is simply in taking on a challenge, climbing those hills and mountains, and, especially with the right partner, celebrating successes along the way. And that was pretty much how I had envisioned this particular project.
The Turning Point For Me
Then I found out that my idea of quality and my partner’s were very different. The end product as my partner envisioned it would be making money. But the product itself – apart form the income – would not be something I would be proud of. And the thought of spending the next couple years dedicated to something that at the end I would only feel so-so about, stopped me in my tracks.
We all have different reasons for saying yes. But for me, after many weeks of discussions leading up to my decision, it came down to my need to believe in what I am doing. And as much as I could use some extra income, I have to trust myself enough to know there will be other ways – ways that are more in synch with who I am as a person.
I am not a pure idealist. When you need money to pay the rent, you take a job. But even then, in my experience, there is simple work you can feel good about or the kind that makes your gut twinge just a little bit. I have always tried to choose the former and have never regretted the choice – even for jobs that were less than ideal!
I assume many of you can relate. Would love to hear some of your yes or no work decisions.