Am I Special?

It seems that question has come to me more often than not. In this culture of entrepreneurial-ship, being an influencer or brand ambassador – the idea of how many likes or followers could easily be a measure of one’s self-worth, value or at least popularity. While most studies earmark their focus on the effects of social media usage on adolescence development, what do we really know about the effects on adulting?

The article, Social Media Use and Adult Depression, suggests that social media use impacts us – the adults. We all agree that after these last two years of this cursed-pandemic and social distancing, we have all had to make adjustments. Things that used to be important had to be curtailed. Happy hours, taco Tuesday, pop-up visits for cocktails and brunch, spin class and tearing up that mall were all halted. There was no casually ‘catching up with ya crew’ because we had to isolate. To compensate, we’ve picked up some new habits which could be good or bad depending on your viewpoint. And perhaps, I missed it prior to the pandemic but there are a plethora of posts on social media dictating what’s important.

Apparently fashion is important. Protecting your peace. Burning Sage. Hugging a tree. You name it but none seemed as prevalent as making money.

Are you into crypto? Do you have a side hustle or multiple streams of income? I’ll never punch a timeclock.

There seems to be a notion that if you don’t own your own business, or have money coming to you while you channel surf on the couch, you are a loser.

Well, let me tell you, I LIKE MONEY. It affords me all kinds of things but it isn’t tied to my self-worth, value or at least it shouldn’t. Now, being an entrepreneur, working for yourself is sublime. There’s nothing like ‘cutting out the middlemen’ and ‘making money moves’ as they say. I worked for myself for a number of years and it’s strange, there was this notion that I felt safe which didn’t make any sense. Perhaps it was the sentiment that the owner, me, myself and I, would always be willing to give me a raise or a great review. But, working for yourself means you work around the clock. There’s no such thing as an 8-hour day … there’s work, there’s hiring new folks, there’s finding new business, there’s buying supplies, taxes, payroll – it goes on and on. Because what no one posts about is that when you work for yourself, you work longer and harder because no one can support, believe and grind for your vision .. like you. Do entrepreneurs have something that we ‘regular Joes’ don’t?

Maybe – it definitely requires some nerves, some hustle, some anticipating your customer needs or client base. Do you understand the market trends? Yes, there’s a number of things that make entrepreneurs special and maybe even different. And with all their hopes, dreams, well wishes, late nights, certifications, marketing strategies, and business dev opportunities, there’s no guarantee that they’ll even be successful and God forbid, if they’ll even turn a profit.

Social Media while fun, entertaining and sometimes motivating – it only captures a moment in time. The work, creativity, logistics, lighting or even outfits that happen behind the scenes are lost. All we see is grind, hustle, look good and money will come to you. There’s almost a belief that that ‘regular Joes’ who ‘punch a clock’ or work from 9-5 are working too hard for too long and are losers or as I like to say, not winning.

As for me, there was some point – while my business paid my bills real, real good – I couldn’t see an end game. How long would I do this? Was I looking to expand, hire employees? Well, whatever I was or wasn’t, that vision wasn’t nearly as important to me as it had once been. There was a re-org at work, a new prime, an open office floorplan and just like that working for myself no longer held the allure.

So, after a summer off, I took a regular gig. And while working for yourself has the best tax benefits, punching this time clock is still rewarding and it continues to pay my bills. I have more down-time as week-ends and nights off are actually possible. I’m no longer overwhelmingly busy like it can be when you work for yourself. I have some flexibility because I’m no longer responsible for every aspect of the business. Refreshingly, I’m no longer singularly responsible for securing new work and I don’t have to worry my pretty, little head about finding something when the contract ends, that’s a concern for someone else. So, it buys me a little more stability.

Now, there’s still some holdovers – good energy and a great attitude go a long way. I always, say ‘I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer’ but I’m solution-oriented, affable and driven. I hope both my work colleagues and clients leave my desk feeling heard, considered and empowered with an amazing resolution or plan of action. Note: That is the key to keeping your clients content.

Now at the end of the day, I still don’t have crypto (it’s on my agenda) and I’m not earning any money while I lay on my sofa watching Netflix but that’s ok. Because despite no employees, no contracts, no multiple streams of income, my regular Joe-nine-to-five-non-sexy-office-gig works just fine. And maybe that doesn’t make me unique or perhaps it makes me average but at the end of the day, the only person that determines if I’m special, literally is me. Yep. “I is kind, I is smart, I is important.”

~Dorothy’s Daughter

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