Entrepreneurial See-Saw

2 minute read

There is a see-saw in which most entrepreneurs seem to identify themselves. At one end, is passion. At the other end, is financial success. The odds of these two meeting in the middle, although the ideal situation, is extremely rare. Most people are at one end of the other. Some find a balance, such as financial success in the day, and passion for the evenings and week-ends.

If you identify as creative, you're likely stuck at the passion end of the see-saw. Looking to financial sustainability is usually the long view looking up. You need to consider if your path is financially sustainable. Does this mean taking an unrelated job to cover your bills? Are there other people successful in your passion field that are financially sustainable that you can speak to, or emulate their positive actions?

If you're on the financial success driven path, you might be missing passion. I had lunch with a friend last week who shared how she's doing 60-70 hour weeks at her new job on average, so has time for nothing else in her life, including passion projects. While financially beneficial, she realizes she's going to burn out, so is looking at another career opportunity that even though it requires a move and a pay decrease,  it will allow for passion projects on the side.

You don't want to wake up some day and feel like you've missed out on life in the name of financial success, otherwise when you do have it, you'll have no one, and no time, to spend it. I heard the story last year of a retired billionaire whose wife committed suicide, is estranged from family, and the only people in his life are his care aids.

I started my career on the financial success track, and realized quickly that many of my peers who achieved wealth, never achieved happiness. Once you have one million dollars, you chased 10 million dollars. Once you have 10 million dollars, you chase 100 million. They never seemed to reach contentment. They were missing passion, contentment, and happiness.

This was a pivotal moment for me, where I decided to prioritize on these missing pieces, while I had the opportunity. The allure of passion, and self-evaluation, and quest for happiness and contentment is strong, and can quickly become non-sustainable if not kept in check.

Like a ride on a see-saw, it's a constantly evolving ride, and you don't want to end up stuck at one end or the other. The trick is to make sure it's rocking steadily and consistently with balance in mind.