Life Off Track

This article was originally published in South Carolina Woman in my Man’s Point of View monthly column…

There comes a time in every man or woman’s life when you realize that your life is either going just the way you intended or it’s really, really, very really, way, way (get my point) off track. Most people that I know are in the latter end of that first sentence. Things just aren’t flowing the way they should.

For some people it’s called a mid-life crisis, although it hardly ever occurs at just at mid-life. The notion of a mid-life crisis was concocted by men as an excuse for a dalliance with a younger woman or a fast sports car. Most people encounter it on a semi-weekly rotating basis of happiness with a decent paycheck and a warm bed versus wondering if suicide or going postal on the boss is the is the only way out of a crappy job, which is only a small part of a crappy existence.

There is an alternative solution that few people reach for. It’s not an easy one, but it makes life not just worth living, but even enjoyable. I’ve encountered the notion of living for your passions everywhere the past few months.

My good friend Kevin Miller of Woodland Park, CO is the chief guru of self-employment at Free Agent Academy. It’s an online gathering and social network of like-minded folks like myself that believe that self-employment is the primary method of following one’s passions. After all, how many employers really allow you to follow your passions? It’s not their fault. It’s just not their job to follow your passions. Very few of them are even following their own.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that self-employment is the key to happiness or that all self-employed folks are following their passions. Self-employment or free-agency, as Miller would call it, are simply tools that make it easier to achieve happiness and fulfill your life goals.

It’s funny how many people try to defend employment for someone else as the key to following passion. I guess it is possible in some weird way, in some magical job to follow your passion working for someone else, but it isn’t very likely. Think about it, the fact that a company exists is because someone other than you was possibly following their passion at one time. Or maybe they were just following the money.

Miller takes a lot of criticism sometimes for preaching the gospel of self-employment. I even told him after a recent blog that he was like the Moses of Self-Employment trying to lead us across the Sea of Indentured Servitude. He’s not abrasive. He’s not mean or rude. He just tells the truth because he’s excited about it and believes it. He’s passionate about self-employment.

In a recent blog post- Should Everyone Be Self-Employed? Really?– he wrote…

“To take a stance and say that it’s everyone’s responsibility to be self-employed is so seemingly outrageous it’s almost tempting to dismiss. And I’ve been publicly taken to task with statements such as, “If there weren’t basic employees you wouldn’t have many of the things you enjoy today, like a cell phone or computer or car.”
That is true. Just like the Pharaohs wouldn’t enjoy the pyramids if they didn’t have slaves.
What does that have to do with anything? The question is…do you want to be one of those slaves?
And if the slaves disappeared and it meant we had to go back to paying $50 for a new, handmade shirt instead of the ones we can get at Walmart, made by ‘slaves’, for only $5…then so be it. Everything about that reality would be a positive for mankind at large.
That won’t happen, we’re way too far gone down the factory road in our world today.
Again, the only question left is…do YOU…want to be that ‘slave?’

My Pastor, Trey Kelly of Wellspring Church just began a new series last Sunday titled The Office. Though it’s all patterned off of the hit television show by the same name, the gist of the series is following God’s plan for your work life. Are you fulfilling God’s plan for your life in regard to work? Are you honoring God through your work? Are you passionate about your work? The series continues this coming Sunday and I’m looking forward to it.

I just finished reading recently updated version of The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss. There’s a review of the book in this month’s edition of Transitions, the sister publication to this one. He is one guy that is very passionate about enjoying life to its fullest. Aside from his book, I follow his blog and social media posts just to keep up with where he is and what he’s doing. It’s always something new and almost always from a different corner of the globe.

His approach to life is different than any I’ve run across before. He advocates the idea of mini-retirements throughout life instead of a final tired, broke retirement at age 60 or greater. This allows him to capitalize on his life right now instead of waiting until he’s too old and worn out to enjoy it. And guess what? He’s self-employed.

The concept of mini-retirements is to actually take the one, two, three-month or longer trips and vacations now at an early age. Ferriss will typically go somewhere for six months or longer and completely immerse himself in the culture. Forget hotels and the insulation from local life that they offer. He’ll usually rent a house or apartment and stay there among the populace. In addition, he usually hires a tutor to teach him the local language. He also learns a local physical activity as well, often a regional martial art or dance style. Doing this, he has managed to win contests in both kung fu and the Argentine tango.

How does he do this? He sets up automated, self-owned business enterprises and checks his e-mail about once-a-week to run them.

It’s just hard to escape the notion of self-determination in the guise of controlling one’s employment. That’s why I started teaching Dan Miller’s seminar titled 48 Days to the Work You Love. I taught it to a small group comprised  mainly of church folk and realized what a help it would be to anyone and everyone who isn’t happy with what they do. Whether self-employed or not, everyone should love and enjoy what they do every day. Life is too short and the work day is too long to do otherwise.

My next class is filling up fast, so if you’re interested in learning how to exercise a little personal control over your work life and finding something to be passionate about, check me out.

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