Designing Work

What If You Needed to Fire Yourself?

What If You Needed to Fire Yourself?

By John Jantsch

I had an interesting conversation with one of the most dynamic free agent entrepreneurs I know.

It all started when he wrote to tell me he had taken a job.

A what, a job?

How could that be, I mean, he was living the dream.

scott ginsbergMy friend is the author of over twenty books, speaks to groups all over the world and is a seeming non-stop fountain of ideas.

Oh, and he had built, in my view, one of the strongest personal brands I’ve encountered.

But, you know what else, he was burned out going it alone and had no desire to scale in order to burn out even more, so he a made a decision.

Actually, the first thing he did was take the summer off so he could think about what he wanted to do next.

I think that’s the world we live in going forward. You don’t necessarily need to have a job, a career or a business so much as you need to have a life full of things that keep you motivated.

For some that means a never ending stream of projects, while for others that means remaking themselves every few years in order to pursue something exciting and new.

As I think about my own journey over the last couple of decades, it may be true that I’ve not been employed in the traditional sense, but I’ve also not stayed still hacking away at building my business.

In fact, in the twenty-five or so years I’ve been on my own working as a small business entrepreneur, I’ve recreated my business in pretty significant ways at least four times.

My friend, mentioned above, is Scott Ginsberg, you may know him as “the nametag guy.” I shared Scott’s amazing story in my book The Referral Engine. Scott’s worn a name tag every day since some time in 2000 and built a loyal and rabid following around his constant theme of approachability.

A few months ago Scott went on sabbatical to figure out how to save himself from burnout. He’s still the nametag guy and he still writes and speaks, and by the way sings, but he’s also an idea guy for New York based Makeable creating something he calls thinkmaps.

Yep, in order to stay true to his entrepreneurial spirit, he took a job that lets him continue to expand his journey by day, while holding onto his own unique brand by night.

I think Scott’s approach to how he found the next stone on the path is equally revealing and instructional. Instead of heading over to a job board Scott researched and located a target list of companies that he felt represented the culture and innovative energy he craved.

Then he contacted the CEOs of these organizations and requested an interview – not a job interview, though. Scott is a publisher, like we all are today, and so he asked to interview the CEO as a journalist and consequently changed the dynamic of what essentially was his introduction to the organization.

From these interviews Scott was able to connect with and engage the organization that he eventually chose to go to work for.

I asked Scott if he ever felt as though he had failed his entrepreneurial dream somehow and his response was – “not at all, failure would have been to continue to do what I was doing without passion, failure would have been to lose my wife over that.”

I guess my main point for so many of my small business entrepreneur readers is that your option for how to create fulfilling work is only limited by your imagination’s ability to create scenarios that excite you.

The definition of work, of career, of what is and is not a business are forever altered and can be molded to fit anything that excites and feeds your soul if you choose to explore it intentionally.


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