Lately I’ve been chatting with a number of entrepreneurs, mostly about their work style. Are they a 9-5, an inspiration strikes or a lolly gagger? Each of these have their positives and negatives but I’ve really been interested about when they work, how they work and why they work. The why might sound a little silly to some. Especially to those who aren’t business owners, but trust me, why you work is an incredibly important and valid question. The answer can help determine your “final resting place” as it were. Let me explain a little about why I work by first talking about my Mom and her desire to build a really cool table.


It was my mother’s birthday a couple weeks back so my wife and I went out to dinner with her, her wife and mother in law. Her mother in law has some pretty specific tastes so we settled on Swiss Chalet. Probably not the best place for my wife, the vegan, but they make a mean veggie burger and I’m never going to turn down a meal that involved both chicken AND ribs, so it was set. There was the usual chit chat, talk about the kids, talk about work, talk about my pregnant wife, jokes about her age (she’s actually very young and I’m very terrible) and then came the table talk. 

 

I’m not talking about the talk around the table, I’m actually speaking of the talk ABOUT the actual table. You see, my mom wants to build a really cool table. Multiple drop leaves and insertion points. They’ve bought a home on the South Shore and they’ve not been able to find the specific table that they want, so my mom wants to have someone she knows, who knows about these things, draw the plans up for her and then she wants to build it. Her recently father in law recently passed away and was an avid craftsman (he built a beautiful wheelbarrow for my son) so they have all the equipment, the space to work, etc. What my mom doesn’t have is virtually any legitimate experience building anything.

My mom and I suffer from very similar disorders. My wife calls it “8 Mile Syndrome”. The reason for this is that after I watched the movie 8 Mile, on the way home, I told our best friend that I was going to be a rapper. I may have made similar claims about the chances of me becoming a surfer, animator and writer. I see something creative and I go after it. Now in the case of surfer, I’ve surfed. In the case of animator, I’ve done some rudimentary work and continue to toil at it. In the case of writer, I’ve published one novel and am working on another. It’s not that it CAN’T be done and it’s not that I won’t potentially do it, but for every one that I do, there are probably a half dozen or more that I don’t. Why do I jump in?

I HAVE to be doing something. I don’t like lulls in conversation, long silences, “resting”. Anything that doesn’t involve DOING is, to me, a terrible waste of time. I can, if I try REALLY hard, meditate but even that is based on focus words or objects. My mind doesn’t turn off. My mom works, comes home, and fidgets. To me, this is the mark of a creative and/or entrepreneur. It’s not the idea that you COULD do something, it’s the idea that you HAVE to do something. When I hear about people that work in order to finish their work day, I become legitimately concerned for their emotional and vocational well being.Recently I’ve been fascinate by the idea of TGIM (Thank God It’s Monday). Several people that I follow (and even more importantly respect) on Twitter have put forth the idea that you can’t live your professional life hoping that it comes to an end. You have to be as excited to get out of bed Monday morning as you were to leave work on Friday, if that’s your schedule.

So, do you work because you have to, or do you work because you want to. This attitudinal difference will absolutely have an impact on your business and more importantly, your life.