Do you remember those Choose Your Own Adventure books? When I was a kid, I brought them home from the library in stacks, and pored through each one, every possible option explored, every adventure seen through to its conclusion.
My kids recently discovered the Choose Your Own Adventure series in a thrift shop find, and they were blown away by the options and choices; trekking through the Amazon, paddling down a snake-infested river, ending the story early with an unfortunate trip over the cliff edge. They love being in charge of their own story. What a great skill to take with you through life!
While finishing my university degree a couple years ago, I was faced with the Choose Your Own Adventure-like scenario familiar to all students. What now? I had a number of directions I could go. Most of them included working a typical 9-5 in an office, on someone else’s payroll; I wasn’t convinced that was for me.
Asking the tough questions
- What do I want to be when I grow up?
- How do I want to spend my days?
- How can I use my skills in a productive way?
- What is my dream job?
- And, most importantly, how can I make that dream a reality?
These were the questions I asked myself. I started answering these questions by looking at my priorities and responsibilities, and finding a way to fit work around those items, not the other way around, as is the more traditional model.
Some of us assist with care for elderly parents and grandparents. Some of us want the freedom to travel. Some of us train for triathlons or other athletic endeavours, and need to devote time to that during regular work hours. (Not me, by the way. Just in case anyone’s asking.)
With two kids, and a husband who works out of town, it’s often a one-parent show here. What I wanted most in my work-life balance was the flexibility to manage my family without being stretched to the breaking point; something many working parents experience. I want to be able to take a day off if the kids are sick. I want to be available to pick them up after school and take them to gymnastics and dance classes, or just hang out at the beach. I want to have time to volunteer in their classrooms or on field trips.
Having my own business and working from home allows me the freedom to do all those things. As with any good adventure, there are possible snake- infested rivers to be paddled and dense jungle trails to cut. I spend a lot of late nights at the computer to keep my business from making that unfortunate plunge over the cliff edge. But this is the adventure I’ve chosen. There is incredible power in that.
Creating Your Ideal Life
I don’t believe that life happens to us. I believe that we make it happen. I’m an active participant, the main character, hopefully even the hero of my own story. There is no “I can’t possibly make this happen”, only “How can I make this happen?” If having your own business and working from home is what you want, you can make it happen. By determining your priorities, and deciding what you want out of life, you have taken the first steps towards making that dream a reality.
Being self-employed from my home office is the adventure I choose every day. Have you chosen yours? How can you make it happen?