As I sit in a birthing room at Midland Memorial Hospital, I find myself with more than enough time to re-enter the A-Z Blogging Challenge. NOT that I ever withdrew, although it would APPEAR that I was AWOL since my busy April turned this blog into a non-productive alphabetical wasteland.
A couple good things have happened, though: I flew safely to both Portland, Oregon and Midland, Texas (mostly without incident)—which bears noting because traveling, for me, can go wrong. Murphy’s Law wrong. In fact, Murphy is normally traveling WITH me and has his head between his knees for a crash landing. I’m popular when I fly, though—one dear friend exclaimed affectionately when she discovered I was her seatmate on a recent flight from Phoenix to Bakersfield, “GET OFF THIS PLANE!”
Her instincts for basic human survival were a heartwarming testament to our friendship.
The other good thing (and why I find myself at Midland Memorial) is today is my grandson’s “birth” day. I flew from California to help my kids and to be in the labor and delivery room as tiny master Martin makes his entrance into an amazing, beautiful world full of promise and adventure. My son is a professional baseball player in the Oakland A’s system, and their minor league affiliate team is in Midland, so that’s why I will have a little Texan grandson.
In honor of my son’s career that brought us to Texas today, and because my theme is business, my “F” word is Freedom. I will explain how that applies.
From the time Jarret was really young, he never questioned he would be anything other than a baseball player. He slept with his glove, watched all the major league games on TV, and practiced his hitting in my living room, using a rolled-up rubberband for a ball and running the sofa-pillow-bases for every homerun (sometimes his baby sisters would play “outfield”). When he grew into a teenager and other kids his age were out partying, Jarret was home playing xBox on weekends because he didn’t want to risk getting into trouble and jeopardizing his chances with MLB. When other players would shirk their workouts, Jarret ran extra miles. He ate healthy and took care of his body.
You see, seeking freedom does not come without consequences. More about that below.
All these sacrifices were for baseball, but besides having the chance to live his boyhood dream and play a sport he’s loved since he could utter his first words, baseball presents an opportunity for something else to Jarret: freedom.
Freedom in the workplace doesn’t come exclusively from a career in a professional sport, but in Jarret’s case the potential income he could earn and the desirability (and therefore the demand) for his 6’4” body that can throw a baseball 96 mph from the left side affords him a certain freedom from having to worry about what he will be doing in the years to come. If he does his job well, then his career, and therefore the financial freedom it provides, will continue.
But what about the rest of us? Entrepreneurs have a certain spirit that seeks freedom, too—freedom to work our own hours, be our own boss, freedom to earn as much money as we can generate via our own sweat. It’s funny, though, because the perceived freedom that comes with owning a business isn’t really real: it’s elusive, fake, a mirage, and a figment of the imagination of every dreamer and risk-taker who’s ever opened their own business.
Sure, we don’t have a traditional boss but our fanatical supervisor is every unanswered email, every paycheck, every HR issue, every payment due, every unfinished project or order or presentation, every customer, and every deadline we made only because we worked until 2am to make it.
It’s a perceived freedom, but it’s what we want. We feel like, at least, we are in charge of making choices for ourselves; our success or failure depends mostly on the amount of time we are willing to spend to get it right.
The freedom that entrepreneurs seek is working the hours we want and one day, hopefully, earning enough money doing something we LOVE that will give us the freedom to do more, see more, help more.
I’ve been an entrepreneur longer than I’ve been anything else. I seem to be in a family of entrepreneurs, raising entrepreneurs. We all seek the freedom that comes from owning our own businesses, no matter how much work it takes.
And. We. Grind.
And right now, at this moment in Texas, with my big, grown son asleep to my left and my truly exceptional daughter-in-love asleep during labor, I have the freedom to put everything else in life on hold to be here for them and for God’s little love, who is busy making his way into this amazing, beautiful world.
C’mon, little man. Grandma is waiting.