It’s pretty safe to say that we all have our dreams and our ambitions. Depending on the specific circumstances in your life right now, those dreams are going to be different. If you recently graduated from college or university, for example, you might find that the student loan you took out is having a hugely detrimental effect on your overall financial situation. Your first big goal is probably to pay off that crippling student debt.
Maybe, seeing how you are reading this blog, you’ve recently quit your day job (or you’re thinking about quitting your day job) so you can dedicate your time and energy into pursuing the dot com lifestyle instead.
Maybe your big dream is to build up your online business to the point where you have completely replaced the salary you were earning at your day job. Things aren’t quite where you want them to be just yet, but you’re optimistic about the future and you are aggressively working on boosting your online earnings.
That’s a good thing.
On the Hamster Wheel
But what happens when you get there? Let’s say you have a few strokes of good luck and your online business is suitably replacing your original income within the first year. That’s great news. But now you find that you are spending all your time maintaining the business. You’ve lost that initial enthusiasm and passion you had for your original goal, because it feels like you’ve already achieved it.
Now, it feels like you’re just going through the motions each day.
And as you go through these motions, you start veering off on all sorts of directions that weren’t even on your radar when you first set out on this journey. You thought that you were going to be an affiliate marketer, but now you’ve started developing your own products and you’re working with a team to develop a mobile app and you’re writing a book and on and on it goes.
The problem with the goal that you set out in the beginning is that you never established what your end game would be. You didn’t decide on the point of it all, because you never selected a destination. There’s an old saying that applies to this exact scenario.
If you don’t know where you’re going, you will probably end up somewhere else.
Lost Your Sense of Direction?
Let’s say that you set out on a road trip with no specific destination in mind. The map that you have in your hands is useful in trying to figure out where you are and it might illuminate some nearby points of interest. You start driving north, but you see something interesting to the east, so you take a turn off the highway. Then you see something else, so you turn again. And again and again and again you go, until you look back and realize you’ve just been driving around in circles.
You didn’t get to where you were going, because you didn’t know where that was in the first place.
What if we were to continue along with this hypothetical situation with the online business? Let’s say that you do achieve increasing success and you really do start raking in some serious money. You keep putting in the day-to-day and the numbers keep growing. This is great, but it happens gradually, so you don’t really notice and your lifestyle slowly inflates along with it.
End of the Road
You meet with your accountant or financial advisor to go over your figures. After looking at how things are going, you are greeted with the seemingly exceptional news that you have accumulated enough wealth to retire for good. That sounds like good news and it’s news that a lot of people would love to hear.
But your body is also overcome with a paralyzing sense of fear. You’re afraid, because you don’t know where to go from here. You don’t know what you’re supposed to do. A great analogy is when you open the door to a bird cage and Tweety just stays put. We think that the bird is yearning for freedom, but the truth is that the cage is all that Tweety has ever known. The cage provides a place of comfort and familiarity. Everything outside the cage is scary and foreign and unknown.
But it wouldn’t be, if Tweety just knew where he really want to go (and how to get there). Do you know where you’re going?