Control Your Own Life

You should be able to hang out in coffee shops whenever you want to...

I was listening to a podcast recently that featured entrepreneur Derek Sivers, founder of CD Baby. At the end of the discussion, when asked if his e-mail could be given out for people to reach out to him, he responded by saying “of course!”

The host, a little unsure of this offer, reconfirmed that it was, in fact, ok to give out Derek’s email.

Derek responded, “Yeah, it is. Don’t worry, I control my own life.”

This was one of those moments that made me smack my forehead…wishing I had complete control of my life. I am real close…but not just yet…

I run my own business. I am out of debt. I am able to set my own schedule. I work in coffee shops whenever I want to. I go running when I want to.

But somehow, I don’t feel completely free yet. Still a few lingering business issues and long-term work projects that are occupying my time.

I suspect many of you ask these questions of yourself often:

1. It is Sunday night, do I really have to go to work tomorrow?

2. Do I really have to sit next to this jerk in the cubicle next to me?

3. I am not interested in this work project, do I really have to invest energy on it?

4. I so want to write, or work on my book, but I just have too much work to do. Where will I ever find the time?

5. I want to train for a half-marathon, but my 9 to 5 gig makes training impossible. When will this race ever happen?

6. I just want to chill and watch a good film or listen to some music, but there are things I have to do, and I will feel guilty if I relax.

7. Is it so wrong to just want to sit quietly in the morning, with a cup of coffee, and read a book?

8. How will I ever play with the kids when I have all these responsibilities?

If you find yourself asking some variation of these questions, it is way past time to do some serious thinking about your future.

And yeah, I know. This is where most of us insert the typical “life’s a bitch” comment such as “I need this job, I am in severe debt, I have no skills, I’m no entrepreneur, It’s just not in the cards, My friends/family won’t accept that, I am not creative enough to pull this off, I don’t have the money, etc., etc.”

Look, many times over the last several years, I questioned the sanity of trying to control my own destiny. Too often, getting a steady paying gig made a lot of sense. And a lot of people in my circle pushed me to get a job.

But, I didn’t. Although it was one large part stubbornness, I’ve fought hard to move my life in this direction. And, I am almost there.

Trust me when I tell you, there really isn’t a better feeling than to have complete control over every minute of your day. To do what you want to do, when you want to do it. Or, like Derek Sivers, to welcome emails from complete strangers and try to provide a little help and encouragement to those who request it — just because he can control his schedule and make the time to do just that.

No, it isn’t easy. It never is. In fact, most things aren’t. And the sooner you realize that things SHOULDN’T be easy, the sooner you can clear your head of all those fake obstacles holding you back, and get to creating the lifestyle design you want, and get control of your life.

And no, you will never have total control when you work for someone else. But you can start getting more control. You can influence that. Do NOT let that be an excuse.

So. When are you going to start getting control?


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[photo from flickr]

  • Beth_Ailis

    I don’t have complete control yet, but I DID run my first half-marathon last October. You can work in training, it’s just an item on the schedule like anything else that is important. I have a full-time job, plus run my own company on the side and have kids and grandkids. If I can do it (at age 47, no less) anyone can. You have to make it important, then you can make it happen. And once you cross that finish line (which is more willpower than anything else!) you will feel on top of the world and have confidence to tackle the NEXT challenge. Go for it!

  • Todd Schnick

    there’s NOTHING better than crossing the finish line. it literally changed my life the first time i did it…

    and yeah, you can do anything if you set your mind to it, and make it happen. most don’t, and that breaks my heart…

    but i fear they use “not being in control” as their excuse, you know?

  • hi todd

    Wow! Must be so nice to be almost debt free. Hard work and persistence pays off. Having to pay bills, raise kids, honor marriage and have a stable income are very important. Controlling our life by taking responsibility for our actions or controlling our life by forgetting our obligations? When you put things in perspective it becomes very clear and then we are in complete control of our future.

  • Guest

    Wow. That might be the most hypocritical and misleading thing I’ve ever read. Hope folks do their research…..