Two years or so into working on Sett, an experienced entrepreneur friend of mine brought up the topic of taking investment. He thought that we should raise money and was interested in being the first person to invest.
So we talked seriously about it. One of the questions he asked was whether I wanted to build a lifestyle business or a "real" business. I felt a tinge of offense to the question and answered that I definitely didn't want a lifestyle business.
And yet... I never did anything that someone building a "real" business would do.
A year and a half ago I declared that it was time for WifeQuest, where I'd get serious about dating and find someone to spend the rest of my life with. That's something I want and everything else in my life was going well, so it seemed like the right time for it.
And yet... I'm totally reluctant to put much effort into dating. While I'm willing to make a woman a priority, I'm not motivated enough to actually find her.
It's a strange thing, to want something other than what you want. Part of me wishes that I was the type of person who would pitch his startup, raise capital, get an office, hire employees, and all that. I'm not so far away from it that it doesn't have its appeal. I also partially wish that I was motivated enough to put everything into dating for a year and meet someone great.
Our wants are much more obvious when we look at the patterns in our past actions. I love work and want to continue to become more successful, but my ideal vehicle for that is a flexible business where I do a lot of the work. That kind of business may never make millions per year, but I can live with that.
It turns out I really like being single. I never get lonely, I have plenty of great friends, and I love having my free time. I'd rather be single than date around, and I'd much rather be single than date someone I'm not crazy about. Better than all of those things is dating someone really exceptional, but I haven't found an efficient way to find someone that meets my (objectively ambitious) criteria.
Not reaching goals is bad, but reaching goals that we don't want isn't much better. I bet that's part of why people have mid-life crises. They achieve everything they wanted... and then realize not all of it is actually what they wanted.
So how do we know what we actually want? The easiest source of answers is looking through your past in search of patterns. What would an outside observer deduce about your priorities if he were to watch you all the time? Chances are that imaginary outsider is right.
It would be pretty obvious to someone watching me that I love building things and making them available, but that as much as I'd like to have a billion dollars, it's not actually an important goal to me. He'd see that I'm just as happy with a girlfriend as without, except for maybe during the best relationship or two.
What takes up your time right now? What takes up your energy? Your attention? Why are those things in your life? Are they leading towards things you really want?
Photo is sunset over Lake Champlain in Vermont.
By the way... I'm going to be in Budapest from September - October. I'll probably do a meetup or two.
What does lifestyle business mean to you? There are a wide spectrum of lifestyle businesses from the coconut cowboy earning just enough to pay for his or her coconut drinks on a Thai Beach to someone running a fast growing SaaS biz on their own terms.
The key part is that the business fits the lifestyle that you want. Perhaps great time flexibility, location independent, no office politics or something else. Not the size or success of the business.
It's more than halfway through the year, which means I'm overdue for an update on my dating situation. If you're just tuning in now, I took three years off dating with the intention of looking for a serious relationship, starting January 1st 2015.
Thanks to an introduction from a reader, I met a fantastic girl who I dated for a little over four months. I don't want to say too much about the relationship, mainly because I don't think she wants to be splashed around the blog. I will say that I think that the blame for us not working out falls squarely on my shoulders, and while I think that breaking up was the right decision, I'm certainly not sure.
If I'm honest, my motivation to date is really low. It's one thing to declare it as my first priority, and it's another for it to actually be the driving force in my life. It's definitely not.
Something critical I've realized through my re-entry to dating is that I'd rather be single than date someone I'm not extremely excited about. Just finding someone I'm excited enough about to go on a first date is very difficult. I've never actually met someone through a cold approach who I thought could be a long-term partner, and my online dating screen leaves me about half a dozen girls in any major city.
I'm really glad to bring you this interview and GiveGetWin deal with Charlie Hoehn. The topic is critically important -- it's about getting away from anxiety and workaholism, and getting more out of life. Very important for driven go-getter types like most people who read here. This interview promotes Charlie's GiveGetWin deal, "Turn Work Into Play" -- designed to bring you greater sanity and happiness while helping you do more of what you want to do.
Here's the interview, there's some gems in this one --
"To Heal, Play."By Charlie Hoehn, as told to Chiara Cokieng and edited by Sebastian Marshall.
First and foremost, I'm a writer. That's what I'm doing right now. In the past, I've helped startups and authors with their books and projects with launching them.
I'm working on the finishing touches for a book I've been working on for the past five years. I had a monster set of notes that I hadn't planned on making into a book, so it took longer than I thought it would.