As an entrepreneur, as I get older, I have noticed that true friends live the adventure with you. Living an adventure will obviously mean that there are ups and there are downs. Hence, the adventure part.
But many “friends” seem to somehow only want to live the thrill part of the entrepreneurial roller coaster ride, or be there to enjoy the reward of all the work. Many seem to disappear until its time to celebrate another victory.
The life of an entrepreneur seems to magnify that effect. Entrepreneurs are, in many ways, different than the herd. We are manic. Simply put, we are passionate creatures that don’t fit in with the herd. Not only do we work weird hours, never stop thinking about the “next thing”, obsess about execution and in many ways, threaten the lives of those around them by causing them to examine how they are living their career oriented existence. But we also cause many to feel uncomfortable with the whole notion of taking any real chances in life themselves.
That threat of holding up the mirror to other’s lives is not necessarily intended by any entrepreneur. In fact, I can’t blame people for not wanting to take that deep introspective look at the path for making a living they have somehow chosen. The fact is, studies repeatedly show that most people not only don’t have a passion for their work, they simply hate it.
So how can I fault a friend for not wanting to ask too many questions about how its really going with my entrepreneurial life? The response of almost any entrepreneur would no doubt be full of so much passion (be it positive or negative- depending upon which manic side of the coin showed up that day) that most non-entrepreneurs couldn’t handle the introspective reality the answer would cause. If someone actually hates what they do for a living (or are just not passionate about it- a kind of career purgatory), then how could I expect them to take the risk of hearing the passionate answer of someone who loves what they do because they took the risk to own it? That type of self realization that comes with hanging with entrepreneur types is usually just too much for the employee burdened soul.
So I have made a decision to not get bent out of shape in dismay when getting together with friends who are afraid to ask how its going in my entrepreneurial roller coaster. I have decided to accept the fact that even if they cared enough to ask, they could never really understand my answer anyway. That is because I made the decision a long time ago to take the path less traveled. And there is no way to really describe the experience unless you are along for all parts of the journey. That’s what true friends do and I’m thankful for the few of those I have.