When people were asking me what I do for a living, I used to give this answer: “Well, I do whatever I can to avoid a 9 to 5 job”. In other words, I used to be an entrepreneur, trying to put my ideas into practice while still being the master of my own time. I can tell you that it was quite an impressive answer, people were usually baffled, smiling and engaging in conversation rather quickly.
But now, things are changed. I don’t give this answer anymore. When somebody is asking me what I do for a living, I answer: “Well, I’m not doing much lately. I mostly am.” Which, obviously, baffles them even more. I confess that conversations aren’t’ as fast to start as with the first answer, but the ones that are actually taking off are quite rewarding.
So, what do I mean with this “not doing, just being” thing?
Well, if you really think about it, there is real gap between what people are doing – for a living – and their actual living. It’s like their time is split into something they have to pay for, and the actual enjoyment they get by that payment. They have to go to a job, because that job gives them a certain amount of money, money they use mainly to enjoy the time they have after they finish their jobs. That’s how things are going in this world.
But, imagine how it would be if you could do – for a living – exactly your living? Sounds confusing? Let me rephrase: what if you could just be and still have a decent life? What if you could live your life in such a way that your work doesn’t even feel like work? What if you could wake up, and instead of preparing yourself to immerse in a job you – most of the time – hate, and be ready to cut two thirds of your day in order to cope with that job, well, you could just go out and do whatever you like, and still get paid for this? Sounds even more confusing?
A Couple Of Examples
A year ago I started a networking event in the place I work. A Starbucks, that is. The event is called Open Connect and it aims to bring together entrepreneurs, investors, technical persons, media guys or just curious people. It started as a personal need to bring together people that I was already meeting in my “office”. I won’t go into details about the format of the event, it’s not the scope of the article, suffice to say that it lasts 2-3 hours each Thursday morning. In the beginning there were around 30-40 people at each event. Now there are around 100, the event is being broadcasted online and the audience is around 2500-3500 people watching per edition. It takes around 6-7 hours of work each week.
But guess what? Not it gets monetized. I already have a sponsor for the next season, there are a series of bootcamps in which we try to create a “hard core” of the group and there are also other ways in which the event will start to produce money. And, if you really think about it, it’s just something I do.
Now, a year and a half ago, I started to take tango classes. At that time it all had to do with a few issues related to connection and improvisation, areas in which I felt a huge lack of substance. It proved to be a very good decision. The benefits are enormous, and, after a year and a half of practicing and dancing, guess what? I became an instructor and started to teach my own tango classes. I’m basically doing the same thing, which is dancing tango, only this time I’m getting paid for it.
I think that’s what I mean by “I’m not doing much, lately, I mostly am”. I just live my life the way I want. And I get paid. I imagine that’s how people who just arrived in a new country feel. It’s just like I’m starting anew, refreshed and not really knowing what tomorrow will bring. And, who knows, maybe I did win some green-card lottery, only I couldn’t see it. 😉