I used to think I was an entrepreneur but then I realized that it's not making money that drives me to create but rather a force of evolution and co-creation with the Universe. I evolve as I create and learn from each thing I bring into the world. I believe this is the way of the new entrepreneur and our responsibility is to limit negative externalities and create as much benefit as possible as we grow, evolve, and learn to express ourselves fully.
The entrepreneurial journey is a spiritual journey. It might not start this way. It could be that you're simply going about your life in the business as usual sense when something gnaws at you. You begin to see that something is missing in the world — it's a void that only you seem to be able see. And then you realize that it’s yours to fill and that you are the one you've been waiting for. This is the process of innovation or design — to change the world from how it currently is to a more preferred version.
You start creating your vision because something somewhere pulled you to do something bigger. The bonuses and promotions you get at a fancy job can no longer mask that feeling of being totally dead inside.
It might start as a business opportunity. But then as you continue deeper, prototyping, learning, and growing – you eventually find your way to the core why.
When you don’t have any bosses or coworkers to complain about, you are forced to see that the problem is you and that what you get done each day is based on how clear you are, how you show up, and your intention. Is this sounding spiritual yet? You might start to meditate or try to hack your health so that you can do more with less and master your emotions. You might repeat affirmations every morning or develop a powerhouse morning routine. You definitely try Bulletproof coffee, add ashwaganda to everything, and maybe even microdose to stay focused.
And as you continue to go on, barriers will inevitably get in your way. At first they might feel external, like time/money/resources but soon enough you realize that they are internal barriers that are being reflected out in the world. By working on your inner landscape, your external landscape begins to shift in your favor.
Probably, after putting everything you have into creating what you feel is yours to do, you will experience burn out. That’s natural but not sustainable because if you burn out, you cannot go on. And so you realize that you can’t do anything without self-care. You begin to invest in personal growth and retreats. You take time to slow down and connect with nature.
At this point, you’ve mostly certainly tried ayahuasca and done a vipassana. You’ve been to Burning Man at least a few times. You have met others on this soul-o-preneur journey and listened to their stories on your favorite podcasts. You're reading a book a week and learning to go with the flow. You're no longer just creating a product; the product is you. You are designing your life.
But you have new ideas, more ideas — for all the problems you now see in the world. You want to offer retreats for people who were like you or a startup for the healing that worked for you.
So by now you’re manifesting, praying, and traveling the world in search of truth. It’s the Start Up of You and you’re deep in it. The growing pains have uprooted relationships. You might have sold all of your things. But you’re more alive than ever. And after all, that’s what Joseph Cambell says we all want to feel most — the rapture of being alive.
You want to bring something new into the world and so you have to do it in a new way. I realized this in growing the Forest Bathing Club — I was trying to create a community of people who connect to nature as a way to heal but so much of what I know about building a community comes from tech startups. With so much focus on writing newsletters, planning events, and keeping up an Instagram account, I was feeling anxious, stressed, and scarce (all the things that I was trying to heal when I started the club in the first place!). More and more I see that how you do something is more important than what you do or the vision you're trying to achieve. The golden nuggets are in the process because there really is no destination.
The job of the soul-o-preneur is to be a force of good while going about their personal journey. It's not about the exit strategy but rather the process. After going through this process and witnessing it in others, I'm finally realizing that I don't want to build something that's meant to scale and have huge operations. I don't want to have to brand myself and put myself in a box. I'm always emerging and evolving and my work will reflect where I currently am. I'm most energized by being on my own journey and supporting others on their journey.