2 min read

Playing the Long Game

Playing the Long Game
Photo by Rohan / Unsplash

It takes at least a year. 1 year to:

  • Make mistakes
  • Learn and iterate
  • Seek and find clarity via experience
  • Pivot and retool

The concept of far-off future plans distant payoffs is extremely difficult for me to process. Plans six months or more in the future seem like a lifetime away and give me anxiety. If someone asks me to commit to some party or gathering months in the future, it's actually triggering to me. I actively hate planning. Seriously.

Same with the concept of retirement savings– pulling money out of an active bank account and stuffing it away for a "retirement" in 20 years truly feels about the same as burning it to me. I still do it, but it's painful.

By my own casual observation, most people don't have this affliction. They plan out their life, far in the future and seem to have more patience than I do for deferred gratification. A calm hand on the tiller. If you are like me and have a penchant for instant gratification, self-employment is going to tough for you until you develop a longer view.

Being impulsive and impatient for quick wins has made my own journey into self-employment far more difficult than it has needed to be. Ebbs and flows of income and pipeline have caused unnecessary panic and doubt spirals because I haven't lifted my chin up an inch or two to see further ahead.

I had to pull money out of savings to cover a late invoice recently for some tax and payroll-related expenses, and the amount of stress that caused me was incredibly immense. The invoice was paid several days later and everything was fine in the end. But I put myself through the wringer on that one.

Yet, after a full year on my own, everything has been OK. The lights are still on at my house and my family has remained fed and generally prosperous. And really, I think that's what it takes. One year, minimum.

So, if you're just starting out, commit to 1 year minimum. Don't panic and take a job, don't freak out. Just know it's a year of growth and self-improvement and you'll re-evaluate after that.

This last year FLEW by for me, and it will for you, too!