11/11/2014 02:46 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Road Between Employment and Entrepreneurship: Destination Adaptive Environment


Sometimes one feels as if she doens't quite fit the mold of the corporate culture she finds herself in. This could be for various reasons:

  • Perhaps she's not crazy about what she does and only views it as a means to an end (e.g., financial security, social prestige).
  • Perhaps she doesn't naturally adapt to the environment and must conform her behaviors and opinions to fit in and excel at her job.
  • Perhaps she views the rules and policies as mere box ticking exercises and traps for the unwary.

The truth is, surviving and thriving in a corporate environment requires a certain level of conformation because it makes things easier.

There's nothing "wrong" with this, and I certainly don't advocate blaming your employer. (Take a look at my previous post here to see why).

Some individuals come to a point where they decide they're sick of conforming and they want to try something different.

If that's you, then allow me to share how the world of entrepreneurship can adapt to YOU:

You can use your natural gifts

As an entrepreneur, you can create a business that is built upon your natural gifts and talents. The result of this is that your "work" will require you to show up as you at your most authentic state. Sure, you'll find yourself in situations that don't call upon your greatest strengths; the situations that annoy and stretch you. But the principal focus of your business can be built on those skills that naturally occur to you. This makes the world of entrepreneurship a joyous place to play in.

Tools Not Rules

As an entrepreneur, you create the rules and regulations as you go along. If the rules serve a higher purpose (e.g., ensuring that the tax returns are completed and submitted correctly), then you can keep them. If they do nothing but waste time (e.g., having to fill out a requisition slip to approve the purchase of a pencil sharpener), you can toss them, no questions asked.

You will no longer have to "fit everything in." Instead, things can blend together

Allow me to use my situation as an example. Although I work harder as an entrepreneur than I did as an employee (the operations, marketing and admin are all up to me), my work harmonizes with the other important parts of my life. For example, in addition to work, this upcoming week will be filled with a healthy dose of Skype calls and coffee dates, reading and painting, and the liberality to do other things I genuinely enjoy. These are activities that I can do unaplogetically without justification. The line between work and play are quite blurry and in some instances don't even exist. Once I really understood this, I began to see expansion in major areas of my life (e.g., tremendously enjoying the work I do, the deepening of my interpersonal relationships, and the discovery of things I enjoy or am naturally good at).

Now, I must mention a caveat here (after all, this is not a fairy tale). The world of entrepreneurship is not for the fainthearted. To thrive in this world requires a willingness to take responsibility over a number of factors; most importantly, creating a business (or businesses) that will support you. It also requires a level of resilience and determination that will help you to get up and push forward time and time again.

That being said, if you desire to be in an environment that calls forth your natural gifts, that invites you to blend together all that you consider important, and that creates a safe haven for your imagination and creativity, I invite you to explore the entrepreneurial world. There's always room for one more.