Although I have a long list of the things I love about being self-employed, high on my list is the fascinating people I meet. Even on days when I’m writing and working alone, I’ll receive calls or e-mails from people whose lives have intersected with mine.
Here’s what happened one Sunday when I had a parade of wonderful people marching through my day. The first came early in the morning and was a call that was actually intended for the previous holder of my number.
Once we had ascertained that no Moya lived here, the caller, a guy named Malcolm from Miami, and I started to chat. It took me less than a minute to discover that Malcolm is an entrepreneur and had just opened his second infectious diseases clinic. Moya had once been his office manager in another city and he wanted to lure her back.
The next thing I knew, we were discussing the joys of self-employment and Malcolm was telling me how his college student son didn’t want to work for anyone else. I told him about my book Making a Living Without a Job and he promised to get a copy for his son right away.
At the end of our conversation, Malcolm said, “I’ve never talked to an author before.” I thought, but didn’t say, “And you’re my first infectious disease clinic owner.”
In the afternoon there was a conference call with participants from a retreat I’d held six weeks earlier. This had been an especially enjoyable group so I was eager to hear what they’d all been doing since the end of that retreat. They did not disappoint. Each one had evidence that they were making progress.
One of my favorite stories came from Nancy who lives in rural Iowa and recently began studying the fiddle. She told us there had been a huge bicycle event with 10,000 riders that came past her place. Nancy sat in the yard fiddling as they passed and ended up being taped for a story on the local news.
Even though it was late afternoon by the time that call ended, fascinating folks continued to show up. There was e-mail from a young mother in Texas who was having a small crisis of faith as her friends and family were urging her to abandon her dreams and get a real job. I told her not to listen to them.
Then there was the call from Joycelyn. I haven’t met this dynamo from Chicago, but she’s participated in some of my teleclasses and recently sent me two delicious cakes that she’d baked and is beginning to market. Our conversation roamed all over the place, but what struck me is the fact that Joycelyn’s business is starting to grow in the most serendipitous ways.
Obviously, this is a woman who has no qualms about talking to strangers and several of them have been helpful to her startup. I suggested a few other resources and she exclaimed, “I can’t wait to get up tomorrow morning and get back at it!”
I laughed and said, “Do you realize how many people are sitting around right this moment dreading tomorrow morning?”
Joycelyn, a former teacher, also mentioned how much she loves talking to entrepreneurs—and how different it is from conversations with people who are not creating something on their own.
Not a day passes when I don’t experience the same thing and I’m hoping you do, too.
The Joyfully Jobless are not only fun to be around, they enrich our lives simply by sharing their own creative spirits. People who are living their dreams—or moving in that direction—are spreading a virus they may not even be aware of: when we’re in their presence we discover that we like ourselves better.
That’s no small gift and I feel blessed and humbled to receive it on a regular basis from all those inventive souls who stop to share their stories. My life is enormously richer because of them.
No regular paycheck comes with a bigger bonus.