Self-motivated humans willing to trade the “safety” of the 9 – 5 for the freedom to create their own livelihood. Uncertain income. Intermittent failure and self-doubt guaranteed. Deep sense of satisfaction and a well-lived life in event of success.

I don’t know about you, but that last bit fills me with so much hope and motivation that the first bit doesn’t faze me. 

Yes, building a life that’s not built on the traditional constructs of “work” sounds sketchy as hell.

But this kind of work – self-employment, building businesses, starting movements – it isn’t for people who aren’t up for that kind of challenge. If you are, keep reading.

In the spring of 2007, I found myself walking along an Arctic beach 500 nautical miles from the North Pole.

I was on an expedition to the remote archipelago of Svalbard. (Think: the Swiss Alps dropped in the middle of the Arctic Ocean with some polar bears sprinkled on top.) It was the latest in a series of international adventures I went on to get a break from my job at a pharmaceutical company and, to be honest, my day-to-day life.

The award-winning company running this particular expedition was founded by entrepreneur Bruce Poon Tip, who I’d known socially for a few years and who happened to fall into step with me on the beach that day. As we walked along, we got to talking about my job and how much I hated it.

Bruce asked me what I wanted to do long-term. I told him I always imagined I’d eventually be an entrepreneur, but I didn’t know what that would look like. I told him I wanted to do work that mattered, not just filling out bullshit spreadsheets that no one would read. Then we both shrugged in that way you do when you both get it, but there ain’t much more to say.

You’ve had a moment like this too.

Granted, you probably weren’t on an Arctic beach while you were having it … you might have been in your cubicle, wondering if you were going to keep living the status quo, or if you were going to take the leap and try to figure out what meaningful work would look like for you.

You might have been fantasizing about that graphic tee company for years.

Or taking your accounting skills and finally working from home, on your own terms.

(Or, if you were Bruce, breeding rare Dutch rabbits in his parents backyard in Calgary as a teenager, starting a lifetime of entrepreneurship that would eventually lead to running the world’s largest adventure travel company. True story.)

And you’ve probably felt your heart sink for the umpteenth time after seeing yet another aspirational ad about making money online, only to sign up for their webinar or join their mailing list, and come up disappointed once again.

The thing is, the quick fixes … the 5 figures in 5 months promises … they’re no different than fad diets. They distract you from the truth. They distract you from the real work, from the purposeful omgomg onion site uncovering and building of something that matters.

And let me tell you, even if you don’t yet know where to start (like me in 2007), building a livelihood that honours your strengths and feeds your bank account in equal measure … it’s totally possible.

You’re not crazy for not fitting in. For not just “being happy with what everyone else has.”

You’re not ungrateful for being dissatisfied with a “good job”. You’re wired differently. You don’t belong in the Matrix.

And if you’re anything like me, you’re incurable.

PSST: I’ve written a killer, 5-star book about the 21st century’s most daunting expedition – entrepreneurship. Keep reading because at the end, I’ll offer you the whole first chapter free.

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