(This article was originally written in August 2017 – republished now to honor the year without a Burn!)
I’m on my way to Burning Man right now. And of course I am SO EXCITED! This will be my fourth time on the Playa.
Every time I get to take 10-14 days completely offline to play, relax, reconnect, and just BE (like I also do when I go to the jungle in Peru for traditional plant dieta), I think of my life before I ran my own business and take time to deeply appreciate all the benefits I have of being an online entrepreneur.
Burning Man represents the ultimate freedom in life that, in my opinion, all humans deserve.
Burning Man represents life lived from the heart.
Burning Man represents the fun and play that’s available to bring to our life and work.
Freedom is our birthright. Doing work we love is our birthright. Fun, Play and living from the heart, I believe, is the purpose of being alive in itself.
You see, back in my pre-2012 career, I worked in the fashion industry for a “famous designer” for many years. And I could never go to Burning Man because of fall fashion week and all the work I had to do for weeks before it.
During the week of our Fashion Week runway show, we would pretty much work 24-7 up until the point where the models were done walking the runway. I’m not exaggerating — literally working some nights until 1-4am and going back to the office by 8-9am.
Burning Man was out of the question. I also missed a few invites to the US Open Tennis semi-finals.
Actually, I had NO long Labor Day holiday weekend for many years. . . because I worked for someone else who told me what to do and who controlled when I went on vacations and for how long I was allowed to go.
And there were other times I missed vacations with friends, cut family Christmases short, and missed many once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.
The irony was, one of the reasons I went into product development in the fashion industry was so I could work while traveling and see the world.
And travel I did! But it was always strictly business — I never free time to actually see and enjoy Singapore, Hong Kong or Taiwan!
Back in 2011 when I lost my “secure” corporate job, I took time off to travel and rethink my life and career for a few months.
In month 2, while sitting on a beach in Cambodia, I thought deeply about why I was here, what I was doing with my life, and what “working” was all about.
It didn’t make sense to me….why did so many people work so much at jobs that made them miserable?
Why did I and so many others feel totally unfulfilled in their careers? (Even though I liked the actually work I did, I was totally unfulfilled!)
Was the reason for living just to work, be unfulfilled, spend money on stupid stuff to make us feel better, and then retire and die? (That didn’t seem right).
Was I here to only survive? Was I here to survive by working on someone else’s dreams?
What about MY OWN dreams of having my own business, and creating a fulfilling life doing work that I loved? (Hey, if they had a successful business, why couldn’t I?)
Was work all about survival, living in scarcity and fear, and constantly feel trapped by the rat-race of a traditional career?
No way…this couldn’t be my life purpose! This couldn’t be what “work” was meant to be about. None of this made sense to me.
I had already seen my dad work at the same company with a slightly fulfilling career for over 30 years, and then proceed to die prematurely just years after he retired. It just seemed so sad to work to pay the bills, be only somewhat happy about it, and then die.
I did not want that life anymore. . . I was done working on someone else’s dreams, and I was ready to bring my own dreams to life!
I made a decision to start living a different life. I decided to do work I really wanted to do, and work for myself so I could have a life of FREEDOM on MY SCHEDULE, on MY TERMS.
Which is how I now:
….have two homes living in both the city and the country
….joined friends in the park for two hours on a Monday afternoon
….run multiple businesses and always feel excited and inspired to work
….go to any yoga class at any time of the day… or go for a run whenever I want
….go to Burning Man, be offline, and have a blast for 8 days
. . . and finally live the life of FREEDOM I dreamed of!
Look, here’s the truth: if you don’t create your own way of working and making your living now, the circumstances of our world might just force you to do it sooner than you thought.
You are going to see a lot of “secure” jobs in the work force completely go away because of jobs being replaced by technology, outsourcing, automation and jobs going overseas.
What will you do then??
(August 2020 update: I wrote that above in August 2017…now look at the state of work, unemployment, online businesses and the world we live in with COVID-19 and the uncertainty to come!)
If you’re tired of feeling trapped by your work . . . tired of waiting for freedom, then it’s time to create the work and life you truly want!
A life of abundance, impact, FREEDOM and joy that allows you to live life on YOUR TERMS while doing good for others, yourself, and the world.
Go create it.
– Beth Weinstein, August 2017