Five years ago, I ran away and joined the circus.
If you had asked me at the time, I’d have said I was looking for more purpose, meaning, and fun. I may not have used the word circus or even thought of this apt analogy, however with some time and perspective, I can now say my experience over these past few years has truly been a circus-of-sorts.
My particular circus is more commonly referred to as entrepreneurship, or lifestyle of a digital nomad.
Some more cynical bystanders might even say I had a mid-life crisis, or roll their eyes at the idea I desired to “find myself.” Perhaps any or all of those descriptions would suffice. I’ve given up trying to label or define the journey I’ve been on these past years.
Even so, the numerous questions and perplexed looks I still encounter about “what the heck it is I do” inspire me to share a sneak peek behind the curtain of the circus that is now my world.
5 Ways My Personal Transformation Away from Corporate has been like Joining a Circus:
Capacity for Change
Circuses don’t stand still; they are constantly in motion, literally and figuratively. I think of the old school circus’ that moved from town to town on trains and eighteen-wheelers. I picture them constantly refining their acts and playing to the crowds. I imagine them evolving with the times.
For me, the lifestyle that accompanies the circus that is entrepreneurship (in the digital age at least) was attractive enough to have me longing to run away from my proverbial corporate cubicle. The idea that a laptop and an internet connection was all I needed opened up a whole new world of possibilities. As I explored life in another country, experimented with other climates, and realized the option of bi-coastal living, I learned how important environment is to my vitality. I learned to appreciate my need for variety and adventure.
Not only did I find joy in a simple shift of my surroundings, I found freedom in the notion of that change. I didn’t need to be stuck in one setting (geographically or otherwise) until retirement.
Community of Colourful Characters
Traditional circuses evoke images of bearded ladies, trapeze artists, eccentric clowns, brave lion tamers, and a multitude of wondrous oddities! It seems anything and anyone goes in that space.
As I consider the colourful characters of like-minded weirdos in my new circus family, I remember a famous Jim Rohn quote.
“You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”
The people I spend time with now inspire me to do the impossible. I didn’t know people could make a living doing almost anything they put their minds to. I didn’t know I could create my desired life first, and then fit work around those priorities. I didn’t truly understand that “follow your heart and the rest will take care of itself” was a way of life, not simply a platitude.
Confidence to keep pursuing my dreams comes from surrounding myself with fabulous people doing just that. This has been a key to my success, especially during times my belief starts to waiver.
Clarity of Purpose
The circus director doesn’t expect the clowns to tame the lions, or the cotton candy man to juggle fire batons. Everyone plays a role in the greater whole, and everyone brings his or her own unique talents to the mix.
If I am truly “free to be me”, who is that? Who am I in that mix? What is my role in the grand scheme of things?
One of the most liberating aspects of joining this entrepreneurial circus is the ability to shed expectations and limitations of the status quo. The choice to figure out my own unique talents and walk my own path has led me to reconnect with what brings me joy. I hadn’t asked myself that question in so many years; I had to open myself to opportunities and embrace the ambiguity that came with it.
Connecting to what brings me joy has given me more clarity than I’ve had in years! Living that joy gives me a sense of congruency that I didn’t know I was missing.
Sky’s the Limit
If you’ve ever sat under the Big Top and wondered just how high those aerialists can fly, how many fireballs those jugglers can handle, or how many clowns can fit in a mini-Cooper, you’ll get this next advantage.
My journey into entrepreneurship and the accompanying personal transformation that follows has challenged me to think bigger and bigger with each and every step, defying my fears and self-limiting beliefs. Although I sometimes try to debate the reasons for why I can’t do something, it always seems to come back around to daring me to consider why not.
I’ve learned the only thing stopping me from achieving my dreams, is me!
No one asks to run away and join the circus. The very concept of “running away” implies choice and action!
As an entrepreneur, I’ve had to learn to give myself permission. No one is in charge of my happiness, my ambitions, or my dreams other than me. This realization helped me leave my corporate job and has been a constant reminder along the way. One of the most important permissions I’ve given myself has been the ability to choose my own success.
As soon as I stopped chasing things I believed I was supposed to want, I started to open up to a deeper understanding of what I truly want. I even coined the phrase Finding Fabulous to replace “success” in my quest for living a better life, filled with purpose-filled, joyful accomplishments.
How about you? Is it your time?
Are you ready to run away and join your own circus?
Are you ready to find your family of like-minded weirdos, to finally bring your unique act to the main ring and start swinging off the rafters? Share it with us in the comments section below!