I know that I’ve always wanted to be an Architect and a Dad. I don’t remember asking to be a business owner or a parent.
Being a Dad is easy! In fact, my wife did most of the work to grant me the title. As soon as I held my son in my arms, I was a Dad. Anyone can be a Dad. . . well, half of us, anyway. I love being a dad. Dad’s get to know things like the names of all of the new cartoon characters and they get to decide that maybe it’s not too late for ice cream. Being a Parent is much harder. Parents have to know things like “how many teaspoons of medicine”, and “what’s the weight limit on the car seat”. A Dad crashes in the bed after roughhousing. A Parent lies awake wondering if they’ve done everything right.
I see the same dichotomy in my professional life. I love being an Architect. Architects get to work with people & come up with ideas that solve problems. Architects get to be creative and make the spaces and places we inhabit. Business owners have insurance and pay taxes, and have to make sure there’s a “next job” on the way. An Architect falls asleep thinking about how to make your building work (or maybe stays awake designing it). A business owner lies down and stares at the ceiling, worrying about cash flow.
I’m realizing that I’m attempting two of the more difficult ventures in my life so far. . . at the same time. Don’t misunderstand this as “regret”, because these are also two of the things that bring me joy in my life. And, “difficult” is a relative term, of course. I’ve been fortunate enough to have chosen these opportunities for myself. As a parent, I’m supposed to be invested in the choices I make. The same goes for running a business.
On occasion, I am so confident that I have no idea what the hell I am doing. How should I know what the long term effects of “timeout” are? Is standing too close to the television REALLY that bad? It’s just light! Is this REALLY the best way to keep track of expenses and billing for the firm? I went to design school, not expenses and billing school!
How will I ever know if I’m doing any of this right?!
“My family makes me happy.”
“I absolutely love the way my new place turned out.”
I suppose that sometimes, you just keep doing what you know is best. . . and the reassurance presents itself…