My brother and I have been entrepreneurs since grade school. Peter was selling Play-doh sandwiches to absent-minded adults when he was five years old, and I started my first business when I was fourteen. (That was a big year—it was also when I started planning to be President.) Peter and I have hustled our own ideas for most of our lives, and consequently we are pretty awful employees. We’re more efficient, creative, and stubborn than our bosses, and if you’ve ever been a boss, you know that means we are totally unemployable.
Today, my younger brother is very busy raising millions of dollars for his startup, GoFire. He is charming, brilliant, and compassionate, whether he’s interacting with a billionaire investor or a hardworking intern. When you look at my brother’s life, it’s easy to see that he loves what he does. He has energy and passion that inspire his team to work as hard as he does.
How do you find the work that you love?
It starts with uncovering your values. What guides your life? Have you chosen health over power, or wealth over freedom? Look at the choices you’ve made, and zoom in on what’s driven them.
It’s been obvious throughout my life that I value creativity. My first business was a gift-wrapping service. I started college as a biology major, but switched to art after two weeks. In response to a traumatic semester, I didn’t drop out or start doing drugs; I cut most of my hair off and dyed what was left magenta. I’ve consistently chosen schools, jobs, towns, and friends that allow me to keep creating. So when I sat down to design my own business, I knew that creativity had to be part of it.
I also value connection and intimacy. I’ve always had roommates and studio partners, and I’d rather cook dinner for a loved one than just for myself. These values were cemented when I co-led a a retreat last year; riffing off of other's genius, co-creating with participants, cooking nourishing meals—I was loving it!
It’s wildly obvious that I value health.
When other teenagers were experimenting with pot and cigarettes, I was a straightedge vegetarian who went to bed by 10:30. Most art students have a coffee budget—I had an herbal tea budget. Instead of a gym membership, I’ve lived for without a car for over three years and walk an average of 2.5 miles a day. These choices don’t feel like choices to me; they just happen because they align with my values.
When you look back over the choices you’ve made in your life, what values were you prioritizing? Make a list of big choices you’ve had to make, what drove your decision, and whether you were happy with the outcome. Keep track of these values, and use them as a guide for future choices! Prioritize them in your business and relationships in order to move closer to a life you adore.
For extra credit, explore what you dream about.
For example, I want to run a wellness center full of experts in holistic health. I want to wander around Copenhagen and Budapest, drawing old buildings. I want to lead creative retreats for artists in beautiful places like Iceland. All of those dreams echo the values that I pointed out earlier: creativity, health, and community. Mine your dreams for more insight into your values.
I love talking with artists, entrepreneurs, and other creative types! If you want to talk about values, choices, and how they can serve you, schedule a Discovery Session.
As a bonus, you'll get my workbook on reconnecting with your intuition. It's totally FREE and totally empowering. You'll receive bimonthly emails paleo recipes, inspiring essays and news about upcoming events on creativity and self love.