Finding Community in Your Entrepreneurial Journey
For the past several years, I've felt really alone. I wouldn't typically admit it, and if you saw my calendar you wouldn't believe it, but I do. There have been moments in my life where I intentionally drowned myself in plans every day after work just to feel better about myself. I’d spend hours staring at my calendar to ensure every thirty minutes was filled. I’d talk poorly about the people who had their go-to group of friends, but only because I was jealous. I would count my friends on my fingers just to remind myself that I wasn’t really alone, even though it felt like it.
It’s been this way since high school. My sophomore year I decided that I didn't want to party anymore, but the "Christian crew" were already best friends. It was at this point that I decided to separate myself from everyone. Truth is, I didn't decide, I just didn't fit into either group anymore. College didn't feel much different.
I started Delight my sophomore year of college in this place of loneliness, still fighting to feel like I belonged. When Delight began to grow on campus, I unknowingly pushed my insecurities to the wayside. It was the first time I felt like I was pursing a passion of mine, and it was the perfect distraction from the honest condition of my heart. For the next five years, Delight began to grow to hundreds of college campus across the country. It has become my dream career, the most exciting adventure, but also an easy hiding place to for my hurt.
A few months ago I walked through one of the toughest moments in Delight. I was carrying a lot of weight and for the first time ever I felt like I couldn’t carry it alone anymore. I texted two friends to see if they could come pray over me one random Wednesday night. We sat there as I basically poured my whole life history on them and they showered me with encouraging words.
It was the first time in a long time that I realized I still am struggling with the same things I struggled with eight years ago. Somewhere in the midst of starting a really exciting career I dropped the thought that I felt isolated and alone, but in reality I was still overly anxious about my weekends, still counting my friends, and filling my calendar to the brim.
I think this is a trap that a lot of entrepreneurs can fall into. You pour so much into your career and can easily abandon the rejection or hurt you felt before it all began. You allow Satan to deceive the external growth of your dream from the internal growth in your heart. You unknowingly assume that the hurt or heartbreak you are walking through will just fall to the wayside once you start a new adventure, job, or project.
I want to encourage you, wherever you are at in the point of your career, to notice the insecurities and brokenness in your heart that you are trying to avoid. Notice the thoughts that enter your mind when you lay your head on your pillow at night. Notice the hurt in your life that you have abandoned and the walls it has been building around you. Break these things down, go to the Lord with them, and don’t walk away from the pain.
Your career won’t actually distract you, and your walls won't actually protect you, so pursue the healing before you even begin. Before you start distracting yourself with your career and drowning yourself in work that never seems to end, allow others into the journey with you.
I know I’m not the first to tell you, but you cannot do it alone. The prayer from your friends, the dinner dates, the weekend adventures, the late night chats, and wine nights will pour more joy and passion into your career then you can ever imagine. Instead of being anxious about community, pursue community. Pray for it, look for it, make it a priority in your life.