Generally speaking, I’m not the celebrating type. I feel like celebration weakens my resolve. I’ll maybe take the family out for a nice meal together, and that’s it. Whenever I have a win, my focus is on getting right back after it and trying to either top it or perpetuate it, depending on the nature of the win.
And you make a very cogent (and little-talked-about) point with this:
BTW, there’s also the weirdness of accomplishing something like earning $15K+ in a month of freelancing. I can’t shout that kind of accomplishment from the rooftops because it’s obviously so far above what most people earn, and I don’t want to seem like I’m lording it over them or something. I also recently crossed off my years-long goal of owning a BMW, but I haven’t really told anybody because again, it seems like bragging. (For the record, it’s a 2002 and it was only $3650…so no riches required.)
I don’t really have a question about the second part, just wanted to get it off my chest that it feels strange to accomplish big goals only to turn around and realize that there’s almost no one with whom I can tastefully share my accomplishments. You guys are of course an exception, which I appreciate.
I absolutely, 100% relate to this - so much so that I have a half-written blog post on the topic sitting in my Draft queue, that I’m not sure I’ll ever publish.
There are a lot of things about the freelancing life that can isolate us such that our pals with “normal” jobs can’t relate to use in some pretty major ways:
- Merely being self-employed is one level of isolation; it requires a type of thinking that isn’t easily understood unless you’ve done it.
- Earning big is another level of isolation.
- Gaining notoriety is another level of isolation.
- The external evidence of success - even if not conspicuous - is another level of isolation.
Like you said, it’s not a matter of lording it over anyone, or thinking that these things make us better than others, because they don’t - but they do give us a set of problems, concerns, and contexts that are not common to most people.
I agree, you can’t shout from the rooftops that you made $15K freelancing this month; that would be crass. But if you have the right kind of friends, you can tell them “Dude, June has been a HUGE month, I’m so stoked” without mentioning any numbers, and nobody will get weird about it.
I have some friends I can say this to, and some I can’t. I have some friends with whom I share actual numbers, and some I can’t. One particular friend accidentally stumbled into a $5mm/year business, and he’s particularly fun to talk numbers with, because nothing I report is going to make him feel insecure. On the flip side, I’m very much a “be happy for other people” type, so he can do the same with me.
What I do NOT have are friends who act weird or shitty or jealous about my wins. I blew all those guys out the airlock years ago and never looked back. Relatives, on the other hand…ugh. Apparently it takes very little income disparity for one’s family to start getting weird about it (or maybe it’s just MY family). But I’m not even going to get into that.
Frankly, the problem posed in your OP is what communities like this are for. We’re ALL grinding, and whether we’re all earning well or not, we get it. We understand the drive, and we understand the thrill of discovering that the juice was worth the squeeze. If I were to pop in here on July 1st like “OMG you guys! I netted out $30K for June! I’m so excited!” nobody would be shitty or catty, because on some level we’re ALL trying to “net $30K for June”, adjusted for whatever level of the game we’re playing at.
The bottom line is that you’e going to have to include more people who are doing the same things you are doing into your circle of friends, even if it’s only by virtue of online communities like this. You can’t expect your vanilla friends to really “get” entrepreneurship - if they do , that’s a bonus, but you can’t expect it.
TL;DR version: I celebrate my victories quietly, and only with people who I know won’t be weird about it.