There are numerous ways to become an entrepreneur. If you’re Italian, you might be born to it. Just as homes stay in the same family for generations, Italian businessowners commonly pass their enterprises down to their children.
If your family made wine, there’s a good chance that you’ll make wine. Even some Venetian gondoliers are following the career path of their fathers and grandfathers.
As much as I love the Italians, I’m grateful that finding a career by inheritance isn’t such a common practice here. If it were, I’d be an electrician.
Paradoxically, there’s a Tuscan proverb that says, “Whoever does another’s trade makes soup in a basket.” Perhaps that doesn’t apply to family endeavors.
Although there are people who happily take over the family business, having one foisted upon you can be a disaster.
I met a man in one of my seminars who told us he’d spent his life grudgingly running a family business that he loathed. His sadness was visible, but even though he was no longer young, he was working diligently to make a new start and bring to life an idea of his own.
Even though families may not hand down a business, family pressure still plays a huge (and often unsavory) role in career choice. I frequently have people tell me, “My parents always told me I should work for someone else because it’s more secure.”
I want to counter with, “Would you wear your parents’ clothes?” Their thinking may not fit you either.
Every day I encounter people who are making soup in a basket, who are bored, inept or downright hostile because they are doing work that comes from a place other than their heart and soul.
Finding our personal right livelihood is too important to our well-being to overlook. We may choose to follow in our family’s tradition but only if we’ve come to know ourselves well enough to know that this is a perfect fit.
Clothiers talk about bespoke garments, meaning made-to-order clothes that are fitted to the wearer. I think it’s time to talk about bespoke businesses, one of a kind undertakings that are perfectly suited to the owner’s values, talents and dreams.
It takes a lot more time and energy to create such a business, of course, than to just pull one off the rack. Like a master tailor, we can only produce a bespoke business by knowing our personal measurements, making numerous adjustments, and investing pride in our work.
In a world that often seemed determined to do everything fast, creating a bespoke business requires a willingness and discipline to slow down, take things a step at a time, and pay loving attention to details.
The rewards for such willingness are huge, although they may not be quick.