Pick an author. Any author. Ok, your favorite fiction author. After all, this is a “let’s talk fiction” post.
I pick Edgar Allan Poe. In the darkness of my teenage years, I found Poe a good friend. He was dependable. He was entertaining. He was an enjoyable read. Every story met with my serious determination of quality. No, it wasn’t, “I like it so it must be good.” Quality meant there was a narrative, a plot, good characterization, a conceivable flow to the story, and it was believable.
The dark edge to Poe’s storytelling was a favorite focus, of course, but without success at the lists above, I doubt Poe and I would have become such good friends.
I have been an entrepreneur for close to 12 years now. I took up the mantra of “be your own boss” back in 2004, when my latest attempt at employment just didn’t work out. Almost as soon as I made the decision to be my own boss, I began reading business books. I devoured book after book; books on how to be an entrepreneur; books on how much to charge for your services or products; books on the self-made man (although, the books were not usually called that – still, there were too many to count about men who had succeeded on their own, than there were about women who had done the same); and books on how to be in business, in general.
They were a good bit of help, all those business books. Don’t get me wrong. I learned from each and every one of them. But, in the end, what they taught me about business and what I learned from real life, were two different things. We’ll talk about that someday.
What I want to talk about now is how important I think it is for you to put aside your business books, for a bit…not forever…and pick up a fiction book. Pick up a recent tome by your favorite contemporary author. Is it a drama? Is it a mystery? Do you lean toward sci-fi and horror, as I do? Do you lean towards humor or are you more of a romance kind of gal?
Regardless of your choice of reading material in the area of fiction, I want to urge you to bring this pleasure back into your life! Fiction should definitely have a place on your nightstand, as required reading for your business pleasure.
Let me explain further.
These days I’m often curled up in bed with a good book about the future.My reading revolves around fictional depictions of life on planet Earth, after a calamity (can we call war a calamity? Yes, I think we can) wipes out much of life as we know it. I’m fascinated by what might be, what could be, what is truly outrageously not going to happen. The books are interesting, but have little basis in fact. It’s my escape from my day to day life of … work, work, work! And, as I read, these stories inspire me to think differently about my life. I begin to examine what I’m doing in the here and now, and how I am contributing to or not contributing to…the status quo.
There is a question within that demands an answer: why do you do what you do, Yvonne?
Are you asking yourself that question? Is that question keeping you awake at night? Are you seeking answers to that question? I think so.
Each of us, each entrepreneur on the planet, does what he or she does for a purpose. Occasionally that purpose is to “get rich.” I have met my fair share of people who are in it for the money. Sometimes they succeed, sometimes they fall by the wayside. The majority of us are not in it for the money. We’re in it because our work means something to us. It means more than the activity of accomplishing our daily tasks. For a good many of us, we see our work as contributing to the greater good.
It’s what pops into my head when I’m lost in a fiction book. I begin to think differently. I begin to see differently. I allow myself to open the door to possibilities I might not think of, were I lying there with my nose stuck in the latest “how to” do this or that, book. I love the way fiction inspires me and gets the light bulbs going off in my brain.
Additionally, fiction makes me pay more attention to words. The language of fiction is different than the language of business. Fiction speaks of life and living and the love we have for our planet, our race, our people…and our pets. I will admit that a major issue with every sci-fi book I read is the lack of pets in them. Seriously? People won’t have pets in the future? Well, I’m not going there, then. Just saying.
We all embrace our work with a passion that gets us out of bed each morning…eager to face the day. Even when we’re tired, or overworked, or when we’re worried and concerned about the bottom line, our passion for the work we’ve chosen to do keeps us going.
I want to recommend that you take some me-time to read a good fiction book this week. Allow yourself time to bury your face in the narrative…to wrap the story around your shoulders and to slide down in bed, against that comfy pillow, with the book up to your nose… Be all consumed, for that short time.
My expectation is that this will not only refresh you, it will inspire you.
Share your thoughts here – am I right or am I wrong?