Has technology ever disappointed you? Last week, my email software program suffered a massive coronary. At first, I refused to believe it, as if ignorning the problem would make it reverse itself. I rebooted and gently clicked all the right buttons. Ack! My mind screamed in frustration, yet I resisted the urge to kill Laptop and return to a regular job where an army of wizards would fix all of my technical problems.
Indie life isn't like that, is it? You have a million things to do to keep the business going, yet when one thing you rely on — in this case, technology — stops performing, everything stops until a solution is found. Yes, it's frustrating. But there are some up sides.
Frustration results from unresolved problems. It can dissolve into anxiety and depression, and since I want as little of that as possible, I quickly turned my attention from feeling frustrated toward solving my problem. As I did, I discovered the up side of frustration.
1. Supportive Business Colleagues And Friends. Numerous business colleagues and clients resent several email messages containing important data, including passwords, important graphics and "how to" summaries that would have taken days to recover using traditional backup systems. My brother, who acts as an unpaid board of directors, assured me that everything would be OK and suggested that reinstalling the software in a particular way might help. It did. A friend at my church offered helpful suggestions as well. I am thankful for my friends and business colleagues who care about me and my work.
2. I Can Always Do Something To Help Myself. It's so much easier to place blame than to address the problem at hand. Did Norton Anti-virus protection miss something? Did my kids drop Cocoa Pebbles between the keys? Is Laptop a lemon? Blaming others is tempting because it satisfies the urge to explain everything and to absolve myself from responsibility. In the end, it's generally a waste of time. Focusing on the problem forced me to exercise my creative muscle, identify the source of the problem and find solutions that ultimately caused me to run my business more efficiently.
3. I'd Rather Be Indie. Choosing Indie means choosing the road less traveled. It means choosing to wear a different business hat every 5 minutes. It means having to postpone a phone call in order to play "Simon Says" or read "Where The Wild Things Are" — again. In many ways, it's easier to work for someone else, make more money and let someone else hassle with my kids and technology. But for me, living my best life means having the freedom and flexibility to create solutions that work for me, my family and my business, and which combine to make me a better person.
Even with the challenges, I am grateful for the upside of frustration. I hope that next time technology lets you down, you'll remember that you and the people who support you have the power to overcome. And that in the end, the Indie life is one of the best gifts you'll ever give yourself.