The Unexpected

Jason Schuller
Aug 24, 2015 · 4 min read

When I quit my corporate job in 2008, I didn’t know anything about entrepreneurship or the craft that would eventually become my passion — I was hungry for something new and really had nothing to lose. Using WordPress as my platform, I started designing and making things, blogging about the entire process as I learned which organically lead to a strong connection within a community of like-minded people. Without intention, I carved my name in the wall and became a respected voice which opened so many doors throughout the next 6 years of my career.

If I’m completely honest, I was an average designer at best back then, but the hunger I had lead me in a way I had never experience before in my life. I listened to my peers, I saw the trends and what everyone else was doing, but always did my own thing in the end. Eventually, I became better as both a designer and entrepreneur. With nothing to lose, I had no fear in my voice or my craft, but I was humble and always respected the opportunity that had presented itself to me. I was truly happy for the first time in my professional career and felt like I had finally found myself.

As time passed, I became complacent as success became the norm and the newness of the opportunities that were so apparent in the beginning started to fade. Slowly, I began to compromise my individuality in several failed attempts to maintain the status quo. Instead of writing my own story, I started following others who I perceived as happy and successful. I began to lose confidence in my work, my voice, and eventually, the passion for the craft and business I had created turned to an overwhelming daily depressant.

My solution to this problem seemed simple at the time — eliminate the depressant and all would be well again. I could find a new voice, build something new and regain the confidence I once had. This time it would be easier because of what I’ve already experienced. This time it would be easier because now I’m really good at what I do. Fuck it, I did it once, so I must be able to do it again… right? So, I set my plan in motion — I sold my business and began designing and working on new things, great things in fact.

Here we are, just a little over a year after I sold “the cause of all my problems”. I’ve done some pretty amazing work this year — all of which I’m extremely proud of. In fact, I’d be willing to say, I’ve done the best work of my career this year on a level that seemed so distant just 6 years ago. As of now, none of this work shows any sign of growth on a level that can be compared to my experience six years ago when I didn’t know a damn thing. The difference I’ve realized is that hunger I once had, the voice I once had, the respect and the modesty I once had. I know I’m good at what I do now, so in turn, I expect the things I make to do well. I feel I need to protect my status and maintain the appearance of the success I once had, so I’m extremely guarded with everything I say to the extent of being scared of saying anything at all. I’ve completely lost my voice and the connection I once had to an amazing community of makers.

Selling my business was not the answer to any of my problems, but it was necessary to understand who I am once again and what my hunger is now. It’s time to set everything I think I know aside and start a new path — not at the beginning because that’s not the way the world works. Starting at the beginning is a myth. Nope, I’ve been there at the beginning and now I’m here with so much more knowledge. I’m right here, ready to get back to work, ready to be humble, ready to get uncomfortable and ready to keep moving forward.

My little girl turned 2 last March and I’ve been able to spend the majority of her life at her side, developing a life-long bond and witnessing first-hand all the wonderful things that happen during the first years of a child’s life. She’s aware of the world now in a way she never has been before. I want to show her there isn’t just one way to navigate this life. I want to show her she can (if she wants) live by following her passions and dreams. That alone is motivation enough for me to never give up.

Jason Schuller

Written by

Designer and maker of things for the web. Wannabe adventurer/photographer/videographer.

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