Sisyphus and Small Business

For anyone that did not enjoy (endure?) 3.5 years of Latin as a foreign language in high school like me (I love you, Mrs. Huston!) – you may or may not be aware of the story of Sisyphus in Greek mythology. For those unfamiliar:

“As a punishment for his transgressions, Sisyphus, King of Ephyra, was made to roll a huge boulder up a steep hill. Before he could reach the top, however, the massive stone would always roll back down, forcing him to begin again. The maddening nature of the punishment was reserved for King Sisyphus due to his belief that his cleverness surpassed that of Zeus himself. Zeus accordingly displayed his own cleverness by enchanting the boulder into rolling away from King Sisyphus before he reached the top which ended up consigning Sisyphus to an eternity of useless efforts and unending frustration .” (courtesy of Wikipedia).

Sisyphus’ true crime was probably trying to operate a small independent business…

Sisyphussmall business ownership = eternity of useless efforts and unending frustration

I must admit, there are definitely days when I wish I had never left my “corporate job,” with its perks (vacations! – insurance! – 401K plan!) to start my own design firm. It is hard. It is never-ending. I often wonder if it is really worth it all…

Then I remember the never-ending Hell of corporate politics and memos and “action plans,” the road maps to success and the monthly maximizing performance reviews, all the while as the corporate culture was asking “Who Moved My Cheese?” or telling us all to “FISH!’ I’m sure all the “One Minute Managers” thought they were doing a fantastic job; they weren’t.

It sucked… Daily. Hourly. Every second…

That said, owning a small business does have a multitude of challenges, even when one has a capable business partner, as I do. The day-to-day mechanics and maneuvering of it all just wears me down some days – today was one of those days. But, I must remind myself of the observation of Albert Camus:

“The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”

Happy SisyphusAnd so, even on my worst days, I remember how it “used to be” and persevere. One day – soon, I hope – all our hard work, effort and dedication will pay off and my business will become insanely successful.

Until then, I just must imagine Sisyphus as happy…


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