It was one of the hardest weeks I’ve had in recent memory. I had been putting all of my energy into winning a certain job. I crafted what I felt was the perfect proposal detailing my unique project approach, my creative vision and what my team and I brought to the table that no one else did.

Unfortunately I lost the job due to a lower bidder. I was deflated, exhausted and truthfully a bit peeved.

Know that saying “when it rains, it pours?” The day continued to slide south with a rash of a few cancellations, postponements and rescheduling requests. Usually standard stuff, but compounded with the loss of the big job, my mood was not brightening.

Then I looked over at the mass of work which still needed to be done. The subconsultants needed to be paid, taxes needed to be taken care of, blog articles needed to be written, had to schedule interviews for the podcast, and I still have that looming book project I’ve been telling myself I needed to open up time to get into.

Stressed out (and realizing that I was without food in my house) I grabbed my jacket and headed to the store. Perhaps some walking around and grocery shopping would at least get my mind off things for an hour or so.

As I was checking out I couldn’t help but to notice the cashier. About 13 years ago I did the same thing. Every night working at a grocery store for decent cash (or at least what I considered decent at the age of 16). I didn’t remember any big stress or complications at the time. There certainly were – I just don’t remember it. All I had to do was to be nice to someone, and scan the item. So simple.

My brain continued to wander. I wonder if I gave up the marketing, the photography, the writing and just worked an easier job if I would be happier.

It would be so much easier. To not have to stress about running a company. To not have to worry about being successful or extending the reach of my brand. I could have all my nights free to go to the movies, hang out with friends, have time for a committed relationship. I could go home at the end of the day and be done.

As I was walking back to the car my mind shifted to an upcoming project I had on my plate. Immediately I got excited about how I wanted to approach it, what I could do with it, how I could make it special. I got home and plowed through all the paperwork that needed to get done in no time and then invested myself into planning out this upcoming photo shoot with feverish intensity and satisfaction.

When I left my desk that night I took note of the feeling that was washed over me. Satisfaction.

Yes; it would be easier if all of us took up a job which required no emotional investment and sacrifice. It would be easier if we never put responsibility on ourselves to achieve something we are passionate about. It would be easier if we had deniability in everything we did.

However, my guess is that if you are reading this blog, then you chose the other route. The one of investment. The one of the bigger payoff. Not just monetarily. But the bigger payoff in satisfaction, achievement and gratification.

Yes it is harder. But that is what makes the reward worthwhile.

James Patrick