not taking a well-worn career path is the same thing as inventing a locally novel personal economy. personal business model innovation is hard for the same reasons innovation is generally hard. the definition of success is unclear, there’s not yet validation that the outcome is desirable, there’s uncertainty about the connections between actions and outcomes, there are no peers in a cohort going through similar issues at the same time.
but maybe the hardest thing is that there’s no existing meaning framework you can use to tell the story of what you’re doing—both to yourself and to others.
going off-trail is motivated by the urge to find a configuration of personal activity that is more self-identifying—that makes you feel like you’re becoming the person you actually are (instead of someone living a lie imposed by social convention). this is a sensemaking exercise where, unlike the beaten path, there’s much less scaffolding for sensemaking lying around waiting to be picked up as you proceed.
it’s also hard to tell the story of what you’re doing to other people—i.e., to help them make sense of it—because there’s not a vocabulary for it that already has shared meaning.
those who go into the backcountry have to learn not only how to do a new thing but also how to tell the story of what that thing is and why it makes sense.