Shelley’s Ozymandias

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Percy Bysshe Shelley was an English poet who lived in the dawn of the 1800s, and is regarded by some as one of the finest and most influential poets of the period. Probably his most well-known work is the poem Ozymandias.

It basically tells us that no matter how great an empire we build, eventually time will catch up to us. The basic premise is of a traveller that finds a ruined statue in the desert, that was once obviously part of a mighty kingdom, yet all that is left now is sand and ruins, and the immortal words still legible on the statues pedestal: “My name is Ozymandias, King of kings. Look on my works yea mighty and despair.”

Yet nothing remains, just ruin and sand, Ozymandias may have been a mighty king, but what is his kingdom now?

We all started our own businesses, our own journey down the entrepreneurial path of Internet Marketing because we wanted something different, we wanted our own lives, whatever our reasons. I like to keep this poem close as a reminder that yes, I’m working for myself and building my own business, but the meaning I take from it (and that I encourage you to take too) is simple.

Our businesses are not us, we started them not to define our lives, but to enrich them, don’t get so caught up in building an Internet Marketing empire that you forget to achieve the reasons you started your own business in the first place.

I’m not saying that running your own business is easy, even with the convenience of today’s technologies, it’s tempting to just open that laptop, or check your statistics on your phone. But I suspect that like me, we all started our businesses because we wanted a work/life balance that supported our lives more than our work, and then fell into the same trap that we were in before, but often we don’t notice because rather than working for a faceless corporation we’re working for ourselves and still spending equally as much time doing it, forgetting the balance.

Empires are all well and good, but they aren’t life, and lives are what we lead each day. At the end of ours, do we just want a ruined statue and an ironic sentiment? Or do we want a lifetime of experiences and adventures that our business supported, but didn’t eclipse. That is the trick.