Pioneering with Settler Impact

Amy House


Image of a hand holding a clock

I think of pioneering in like terms to being an entrepreneur.

I am the first in my immediate family to become an entrepreneur.  Anytime you are the first…well, people think you are a little different.  I have heard variations on the same theme:

But you have a degree in  ______.

Why would you give up a successful career in  ______ for _______?

Why don’t you just change jobs?

I can only imagine what the pioneer of American History heard:

But you have a perfectly good farm here.

Why would you want to move your family to Oregon?  They don’t even have  ______ there.

Why don’t you just get a new tractor, team of horses, etc?

Yeah, I know.  Maybe that was a stretch.  But think about it.  Anyone or anytime you do something different, new to those around you, new to you….it will come with some baggage and opinions.  I also always think about that the actual pioneer experience looked like:

** They wore their Sunday Best instead of work clothes.  They were excited and saw things like a celebration.  They soon learned that the work clothes were the first step…Sunday Best comes later.

** It is hard to plan when you don’t know what you will encounter.  But…pack light and stick to essentials.  

** Sacrifice will be real.  But reward is also real.

** You can’t go back.  Going back won’t be the same place you remember.  It is better to figure it out.

** Work together.  You need the right people around you.  Pick wisely.

So much of their experience has been mine.  Maybe these thoughts will look like yours too.

**  I thought it would happen quicker.  I learned you can’t fake it until you make it.  There is real work…hard work…work in the evenings…work 7 days a week.  Once I get comfortable enjoying the work…the journey was better.

** At the beginning, I wanted new computers, camera, tech.  I wanted more help, resources and support.  But in reality, I started with business cards, a laptop and a smartphone.  I didn’t need much more.  In fact, if I had had more, I don’t think I would have done as well.  The more you have to manage…the slower you move.  When you are pioneering, move quickly.

** I gave up vacations for several years.  We choose to live in a smaller home.  We downsized our lifestyle to fit the size of our business income instead of trying to live a life we couldn’t maintain or afford.  We lost friends that didn’t understand.  However, now we are seeing the other side.  We can make plans, help others and have a new circle of support.  It was definitely worth it.

** There will be times you think about quitting.  Don’t.  It won’t be what you remembered.  We have gone back to visit places we used to live.  We always wonder….why did we think it was great?  It seems old.  It seems stale.  And we remember why we moved on.  Don’t go back to a career that you remember wasn’t a good fit.  It still won’t be a good fit.  Keep going.  

** Find the right people.  Networking – be willing to find the right groups and people.  Advisors and mentors – these will change with different “seasons” of your life and business.  Be okay letting go.  Friends and Associates – some people are lifetime people…some people are NOW people….some people we love and let them be.  Know the difference….for your sake and theirs!

Now think about the power of the Settler.  Pioneers always become settlers.  That doesn’t mean they settled…it means the became settlers.  Here is the power of becoming a settler:

**  Women changed the face of the Wild West.  They were business owners.  They brought art and culture.  They brought education.  If you want impact, think like a woman pioneer and transition into the impact of settler.

**  Settlers made discoveries.  New types of soil required new types plows.  Good think you didn’t bring the old plow…it wouldn’t work on prairie sod.  Settlers become innovators.  We build on the shoulders of what we know and who we learned from to design new ways.

**  Settlers are first to market.  When you have the wisdom of your past and the innovation of your future, be confident in what you have to offer.  Stand tall.  Don’t let “back East” tell you how it has to be done.  Know your value.

Just something to think about from a history nerd.