Just as I shape my business, so does it shape me
If there's one central theme through all of my writing these last few years, it's that psychological, emotional, and spiritual development are increasingly essential to my path towards 1,000 true fans, and a life well-lived. The more I unlearn rigid old patterns of relating and emotional avoidance, and begin to follow what's most alive and true, the better everything in my life gets, my business included. These processes are one and the same.
And I suspect I'm not the only one. We are each raised in a world where The Pattern surrounds and shapes us. It's the water we swim in, and the story we're told for how to survive and get ahead. And so The Pattern, which at its core is just fear wearing a variety of clever masks, becomes our dominant mode of relating to everything we do.
Businesses reflect the psycho-spiritual well-being, or lack thereof, of the humans who run them. When fear is our default operating system, we become insecure, desperate, controlling, distrusting, greedy. These emotional states ripple outward into our relationships and businesses. We begin seeing everything as zero-sum. Our marketing becomes coercive. Other humans become mere means to an end. Even as our businesses grow, nothing ever feels like enough. When we're caught up in The Pattern, we become hungry ghosts, endlessly consuming to fill some inner void. And so do our businesses. Again, these processes are one and the same.
If you couldn't tell, I'm a bit obsessed with how our environments shape us. In this larger project of becoming who we need to be, both as individuals and as a species, I suspect 80% of the work will be learning how to shape our environments in new ways. The physical, digital, and social environments we inhabit can either bring out the worst in us, making us more fearful and rigid, or they can encourage us to begin spiraling up into the best versions of ourselves. The internet as we know it today, and the entire Entrepreneurship Industrial Complex, is deeply rooted in The Pattern, and in the perpetuation of fear. Our environment, through no fault of our own, is slowly morphing us into hungry ghosts, and contributing to the pervasive sense of wrongness that permeates every corner of the world.
When I initially started working on Ungated back in the summer of 2020, I wasn't thinking about developmental environments yet. In my mind, I was just building a cool website that would help creators get better at marketing. But I suspect some deeper part of me knew all of this, and subtly started steering the ship. Over the last three years, Ungated has become an environment that's actively developing me into the man I want to become. The more I fill the Ungated container with work that feels alive, true, and aspirational, and the more I connect with like-minded homies, the more The Pattern loosens its grip. The more time I spend inhabiting this digital world, the more my business, along with every other facet of my life, becomes more nourishing and beautiful. It's the damndest thing.
So that's the seed I'd like to plant today. For those of us building lil internet businesses, or even much larger businesses, it's helpful to think about them through the lens of developmental environments. What would it look like if your business environment reliably nourished your soul instead of degrading it? How can you begin shaping your business environment so that it reliably brings out the very best in you?
Rob's Daily Invitation
Everything in this lil essay points back to what I'm creating with The Frontier. Building an online business and trying not to succumb to The Pattern is extremely fucking hard. It's the kind of thing best done in community, with other courageous homies. That's the thing about courage and community. Not only is courage contagious, helping everyone spiral up together, but on those inevitable days when it all feels too much, the community has your back.
Point is, The Frontier is a positive developmental environment. It's the type of place that helps us become the most courageous versions of ourselves, and break The Pattern together.