Not World Domination…Empire Building!

Not World Domination…Empire Building!

SUMMARY: I’m retiring the WORLD DOMINATION category here on the blog, because EMPIRE BUILDING more accurately captures what I want to do; I explain why.It’s MASTER OF MY DOMAIN WEEK in The Google Wave with Colleen™. And no, that’s not a Seinfeld reference; the challenge is to take charge of our plans. If you’ve noticed I’ve been quiet for the past week, it’s because I’m trying to do just that, hammering at my stupid ducks to knock them into the semblance of a row. The major push this week, which has proven very draining, has to define my design services. Yes, I could have just said, YO! DESIGNER HERE! and been done with it, but I am also trying to also define my niche in a way that is uniquely suited to my strengths.

Exciting, yes? NO, NOT REALLY, because progress has been slow and virtually imperceptible. Pragmatically speaking, getting my design shingle out there is just words and old images, but each word anchors an idea that is difficult for me to convert to an I do this statement. I’ve been lamenting about this to Colleen, and she suggested using The Formula, which is just one aspect of her fascinating You, Amplified approach to marketing consulting. We both agreed that we find the glacial pace of our infrastructure building maddening, but we also know that this is one of those irritating times when patience is a virtue.

Yeah yeah yeah.

The truth is, I’m still grouchy about it. Colleen, getting into the spirit of the times, commented that it seems that she’s working harder by being her own boss than if she had a JOB, and the implicit expectation behind this statement lit up my hidden truth detector like a thousand-watt light bulb. You see, regular jobs can be easier because many times the patterns and expectations have been set for you. However, what Colleen and I are respectively engaging in is actually empire building. There are no roads…yet! There are no signs…yet! As we survey our domain, we see the toil and rocks and sweat and tears that we’ve inherited from our dreams, and our backs ache in anticipation of the pain. But it’s also OURS, and someday the roads we’re building inch-by-inch WILL link ambition with destiny.

Since then, I’ve noticed that quite a few of my friends are engaging in the very same thing, building careers and businesses, trying to make sense of it all. And they too are thinking the same thing: why am I working so hard? It seems like I must be doing something wrong. What if it doesn’t pay off? They, too, are empire builders. And it was with that insight that I realized my self-motivational declaration to engage in world domination was not in tune with what I was doing. I don’t want to dominate others. I want to build. And if there’s anything I know, it’s that building things is what makes a difference. The next step is to own what you’ve built, and therein lies a way more satisfying than washing someone else’s dishes.

So, I am officially making world domination into a subcategory of empire building. That’s The New Deal. This feels much, much better.


  1. Jason 14 years ago

    Very great analogy you have here, I always knew that people who prefer to be their own boss have to work harder just to keep up but this angle does put it in perspective better.

    Taking it a bit further I would say that people who prefer the security of a regular job gets to be driven around in cars on existing roads, limited by what’s there, while those who want more put up with the harder manual labor of laying down new roads, but without any limits to where they want to go :)

    I might be going off on a tangent…

  2. Baker 14 years ago

    Nice post. I like the difference you make here about domination and building. Building seems more collective and working within a team, versus domination feels very ego driven and single minded focus. Either way, nice post and I understand where you are coming from.

  3. Dave Seah 14 years ago

    Jason: Yes, I think I know what you mean. There’s times when the very difficulty and lack of clarity that comes from starting one’s own thing makes it feel that we’re somehow doing it “wrong”, and that we must be missing the easy way. That way only comes after a massive search and experiment effort, and the purposeful building on those findings. But once those are in place, easy starts to come along.

    Baker:[/] Yes, that’s what was bugging me… I didn’t like the ego-driven aspect of it, but I thought it was necessary to self-motivate so I tried to cultivate it with the more daring label “world domination”. I suppose this is how third-world countries run by benevolent dictators get started. Building, though, is much more positive.