I watched an interview recently with Mike Rowe, who I admire and respect in more ways than one, and he said something to the effect of, “Never follow your passion, instead follow opportunity.” This really hit a nerve with me. I cannot in good concious say that this is correct but I also don’t think he’s completely missed the mark either. Let me explain.
In August of 2011 I left a good steady job and an amazing benefits package, including 401k with matching, to follow my heart and pursue my dream of becoming an interior designer. Now as you smart people have probably figured out by now I did not end up becoming an interior designer and I am no longer in school for that. Do I regret anything that happened between that day in August and now? NO! And here’s why. I’ve talked in my video’s about the “what if” game. This is a game I will NEVER have to play with myself regarding that dream. I will never wonder, I will always know that it was one of the most spectacular times of my life. I will always know that because I had the courage to leave everything behind, do the crazy thing, and follow my dreams, it led me to my husband. Because I had the drive to succeed and was able to leave it all on the line I now have an absolutely incredible child, a happy marriage, and I am reviving my dreams and again going after what I want with more intensity and more drive than I ever thought possible. I was able to cross that off the list knowing what I know now. Would any of this have happened if I hadn’t picked up and moved to TN? Not likely. You may not get where you intended to go but the journey along the way will be one hell of a ride.
There are two sides to every coin though. Financial issues are the reason I could not continue design school. Financial aid I had been promised fell through and the schoolwork I was doing took up more of my time than I had allotted for when running the financials. I couldn’t find a pt job that was flexible enough. So here’s the rub. You have to be practical. I’ve taken what opportunity has given me inbetween my dreams. You don’t have to let your dreams die if you cannot do them 100%. You absolutely can have both. We call it a bridge job. It’s a job that allows you to use your unique set of talents and skills within a marketplace while pursuing your passion on the side until the passion can sustain you full time. We all have to eat and we all have to keep the lights on. There’s no shame in getting a job to make ends meet, even if it’s at McDonald’s.
I’m not saying run out and quit your job. Please don’t misunderstand. That move took 3 years of planning prior to executing it. And I had been on and off thinking about it for almost 10 years by the time I just said screw it, it’s now or never. What I am saying is that you need to find a tribe of people who can help you and support you through this muddy, sticky, murky, glorious, fantastic journey. It truly will be worth every single step you take. If your dreams fall flat as mine did there will be something that happens because you took that step, some door that will be opened due to your courage, that will make it all worth while. And if your dreams do in fact come true you will be in utter heaven. And when your 85 years old sitting in your rocking chair talking with your grandchildren the words “I wish I had” or “What if” will never EVER cross your lips. How amazing would that be?!?
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Have you ever left it all behind to go pursue your dream? How did that feel? Were you successful? If not, what good came out of that experience or what did you learn about yourself? Leave me a comment with your story. I’d love to hear it!