Hi guys, welcome, I hope this finds you well, happy and excited for whatever you have planned for the next 24 hours. Why? Because when you get to this time tomorrow, you will have spent the last 1440 mins doing all kinds of things. Sleeping, eating, tending to the relationships in your life, working, driving, surfing the internet. Basically, you’ll have been alive. You’ll have used up 86,400 seconds of your allotted time on earth, that you’ll never get to have back. Now here’s the tough question for you. Will you make the most of it? Will you make conscious decisions about how you spend your time? Or will you just float through the day? Waiting for the weekend, phoning it in with your loved ones, doing stuff, but not really living?
I’d like to think that if you’re on my page, reading this, then you already are interested in living a more considered existence. Something more fulfilling, more satisfying, more you. You want to be so excited about tomorrow that you can’t sleep, and still be up and going early because you’re so pumped up about what you are spending your life doing.
A friend and mentor of mine Jason Grossman is a fan of saying
“Instead of working to pay for a vacation, work on building a life you don’t need a vacation from”
For a long time, I thought I understood what he meant. I liked the concept but was never able to feel what he meant by it. Until recently that is. You see I’ve always thought of myself as a writer, I’ve been writing stories and poems since I was 10 years old. I had always wanted to make an income form my writing because that’s when I’m happiest. But I got married young, had children even younger, and so I decided to put their needs first. So instead of pursuing a career as a writer, which I knew was financially risky, I put it on the back burner.
Fast forward 12 or so years and I found myself in a new relationship, one with a woman that supported me to follow my dream to change lives through writing and speaking. So, I started writing, just in a note book, not sure if I would ever publish them but feeling better just due to the act of being more closely aligned to my truest self. Then about 3 months ago, I got very sick, I was having chronic blinding migraines dues to other stressors in my life (more on that another time) and it forced me to resign my “proper job” managing a café. This was a crisis point in my life, depression, anxiety and stress piled up on top of me and leading me to some very dark places. With the support of my partner and the mandatory reduction of stress in my life for me to just function, and of course the wonders of modern medicine, I started making my recovery. But this crisis had forced me to confront a great deal about my life, and how fundamentally dissatisfied I was at the place I found myself at 32. In those dark moments, something my partner said to me in one of our very first deep conversations. She’d asked the simple “What do you want to do with your life?” and I responded “I want to write and speak, and have what I have to say help people change their lives for the better.” She said in response “Why don’t you”. I’d never heard someone put it in such simple term. She managed in 3 words to cut through all my bullshit excuses and bring into sharp focus the question I had been avoiding for years.
“Why don’t you?” As I lay on the couch, suffering migraines because my body had finally had enough of me putting more and more stress on it, I thought about these 3 simple words more and more. I realised that I had been making all kinds of excuses for not taking the risk, but the reality was I was just scared. I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to work out how to make a living writing, scared that people would reject my work, scared that I wasn’t as good as I thought I was. I then realised it wasn’t about reaching anyone, I just loved to write. I have so much going on in my head all the time, getting some of it down on paper relieves some of the pressure. So, I took a leap, started my blog and started putting my thoughts out there. Not for acclaim, I knew I could have just been shouting into the maelstrom of voices in cyberspace. But, and by now you’ll know I like big butts and I cannot lie, that didn’t matter. Just having it there, my little blog, floating out there waiting to be discovered, was what was important. Maybe people would find it, maybe they wouldn’t. Maybe someone would read something I had to say, and it would help them, then it would be worth it. So, I focus on the work, because that’s where a lot of the joy comes from, playing with the written word and saying what I had to say. So, as I said, I took a leap into the unknown, followed my passion down the rabbit hole, as if it was the CS Lewis’ White Rabbit, telling me we’ll be late. And now couldn’t be happier, by focusing on working on what I love, my skill and thus what I produce, gets better. Thus, I enjoy what I’m doing more, I’m happier so I work on it more… see where I’m going here.
After a month or so of starting the blog, I also considered freelance writing and editing. Why? Well, as much as job satisfaction feeds the soul, food is needed to feed the body. Here’s the kicker, because I had worked at what I loved, so worked harder and more consistently at it because it doesn’t feel like work, my skills quickly got me paid work. Rather than letting it be a dream, I took a risk, and it turned out exactly as I had hoped. This doesn’t mean it was easy, I didn’t just sit back and wait for job offers, as I said I worked hard, and am still working every day on getting better, but my commitment level was significantly higher because I was working to make a dream come true for myself, not for someone else.
The point of this story is not to boast, but to show you that it is never too late to follow your passions. Whether you want to paint or cook or make prosthetic legs for injured kangaroos, do some research on how to do it, then get to work making your dreams into reality.
“That’s great for you Alex’ I hear you say, “But I don’t know what I want to do. I have no idea what I’m passionate about.”
Bullshit! Sorry, but to that I have to say a resounding, and repeated “Bullshit!”
Right now, you are in either one of two camps. You either (a) Do know what you want to do but for whatever reason are letting fear stop you from chasing your dreams, or (b) you haven’t realised that something you do love to do, could be done as a vocation.
If you’re from Camp A, I have two things to say;
- Go read my piece “Don’t let other people deny you happiness”
- Once you’ve done that, go hang out with the people who know what they want, and get to work.
Ok that leaves you lovely folks in Camp B. You are a passionate people, you know there is more to life than what you’re currently doing, but what to do has you stumped.
The first step is not to think about “What do I want to do as a job?” because that’s not what is going to help you get enthusiastic about this process. This can be fun, if you reframe the question to be “What are 10 things I just love to do?” Well, go on, think about it. Got some ideas? Get on with writing them down.
Once you’ve written them down, look at your list and see if there are any themes with the things you love to do. Maybe you’re into hiking & camping, but you also love meeting new people. So perhaps considering doing something in the realms of adventure tourism might work for you. Or maybe you love making videos of your friends skateboarding and picking the perfect soundtrack to go behind it. Did you know there is a whole group of sound designers/engineers whose job is to pick the best track for adverts, or the perfect edit of a video for a film clip.
The point is within your list of ten, there will without doubt be a few ideas that you can look into. The idea here is to learn about yourself by doing this. Don’t be worried if you have lots of things you’d like to do. I also have 3 other projects I’m working on right now. They all fill different passions in my life, including combining interior design with environmentally friendly principles, a Motivation/clothing cross over, and Monty Pythonesque absurdist humour mixed with YouTube and wine.
The thing is folks, if you truly want to live a life that is fulfilling, you need to discover your passions, practice them and find a way to build a life around. So, that when you to get to this time tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that, you can look back on your day and know that it wasn’t 1440 minutes wasted. That you went out there and worked for your future happiness.
As Always Folks
Get Up, Get Out There and Get Awesome
And remember, don’t waste your day. Ignite your passions and set your world alight.