I just finished reading a book by hip hop mogul Russell Simmons. One thing in the book that really stood out to me was when he writes about those initial moments when you start to pursue your dream. He says:
Whether you take that baby step yourself, or just allow yourself to be swept up, you’ll get a real sense of satisfaction and freedom the first day you start pursuing your dream…During that very first day you’ll get an ‘I can’t believe I’m doing this’ feeling. There will be an excitement that had been missing from your life. And when you lie in the bed that first night, that excitement will be replaced by a sense of relief. You will feel incredibly relieved in having used the energy God gave you.
After I quit my job teaching college, I didn’t have another job lined up, and I didn’t even know if any businesses would want to hire a guy with too much education and not much business experience. I sent off application after application and got no responses. After a couple months, I began to get really discouraged and had no idea what I was going to do if I didn’t get a job and start making money soon. The idea of going back to academia occurred to me, but because that had been such a destructive rut I was stuck in for so long, I decided that I’d rather be evicted from my apartment than go back to living a life I hated.
Another month went by, and I just kept on sending out resume after resume then improving my resume and turning it into a creative piece. I called on all my friends to see who they were friends with, then I got in touch with those people and worked to make a connection with them and plant seeds that might turn into an opportunity for me down the road (though I was hoping it’d be sooner than later). I finally got some responses from a few people in the advertising industry – an ad agency exec and a couple creative directors. They liked my stuff but they weren’t hiring. Then I got contacted by a CEO of a startup who was impressed with my writing – my writing on this blog, actually. The interview was going great but then he explained some major elements of the position that I’d not known about beforehand. I knew in my heart that this wasn’t the job for me, and I told the CEO and VP—after an hour of interviewing—that I was sorry, I wasn’t the man for the job.
To make a long story short, about a week later I read a job description in an job email list a friend had forwarded me, and I knew immediately that was my job. I wasn’t being arrogant or overconfident. For some reason, I just knew that was the job I was going to get. Out of a field of 65 and after five interviews, I got the job. And I started to have the feeling “I can’t believe I’m doing this.”
This weekend, I gave the book proposal I’ve been working on for several months to a friend of mine who is the founder of the Publishing Institute at DU and is very well connected in the publishing industry. She emailed me back that same night and said that she’d sat down to skim it just to get the gist of it but then couldn’t put it down. She said she has a friend in the business in New York who she thought would like it, so she has sent my summary of the project on to him.
I feel prouder of that than anything I’ve ever accomplished in my life. I’m excited. And I realize that this is what I’m the best at. This is what I was born to do.