Like a large portion of my friends in grade school and high school and even in college, I truly did not know exactly where I wanted my career path to go.
I remember wanting just a good paying job and nothing more out of an occupation. Having a passion for my work was not for me. It sounds silly and reading this after I write it is even funnier, but my thought at the time was that I was not worthy of working at a place I actually liked. That was saved for other, more talented people, people that could actually make a difference in the world.
To me that good paying job was something that paid $50,000 per year plus some sort of benefits. I had decided on this arbitrary number when I was around 15 and at that time as it was exceptional money. I think I had overheard a conversation or something with a relative of mine and that number came up. People told me that it was a good salary, who was I to judge. They told me this person was a success and that became my model, this person became my ideal. Today this is still not a bad wage by any means for the area I live in, but it’s definitely not out of the ordinary. The problem with penciling in myself to this amount of money was that as the years passed my number never changed; $50,000 per year and I would be considered a “success.”
My intense focus became my reality. In Napoleon Hill’s book “Think and Grow Rich” he stated very prophetically for me that basically anything I focus my energy on can and will become my reality. I was obsessed with that number. It’s all I thought about. I searched advertisements and job postings, looking for anything that would get me to that level.
“Once I get there people will notice me. Once I get there people will believe in me.”
Be careful what you ask for.
When I got there I quickly realized that I was not cut out to just do a job for the sake of having a job. When I got there I realized that the people I knew did not treat me any differently for better or worse with my newfound money. Most importantly I did not feel any different about myself. More money does not mean more confidence.
There is a bit of a macho factor here.
“Oh, you don’t like your job? Man-up and do your work to provide for your family. NOBODY likes their job, they just do it! Toughen-up Butter-cup!”
I did not see this right away, but that sort of thinking is short-sighted. That sort of thinking is actually taking the easy way out. Finding your dream takes work, it takes courage. Admitting that the support is there and has always been there also takes courage because the next stop is all on you; action towards your goal.
A job that just fulfills basic needs, but does not allow me to grow or show my talent, that is not something I am going to do anymore. Would I not be a better employee, a better husband and a better friend if I was happy and doing what I wanted to do for a living? Would I not be contributing more to this world if I was actually using some of the gifts I was given?
I will write
I will provide clients with massage therapy
I will provide clients with personal training
There are all sorts of ups and downs I have encountered with pursuing this and only until recently have I built up enough belief in myself that there is no doubt in my mind I will eventually get to my goal of quitting my full-time job and pursue this and only this as not only a full-time job but as a lifestyle. I did not start there, believe me. But I worked at it and eventually created that belief.
I am not yet full-time in training, coaching, massage, but I am on my way. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, all is not lost. How will all of this work together? How will I train people, do massage and still pay the bills? I don’t have an iron clad plan, I have not figured out all of the details, but I believe I can get there.
Unfortunately, I do not have all of the answers for you if you are pursuing something similar, following your passion. I can however share some things I learned along the way:
Don’t Listen to Other People’s Timelines for Your Success
A lot of friends and family did not quite understand why this is taking so long for me to transition. A lot still don’t understand and that’s OK.
“My God! You’ve graduated massage school like three years ago! Just go full-time and be done with it!”
No one has actually said that to me directly. Some of that was manufactured in my head, but I have been asked questions that when broken down and stated bluntly, basically say the same thing. That’s OK. Realize that they are more than likely just trying to keep you safe and don’t want to see you hurt. If this process of working your dreams it might take you a year it might take you ten. Just keep working it and it will happen. A lot of the time the people that are trying to pull you down because you are chasing your dreams are angry with themselves because it’s highlighting the fact that maybe they had a vision once, a dream and failed to act on it.
You will make mistakes
You will make A LOT of mistakes. I am still making mistakes.
This is a huge one. It took me a lot of practice. Yes, how bad do I suck that I needed to even practice failing? No. Stop that. See, negative self-talk is hard to break, even as I write this. and although I still have an occasional flip-out over not doing something right the first time, I am getting much better at it.
Lately I have actually been looking forward to addressing my mistakes. I like to think of it as making an adjustment to my plan and not actually fixing something. There is a reason you tried what you tried and there’s a reason it did not work. It is there to show you something, teach you. Learn from it and keep it in the back of your mind when you consider making another change.
Look for Opportunity
Opportunity to grow and get better is everywhere. No, you will not see all of them, but if you are aware and looking for it opportunity has a way of finding you.
Example – How/Why I went from tech support to massage. I met my wife who was an athlete, she broke her foot and had developed plantar fasciatis. This condition wasn’t found until much later and grew to be extremely painful for her.
“Hey, you’ve got big hands! You should work on my feet!”
I started working on her feet, a little here and a little there. I can say from the start massage just kind of made sense to me. She was impressed with what I did and said it was one of the best she ever had. Was she just being nice? Maybe she was being a little biased here, but anyone who knows my wife knows she does not sugar coat things. She is a straight shooter. I had no prior training in massage but it seemed to come very naturally. It so happened that
The opportunity to work on my wife and her bum foot opened another opportunity to pursue a different career, massage therapy.
I started in relaxation massage and grew into something I thought I would never get into, deep tissue. Working on my wife’s foot was very much a deep tissue type of work that I had forgotten about. I used that experience to propel me to the next level, the next challenge; developing my massage skills and learning all I can about being the best deep tissue massage therapist I can be.
Persistence is key
Persistence will always get you further than talent alone. Keep at it. Make mistakes and learn from them.
There is a reason this is not going to be easy. If it was easy, getting to your goal wouldn’t mean as much. It wouldn’t carry near as much meaning because you didn’t have to give anything for it. This takes blood, sweat and tears but you all have it inside of you to do it.
Not learning from the mistakes you made? Ask someone you trust to take a step back and look at your situation. You will be amazed sometimes at what a second look at a problem can do for you. The answer can be right under your nose.
Be Grateful and Have Fun
The most important one. Be grateful you have found your passion! Attack it with vigor. Enjoy the process of figuring all this out and don’t feel guilty pursuing it. Time is short, you might as well enjoy it!
As I said before I am not completely at my goal but I am on my way. Before I was a disgruntled tech worker looking for change and now I am at least doing what I love part-time (coaching and massage therapy). I found what niche I want to work with and I found my style of massage. Those were pretty big for me and took me about 3 years to get where I am today. Other therapists I know knew what they wanted before that, some I know are still trying to find their niche. Everyone will have different timelines. Financially I am less than a year out from even being OK with taking a lesser paying massage job temporarily until I hit my grove.
My Dream Will Happen.
And so will yours, if you allow it.