I went to college for a program that didn't really interest me with one thing in mind:"I will use my earnings to fund my career as a writer and musician."
It seemed like a brilliant plan.
Back then, how did I know I was telling myself heinous lies?
I actually thought I was pretty progressive. Unlike everyone who entered the program, who hoped to land a job in the field and stay there, I had other dreams. I had hopes.
I had this feeling – maybe you know it – this feeling that said, 'I'm supposed to be someone'. I've always felt that. I felt I was destined for greatness. I also thought that only people who were specifically, uniquely destined for greatness thought that of themselves.
I'll fast forward and tell you that my illusion was shattered about a year ago in the middle of a Marianne Williamson audio tape (and again and again after asking people about it).
Back to my quest for a stable Plan B.
By the time I graduated, I had forgotten my plan. It's not that I gave up writing and music. I played every day. I wrote every day. No, it wasn't.
I had become a perfect college graduate. All I wanted was a job in my field. Writing and music? Simple hobbies! Who could make a living out of such things? (Especially a life that could pay off the generous debts I had accumulated during my college years).
I found a comfortable job and sent an application to do even more studies.
Somewhere in between, I met a wonderful man with whom I could sit in comfortable silences and passionately debate philosophy until the wee hours of the morning. Needless to say I was in love.
I will never forget what he said to me as I gave him some details about my college application process.
"Is that really what you want to do?" he asked me.
" Want to? »
It was a strange kind of word, the kind of word we forget after years in formal education.
“Yeah, I will,” he continued. "I don't see you as the type to wake up at 8:30 a.m., get in your car, sit in traffic, work 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., go home. I can't see you doing this. You have so much potential. You have so much life.
It was like he was talking to that part of me that had been trying to quietly protest since the moment I entered college, a part of me that was shy, terribly insecure, and unwilling to raise my voice. This part of me was just waiting for validation.
“Well, I said, I always wanted to write a book. I've always wanted to inspire people. I want to share my music with people. I want to change the world. »
“I believe that,” he replied.
We were on the phone, but I knew he was smiling.
It was a long journey from there. It's been a long journey from my first little WordPress blog to my first book. It's been a long journey between calling what I loved "hobby" and quitting my job to do them full time. It was an even longer journey from the girl who just wanted to feel safe to the woman who sacrifices everyday comfort for the exhilaration of a passionate and purposeful life.
Throughout this process, there have been so many obstacles. Looking back now, I realize there was only
(and always will be only) one real obstacle – fear.
Fear tells lies. These lies keep people in jobs they hate or, at best, jobs they don't care about. Jobs that feel safe, even though they are so dangerous, because if you trade your hours for money, life fades.
It was like I needed someone to give me permission to do what I loved.
I wrote two books before I met my partner and I never showed them to anyone. I kept them on my computer, my head spinning with daydreams of someone hacking into my computer, and as they terrorized my hard drive, discovered the books, cried, and published them for me.
I just wanted someone to tell me I was good enough, but I never shared my work with people.
Even when I shared it, there was a strange emptiness. People around me gave me permission to jump in the face of whatever I wanted and yet I felt insecure.
It wasn't that I needed others to tell me I was good enough. I didn't need validation. I didn't really need permission. I didn't need the economy to change for my businesses to be profitable. I didn't need any new skills or blueprints (not yet, anyway).
What I needed was to give me permission.
The difference between someone living their dream life and someone pushing miserably through their eternal Plan B is not skill, talent, practice, or circumstances.
If you look through history at some of the most successful people, you'll find that they had every chance of pitting them against each other. Steve Jobs dropped out of school. Einstein was thought to be mentally handicapped by his parents and teachers; then he was expelled from school. Oprah was fired from her job as a journalist because she was "unfit for television".
These people did not have special documents which we did not receive, but there is a precious and gigantic difference between them and all the others.
Those who live their dreams give themselves permission to believe, to try and to persevere until they get to where they want to go.
Plan A and Plan B – both are an uphill battle. You just need to decide what kind of hill you want to climb. Will you climb the hill where you enjoy every step, not knowing what's at the very top? Not even sure you're fully catching up? Or will you climb the hill where every step is terrible torture, facilitated simply by your hallucinations of what you "know" lies at the top?
If you told me I was going to die in a week, I wouldn't change a thing. I can't imagine living a different life than I live now. Sometimes when I think about it, I'm twisted to wonder what would have happened to some of the people who found hope in my work, who said I helped them realize they "weren't alone" .
I wonder how many people live half a life because you're not there to inspire them, just being yourself. I wonder how different the world could be if we all went into our passions and lived authentic, purposeful, and meaningful lives.
I have never met a person who was not powerful. I've never met anyone who wasn't absolutely in control of something (usually something they think no one cares about or they "can't" make money doing). I have never met a person who did not have a dream.
You have all the tools you need.
You have as much time, passion and skill as any successful person.
All that's missing is that tiny bit of permission—from your logic to your heart—that will allow you to walk through the gates of fear, burn through your plan B, and dare to be yourself.
Photo credit :Greg Turner