“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.”
— Helen Keller
“One always has to know when a stage comes to an end. If we insist on staying longer than the necessary time, we lose the happiness and the meaning of the other stages we have to go through. Closing cycles, shutting doors, ending chapters – whatever name we give it, what matters is to leave in the past the moments of life that have finished.”
— Paulo Coelho
When pursuing your dream, you are faced with many goodbyes. Some of these goodbyes are good, like bidding adieu to our limited perception of what we can achieve. Or to the naysayers who try to keep us from our pursuit. Other goodbyes are difficult, because it means letting go of who we once believed we would be.
I am good at saying HELLO. I am always looking for new experiences, etc. I like to start things, but oftentimes, I start too many things. At one point in my life, I was a document management associate, aspiring musician, songwriter, recording artist, aspiring actor, radio host, audio editor, graphic designer, and church admin, ALL AT THE SAME TIME! The trouble was I could see myself pursuing all of those things on any given day, and even more troubling, I wasn’t really successful in any one category. Sure, I could get things done, and to the average person, they seemed to be done well. But there came a time in my life when I realized that in order to do something I loved, and do it to the best of my ability, I would need to say goodbye to lesser pursuits.
The first thing on my list to be put to rest was my radio career. This was not an easy decision to make. I had spent $10,000 on schooling in order to one day “make it” in the radio industry. But after 7 years of spending 10-15 hours a week producing and hosting my own radio show, completely pro-bono mind you, I realized that this was not what I was created to do.
Let’s update my list:
(document management associate, aspiring musician, songwriter, recording artist, aspiring actor,
radio host, audio editor, and church admin)
The next thing on my list was my desire to be a rockstar. I had spent years writing, recording, and performing original music in the hopes of becoming a professional recording artist. But after spending 12.5 years working on my music, culminating in a 2.5 year endeavor to create my magnum opus, I realized that I did not have the passion for creating music that I once had. It was time to put those dreams away. I still sing and perform regularly, but it is now as a “cover” artist and I do it as a profession (to help put food on the table) and not as a passion.
(document management associate,
aspiring musician, songwriter, recording artist, aspiring actor, radio host, audio editor, and church admin)
During this time, the acting thing had always taken a backseat to other passions, since it seemed so impractical and unrealistic, but it continued to nag at me every time I saw a theater production or was able to participate in one. The trouble was I could no longer justify giving that much time to something that paid me nothing when I was putting in 40-50 hrs a week at a job I despised, even though I know God had provided it to me. (Please note: I know my attitude was incredibly poor which only furthered my disdain. God was gracious to provide for me even though I was completely ungrateful at the time.)
Now, there were certain things over the years that would come into my life that briefly brought me into the daylight and alleviated those negative emotions, such as a theater production, a vacation with my family, or the opportunity to help plant a church in my hometown. But I was always incorrectly viewing those individual things as my long-awaited salvation. So much so that once the novelty wore off, I was back feeling that same old way all over again.
As I have outlined many times before, I knew it was time for me to fight my way out of this depression and malaise that clouded my days. Something needed to be done and soon. For me, the solution came in the form of going to Real Estate school and going into business for myself and even then, I couldn’t have imagined how differently things would start to look once I got a clear head and a fresh perspective on things. For you, it may be something completely different. Whatever the solution may be, it always comes with a cost.
document management associate, ENTREPRENEUR (real estate professional), aspiring musician, songwriter, recording artist, aspiring actor, radio host, audio editor, and church admin)
I had already begun to realize that the things I had been chasing in order to bring ultimate fulfillment were not doing “their job,” and I now understand it is because they were not designed to fulfill me. The trouble was I was looking at my external circumstances when the problem was internal – The problem was with my mind and my heart. I was torn between too many passions. I was not being who I was created to be, but rather who I felt others expected me to be. Because I was dabbling in so many different areas, I couldn’t do the things I was created to do (shining a light on real needs, helping people find out what they were created to do, and performing in theater) without feeling guilty. It was almost as if being non-committal to any particular area was giving me a built-in excuse if I were to fail. It wasn’t until I began to admit to myself that certain roads were leading nowhere – that doors were closing – in order words, coming to terms with what I wasn’t going to be – that I could begin to focus wholeheartedly on what I was created to be.
One by one, I came to accept that there were certain things that I was halfheartedly pursuing that were keeping my eyes off of what I really wanted to do. And instead of mourning those “missed opportunities” or dwelling on the “what ifs,” I stopped allowing the closing doors to steal my attention from the open ones.
Even after having gotten into Real Estate, only then did I begin to understand my true calling. To encourage people to live authentically in a world full of phonies, and to live generously among a greedy and self-centered generation.
The cool thing is, accomplishing my calling looks different each day. I stopped pursuing radio as a career, but now I have a podcast that has regular subscribers, and I am using this tool as a platform for the #RealPersonRealNeeds message. I got into Real Estate to be my own boss, but now get to use my business as a platform to network within the community and help non-profit organizations meet real needs. And even though I just recently removed yet another hat, that of church administrator, and ultimately had to make the difficult decision to move my family to a different church, I am happy to report that this is not a time to mourn the loss of what could’ve been, but rather a time to enjoy the hunt for what can be.
With a clear focus, and priorities in order, I am ready to face my fears head-on, open new doors, be a better man-husband-father, and change the world. Sounds outlandish, right? Like I’m living in a dream world? GOOD. I wouldn’t settle for anything less.
Entrepreneur (real estate business owner, community organizer, podcast host). Performer (actor-singer).