How many times in your life have you thought about pursuing something and then within seconds, you immediately discounted the idea?
As example, I’ve heard this a number of times in various interactions with people.
“It would have been so cool to be a (blank) but I chose this career path instead so its too late.”
This is high level paraphrasing but you can see what I’m saying.
The idea of doing something so foreign or outside of your current reality doesn’t even exist as a possibility. Of course this isn’t the truth… it is just an opinion or an excuse.
I remember a month or 2 before graduating university, I still had no clue what type of job I would go for after graduation. I had a long lost dream of becoming a sports broadcaster, but I never really pursued the idea.
For fun, I tracked down the email address of my favorite broadcaster at the time, Chuck Swirsky, who was the play by play personality for the Toronto Raptors. I sent him an email asking what it takes to get to his level. Surprisingly, I actually got a reply (what a cool guy) and he was brutally honest. He basically said to pursue an undergrad degree in some form of media or journalism and then plan to spend at least a decade working long, hard, crazy hours for any radio or TV station that would take you on.
His reply sealed the deal for me. I was just about to wrap up an undergrad degree in computer science so his suggestion was clearly something I could not take on.
At least that was my assumption.
But the truth is, I could have totally pursued it. It may not have been a popular decision among family/friends and it may have made me look like a bit of a flake… but I COULD had gone for it.
Thinking back, what really surprises me is how quickly I discarded the idea. Instead of taking time to realize that pursuing this sports broadcasting path was indeed a possibility (albeit a long, tough road), I used the feedback to seal my fate as a “computer science” guy and ultimately shut down the idea of doing anything outside of what my degree had prepared me for.
In hindsight, I’m happy I stayed on my path because things have worked out nicely for me between my early years in the corporate world and now being a full time entrepreneur.
But thinking back to that moment also makes me realize that there are a number of powerful forces that control the decisions we make in our life.
In this example, my decision to stay on track and pursue a computer career was fueled mainly by thought patterns like:
- You need to be realistic
- You chose this “computer” path, you should see it through to completion
- If you change now, the last 3 years were a waste
- If you change your mind now, what will everyone think/say?
These thoughts… and the corresponding emotions that followed completely clouded the fact that I really WANTED to get into sports broadcasting and that there was an internal passion there (and had been there for years).
The decision to stay the course and get a career in the computer/software world was the first of many decisions I made that I consider “practical”, “realistic” and “responsible” (at least in the eyes and opinions of others).
I got really good at ignoring ideas that came from my heart and choosing the more practical, realistic path.
Years later, when I haphazardly walked away from my corporate career to pursue my own business with almost no plan and no experience, it was almost like that “inner sports broadcaster” was being let out to run the show.
I now listen to my inner calling all of the time and while it doesn’t always run the show (there IS a place for practical, realistic thinking), it has a much louder, clearer voice and I find myself constantly involved in projects and actions that make me happy and make me feel alive.
How well are you paying attention to your inner calling or that inner voice who knows what you TRULY want?