My wife, Kayla, asked me this question before I made the choice to leave my previous career path to be a stay at home father and writer. She followed it up with having me list three things that are most important to me. Then we re-read all of the answers and said: “Let’s make that our reality.” We aren’t quite there yet, but after we painted a clear picture of what we wanted, we were both able to get on board to take the necessary steps to fulfill our dreams.
I worked a normal job for another year after having that conversation. Doing what you want with your life isn’t always quick and easy. Recently, I’ve seen a string of “motivational” videos of people in Hollywood who “visualized” their way to the top. I think if you are going to interview those people, you should also interview the people who don’t make it and end up living on Skid Row or working The Red Light District. Not everyone makes it, but that shouldn't stop you from trying. The difference between success and failure can sometimes be as simple as a hard work ethic.
Visualization is a helpful tool, but in my experience without putting your feet on the ground and moving forward nothing will happen. Wishful thinking alone will lead to a life full of disappointment. I've been staying up till 3:00 or 4:00 A.M. every night this week working on my book, because that's the only time Violet sleeps enough for me to work. Just the thought that I might possibly be able to do what I love for the rest of my life drives me to do whatever I can to make it happen. Sometimes dreams are hard. At my previous job, If you would have told me to write estimates while everyone else is asleep, I would have thrown a fit, but it stops feeling like work when you are doing what you truly want to do.
One of my biggest fears is that I’ll wake up one day, 60 years old, with a nice car and house, but wondering what I spent my life on. You only get one chance in life, and I think you should do what you want to even if it requires risk to get there.
(If you are 60 years old and having that realization, it's not too late for you either. You just have less time to accomplish the things you feel like you missed out on, so you have to be extra quick to act.)
Obviously, use wisdom and don’t quit your job tomorrow, unless God specifically tells you to do so. He gave us a brain for a reason. We can’t just listen to our heart all the time or we will end up being led around by whatever feeling we experience in the moment. Feelings are great for motivating us to act, but they won’t sustain change for the long haul. We can't just listen to our brains either, or we'll never have the drive to execute plans. Our hearts and souls have to both be poured into something for it to work.
When I first wrote down my dreams; being a writer wasn't even on the page. Now it's the first thing I would write down. Writing is a way of fulfilling all my passions at once. After searching my heart, I’ve found that I want to leave behind something more than just what my current life can give. Some of my favorite writers are dead guys. It’s amazing that they can impact people’s future revelations of God from the grave. I really want to create helpful tools that people can use even after I'm gone. It’s awesome to think that God allows us to partner with him in creating new tools for the Holy Spirit to use for teaching.
I am writing today, hoping that you will at least question your situation if you are grinding away at an 8-5 job that you hate.
God places desires in your heart for a reason. I wonder how many times when I've thought, “wow, that would be cool to do” it was actually inspiration from the Holy Spirit.
Obviously, not all desires are healthy, that’s why the Bible tells us to test the spirits. If you pray and realize that your dream is from God, then figure out how to make it happen.
This post was prompted by a conversation Kayla and I had with some people who were trying to make a life changing decision last week. We used similar questions to help them figure out what they really wanted to do. I thought other people might find this helpful as well.
Here is a list of questions to ask yourself:
1. If I could do one thing in life what would I do?
2. What three things mean the most to me?
3. What is one thing I would regret if I didn’t do in my lifetime?
4. Does my dream line up with the Bible? Is it self serving or is my motivation to serve others?
5.What is the first practical step that I can take to move forward?
After you answer these questions, review them with someone you trust and see how your current life lines up with your answers, If it doesn't, then make adjustments to your daily life in order to work your way toward doing what you really want to do with your life.
Let’s all snap out of the grind and take the red pill. (If you don’t know the reference, watch the Matrix.)
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