I’m beginning to learn that I need to trust myself more.
I need to remember a famous quote by Steve Jobs, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.” I’m learning that life wants to give us our bliss, but only if we believe in ourselves.
I know what my passion is, but life will always present you with obstacles and temptations. There have been times that I put my passion aside for more money, which ultimately led to me being unhappy and feeling empty.
I know, money is an important thing in life. But when did it become more important than being happy? When did the status quo become “Go to a job you hate for 40+ hours a week and find a sliver of time to do something you enjoy for a couple hours.”? At what point does it take for us to realize that our lives are precious, sometimes cut too short, that we’re willing to spend most of our lives being unhappy? Why is it crazy to believe that you can have both?
I’ve rolled the dice more than a few times in order to follow my passion. I’ve worked at start-ups. I’ve moved to new cities without visiting them. I’ve been called crazy yet smart. Immature yet brave. Extroverted yet quiet. Depressed yet optimistic. Confident yet self-conscious. A risk-taker yet cautious. They’re all true, yet none define me.
Rolling the dice has come with costs. Naturally there have been times that things didn’t work out. I’m 33 and have lost pretty much everything I’ve owned and have been on the brink of being homeless three times. I’ve had two cars repossessed. I’ve been through some dark, depressed episodes.
Yet, once I brush myself off and reflect, I cannot help but smile and laugh as I review what I’ve learned, the experience that I’ve gained, and the new tools I can now equip myself with.
Even with all the negatives, I have no regrets. I feel fulfillment in knowing that I at least tried.
I have no idea where life is taking me right now. I’ve joined SchoolStacks, a small startup with an amazing mission. Broadly speaking, we’re working to improve the education system by bridging the gap between K-12 schools and third-party systems to provide a more individualized, integrated education.
I stumbled upon this opportunity and I’m in love. I feel it in my bones, a passion that hasn’t been ignited in quite some time.
The journey to this moment has been arduous. Since April 2017 I’ve been unemployed and scraped through five months of unemployment by working with a few clients through my own business. Without finding much luck in Florida, I took up a friend’s offer and moved to Virginia. I picked up a job rather quickly, but immediately found myself unhappy with the position. I tried sticking it out, but was let go in a couple months as they could tell I wasn’t happy.
I didn’t even recognize myself at that point. I didn’t know when it would end and began believing it wouldn’t. I started to doubt myself.
Then one day I woke up, both physically and mentally, with the “Damn it AJ, let’s DO THIS!” attitude.
That’s when things changed in my favor. I thought I had trusted myself before. I thought I gave it my all before. Like in The Dark Knight Rises when Selina/Catwoman tells Batman, “You don’t owe these people any more. You’ve given them everything.” Batman replies, “Not everything. Not yet.” I realized that I truly haven’t given my life, my fight for following my passion, everything. Not yet. It’s easy to fool ourselves.
Today I look back and have connected the dots. The journey was life telling me to refocus on my passion and believe the rest will follow. The journey taught me more about perseverance, resilience, and my gut instincts. The journey has brought my passion back from the dark shadows.
It’s now that I’ve learned that when we know where our passion lies, make a firm commitment to our passion that will brook no compromise, put the full force of our energy behind our passion, and begin living into this passion that we’ll find that life opens to us. Life wants us to live our passion.
Find your passion. Take your journey. Trust yourself.