On January 1, 2005, I decided it was time for me to stop waiting for my ship to come in and finally start pursuing my dream life of being an author and a speaker. It has been a journey filled with nonstop surprise and discovery.
In Walden, Thoreau said “if you advance boldly in the direction of your dreams, you will meet with success on expect in the common hours.” How very true this is.
I guess the biggest discovery right off the bat is just how large the universe is. I tried to get a literary agent and failed, but it turns out that this was not an insurmountable wall. I took a big chance and published my books myself, sold thousands of copies, and ended up with most of the money. Before it happened I would have said “impossible.”
As for the speaking, I had no idea how to start on that either. So I called up a well-connected guy I knew and said I wanted to be a professional speaker, and he put me on hold. 50 seconds later he came back and said, “you’re speaking to the Woburn Rotary club tomorrow at 12 o’clock.” It happened, or least it commenced, that quickly.
Once I printed my first book, I was scratching my head wondering how to promote it, and a month later I was invited to appear on CBS radio coast to coast. I was on for two hours.
I was quick out of the starting gate, but staying with it for the long haul has proven to be more of a struggle. A friend of mine said this kind of life is financially “lumpy.” You’ll have one month where you make a ton of money, then you have three months where you make absolutely nothing. Not for the faint of heart.
This nonstop uncertainty, as well as cognizance of the virtually infinite opportunity, alters one’s sense of time and space. I confess to you, I often forget what month it is, and I’m often surprised by store decorations for a given holiday. “What? It’s Halloween already?” I’m running on an internal clock instead of the common external one.
The hardest part is perhaps the time in between the lumps of cash, wondering when the next lump will occur. While this is probably the worst part of it, in some ways, it is also the best.
Working at a job that is fairly regular and not so intense, it’s very easy to start avoiding fear instead of facing it. When you chase a highest dream, you become very cognizant of the fact that you want that one thing more than all the other things that are constantly being offered to distract you. In fact I think this is one of the great sadnesses of life that so many people settle for a whole bunch of second best dreams as opposed to the number one dream. Maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Going for the number one dream is hard. It’s not just the competitiveness, it’s dealing with all the internal strife and fear and doubt, and having to face it all alone, no matter how much support you have.
But for whatever negatives I can list about this current path I am on, there is no question that the intense pressure has squeezed out a multitude of fear-laden impurities, and given me freedom of spirit that I could not have ever imagined previously.
© Justin Locke