Here's a fun little game: Stand on the corner of a street in Toronto, preferably without a clipboard and stop 100 strangers to ask a single question, "What is your passion?"
Empirically, I'm guessing eight out of 10 will be able to answer your question. Of that group, less than 5 per cent will be actively working toward their bliss.
We are a society who enjoys our comforts, living on a flat trajectory of cost of living increases and certainty. Somewhere along the line many of us stopped dreaming and pivoted to filling our brains with weekend countdowns, effectively rushing along our lives when all we have to work with is time.
Three years ago, I loved the weekend countdown. Today, I rarely do it.
That doesn't mean I don't understand its appeal. Frankly speaking, pursuing your dreams can be pretty brutal. I've spent the past five years doing it not once but three times with our cardboard design firm, Our Paper Life, my Toronto PR Agency Grey Smoke Media and in September with our Social Commerce Platform, Framestr.com.
Here's what I've learned:
1) You're going to empathize with mental health patients- Going for it means experiencing the highest highs and lowest lows. Your days will be filled with serotonin rushes and the darkest doubts. After a year of suffering through the gauntlet, you will feel like you're indestructible.
2) Your bank account is going to go dry more than once- You will quickly experience the difference between good and bad debt. Good debt is when you are growing so fast you can't keep up with cash demands. This is what we refer to as "the best, worst case scenario." Bad debt is when you are nose diving straight down with no traction.
3) You'll feel incredibly alone- In a sea of nine to fivers, going for it is even tougher. No one will understand the frenetic pace, the insomnia, and the anxiety as the line between your personal and professional life fades away. It's a constant grind filled with self-doubt that will shake the most confident person to their very core.
4) Sales is absolutely everything- You will spend hours on your website colour, your logo, a social media headline but it will mean next to nothing. Everything will be cured with sales. Sales is the gas to your car speeding down the highway at breakneck speeds. It's the ultimate validation that you're even driving in the right direction
5) You will be happier- Your happiness will be there but it will pop up in ways you wouldn't have expected before. Sunday night pits in the stomach will begin to fade away or you'll be out on a date and light up when someone asks what you do for a living. These moments will start to become a daily occurrence and it will all be worthwhile.
6) Retrospect- If you make it, you'll never look back. You'll find ways to maintain your way of life forever. Your biggest fear will be reverting back to the status quo and it will fuel your ambition and confidence in incredible ways.
One year ago, I was on a plane ride home from Las Vegas alone when we hit a torrid lightning storm.
Between the turbulence and nearly filling my pants, thoughts of death crossed my mind.
There was a strange comfort in knowing I had started the journey towards the goal line. I hadn't spent my final days begging for time to speed up. It's this sort of solace that makes each day more purposeful.
You're capable of fulfilling your dreams before it all fades to black.
Slow down time and risk it all.
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