Today marks a day like any other day; EXCEPT we're going to change it up a bit on the blog. Instead of going into the realm of work related content full of boisterous technical mumbo jumbo, the latest "buzz words" and educating you on the ever so hip happenings of the web industry as a whole; I'm going to ask you to watch a video. After the video I'm going to weave you a little tale about myself (as I am human, not a design bot) and ask you to think about yourself in return. Sound fair? Good!
After watching many of Gary Vaynerchuk's speeches over the years I have to tip my hat to him and share the one speech that changed my life forever.
Note: The video has a couple of choice words in it, so if you're a bit prudish or scared of someone overhearing it who shouldn't. Wait until you get home.
If you own a business, are starting a business, unhappy with your current job, or if you absolutely LOVE your employer and current position... I promise you that these fifteen minutes will cause you to laugh, and gather more inspiration than you can shake a stick at no matter what category you fall into.
Now let me tell you a little story about where I was at when I first watched this video. I was in a career, a full fledged career at the age of 22. I was the Production Manager & Carpenter at a lovely company named Greystokes International/The Wilderness Cabin Company, fresh out of school for Computer Systems Technology with a focus on Networking. Whoa, that makes no sense right? I know! I wanted to learn ALL THE THINGS! Actually...
Five years before this I swore I never wanted to do ANYTHING involving art or design for a living so I could keep that part of me passionate (and awake until 3am for weeks on end). You see, my entire teenage life was consumed by art (traditional and digital) for contests, scholarships, and of course classes. I poured my heart into it and surely it was rewarding as I won almost every single thing I submitted my work to, but it was draining. I knew that I would be hard pressed to find a way to actually enjoy life outside of my work if I kept it up.
With a heavy heart I made the toughest and apparently worst decision of my life to date... I decided to stop making art, and start focusing on "things that mattered" (to a 17 year old) like getting into a good school for a program that would allow me to actually have the skills I needed to land a job where I could bring home a fat paycheck and attract all the ladies. 'Cause we all know that's how it works, right? Hah!
Let's just say that plan did not turn out the way I expected. I couldn't decide what I wanted to do under all the pressure and fear induced by the dark guidance counsellors. They made it clear that whatever I did decide on pursuing for my education would be my own personal Nine to Five Hell for the next forty to fifty years of my life, and I would never do anything else... Ever. So I took the easy out and just joined the same program as my close friends, 'cause at least that way I wouldn't be alone in the personal hell. Problem solved.
Nope, more like an abundance of problems made. It took me the last eight years to realize this mind you... I came to the conclusion that I was following other peoples career choices because I didn't want to make my own. I had already been there and done that making my choice with art and design already, and I had also gave up when I should have moved forward.
Now back to what a poor decision the school choice was... I was not enjoying my courses, and deciding it was easier to just rush through all my certifications on my own. So I did just that, packed a suitcase, and moved across the country for a fresh start. I immediately got a job as a grunt at the aforementioned cabin company and worked my way up the ladder rapidly. It was literally a span of a month and a half that I made this decision, but I have hustle.
When the news came, the news that the great economic collapse had made our niche industry yet another victim as North American's stopped spending money on luxurious things like vacation homes with premium materials and that we would be going out of business because of it, well... Let's just say I let out a ululating wail that could be heard through the miles of mountains that surround our lovely place in the world.
"What the hell am I going to do now?" I thought.
With no other outlet to vent my oncoming depression I went home and watched that video of Gary V talking. It made me REALLY think deep and hard about what I was passionate about, and what I wanted to do with myself. Fortunately, it was rather easy to come to the conclusion that I was passionate about creating things. Big, small, digital, traditional... I had spent over a decade of my life creating non-stop and never found ANYTHING that could even come close to the amount of passion I had for the arts.
So what's a man to do? Well you idiotically go out as a newly unemployed person and spend a good chunk of your savings on new art supplies, a new MacBook, and the full set of Adobe software... And you hussle. You don't stop, and you don't take breaks.
I worked my proverbial toosh off for months upon months before I felt comfortable enough to apply for jobs in design. I learned the new ins and outs of my chosen software, spent weeks learning programming languages in case I ended up in the web industry (as Kelowna doesn't really have advertising agencies)... And I kept doing it. 12-17 hours a day I was working on my art, bettering myself for a job in the design industry, and learning everything I possibly could to set me apart.
Currently, a couple of years later, I have no regrets... And I still do exactly the same thing. I work, I constantly learn, and I constantly try to improve. There's no stopping...
So that seems a bit self absorbed, but really what I want you to do is take some inspiration from all of this. If you are unhappy with your current place in life, change it. Pursue your passions, rekindle them if they faded, but hustle... You have to work hard, but I guarantee you will get to where you want to be in time.
I would love to hear anything you have to say as well, so feel free to leave your comments, or if you want to have a personal discussion on the matter you can e-mail me at email@example.com and I would be happy to oblige.