“You’re so lucky! I wish I could do what you do.”
I know these words are usually spoken in kindness and meant to be complimentary. And I am grateful that I hear them quite often. But in terms of what I think about them, here’s the back story of my reaction, to which any entrepreneur will be able to relate.
Patience is not one of my virtues, so waiting three decades for the opportunity to have a career has been excruciating. Not just a job as I’ve had lots of those, but a career I could truly be passionate about.
For those of you who don’t know him, Alex Colville is a famous Canadian artist. Ever seen that poster of a horse running down the track toward an oncoming train? That’s him. He is brilliant and his talent has brought him fame and fortune. He doesn’t need to paint anymore yet he does anyway. Why? Because it isn’t a job to him: it’s a passion. That’s the ticket! That’s what I truly want.
Admittedly, I’m a late bloomer. I had hoped it would be sooner that I would find my calling but as we all know, life gets in the way. So with the kids raised and on their own, it was time to disengage the autopilot and take the controls firmly in hand. There was no shortage of well-meaning friends telling me that I might be a touch too old especially since many of them were looking forward to retirement. Well, considering I intend to be around for another 40 or 50 years, why on earth would I retire? I’m certainly not tired and I haven’t yet left my legacy.
Here is a review the last five years. For the first three years, I worked part time and went to school full time in order to finally shake hands with my passion: the world of travel. Years four and five I slaved away at two jobs, seven days a week, so I could actually support myself in my chosen profession. Keep in mind that a 50-something’s energy levels tend to dissipate a whole lot faster than someone who is in their 20’s or 30’s.
I borrowed money to go to school, took every available on-line course, researched destinations, tours, hotels and suppliers, reached out to anyone who could help me get into the business, attended networking events, spent my own money to travel to trade shows, and read trade and travel magazines on the buses to and from work.
And now, TA-DA! Today’s the day! I’m a successful travel designer earning a good living working 12 hours a day at the career of my dreams. I travel to exotic places and meet some of the most interesting people in my world. But more importantly, I work for and love my new boss – me, myself and I.
So, am I lucky? Luck had nothing to do with it! Do you REALLY want to do what I do?
Now where did I put my THAT WAS EASY button?