I had an interesting discussion with a friend recently who feels like his One Big Thing is to be a writer. The problem is, he’s not making much (if any) money at it, but he wants to dedicate full time to the pursuit. Granted, he’s working hard at it, but his wife is getting understandably frustrated because she’s carrying the load of a full-time job and raising the kids while he pursues his dream of being a professional writer. How about you? Have you been in a similar situation? In my book One Big Thing: Discovering What You Were Born to Do, I outline a much deeper strategy for making the transition to getting paid for your dream job, but in the meantime, let me give you a couple of options to start:
1) Adjust your life to match the current status of your dream. In other words, live at a financial level that allows you full-time pursuit of your dream job. That probably means some serious cutbacks. I have a friend who is a professional actor. That’s a tough career, but he’s adjusted his life so he can pursue the dream full time right now. That means he’s not married (yet), lives in a tiny apartment, has a beat up car, uses an old cell phone, and generally keeps his expenses very low. He lives a modest life, but guess what? He’s a professional actor. He doesn’t have to work at Starbucks, goes to auditions nearly every day, and has focused his life toward his career. He’s a great guy, and very happy, but he’s made the sacrifices necessary to pursue his dream without being a burden on anyone else.
2) Adjust your dream to match the current status of your life. In other words, work around your current job, marriage, or other commitments, even if it means pursuing your dream part time. I wrote my first two books while working a full-time job and raising a family. I came into the office two hours early everyday so I could write without being disturbed. That way I could work all day, then focus evenings on my family. But without fail, I made the commitment to get up early and write. Today, I’ve continued that schedule. My writing and speaking career takes a backseat to my job – running our media production and consulting company Cooke Pictures. So I still write in the morning; and even on Saturday when most people are sleeping in, you’ll usually find me in my office on the computer.
I think the key is desire. How much do you really want it? Enough to cut back your expenses to a level where you can pursue your real gifts, or change your schedule so you can pursue it in spite of your current responsibilities?
Either way is tough, but the great news is, you don’t have to be a burden on anyone else. Hopefully your spouse, family members, or friends will encourage you, but you don’t have to become a burden to them. You really can do this on your own.
Now, go make it happen.