• 7
  • comments
Post Image

“You decided to do what?!” he asked incredulously.

I had just signed up for a “walking with wolves” experience. When my husband started quizzing me on the details (Are they in cages? Do you actually touch them?), I realized I didn’t know much more than the vague information on the hotel lobby flyer. Even the directions were hazy:

Travel into the village. After passing a couple of houses take a left turn into a small lane marked by a no through road sign and a red post box. Look for a barn on the right hand side of the road next to a Cherry Tree set into a small grass island. Turn right at the Cherry Tree and drive down the track to the very end.

This was England, however, where houses often have names instead of numbers and directions lean towards the archaic. “I’m sure this is going be great,” I reassured my friend as we bumped along the dirt track.

But I was nervous.

  • 18
  • comments
Post Image

I’m not as successful as you think I am.

I am, however, as successful as I need to be.

That feels wonderful to say because few things are as exhausting as trying to maintain a facade about your life and what happens inside it. Likewise, few things are as satisfying as knowing you have and are enough.

A while back, a reader took me to task because she realized from one of my posts that my business is not the primary source of income for my family. Here’s what she said (edited for privacy):

I have been reading your advice about leaving well-paying jobs for work you love [for a long time] and was seriously considering jumping ship to “make my dreams come true.” I used you as my career-changing role model, believing in all you wrote and assuming you were now making enough money to support yourself (and anyone else who was part of your life).

What I see now is that you are relying on your spouse for income. This is a HUGE caveat that I don’t see mentioned anywhere else on your blog. Perhaps you don’t think it’s relevant to your message — but I’m wondering how many other readers might be assuming what I did and falsely reassuring themselves about their own futures?!?

I don’t take offense to these questions. I know how important it is to have a sense of hope that what you want to do is possible.

Unfortunately, no role model can really provide that for you.

That doesn’t mean role models aren’t useful. Knowing that other smart, talented people are making big changes in their lives and coming out okay should be a big relief. It’s a good indicator that if you’re reasonably smart and plucky, you’ll figure things out too. That’s what I call hope!

There’s a huge difference between “career change is possible” and “this idea I have for a new life is feasible.” Too many people try to mimic someone else’s success (probably because that’s exactly what a lot of people advise you to do).

The goal is not to replicate someone’s exact strategy, but to understand the parameters and trade-offs you have to work with.

Here are 3 questions you can use to drill down on someone else’s experience in order to evaluate the feasibility of your own dreams.

  • 19
  • comments
Post Image

Editor’s note: guest post by Leanne Regalla

Do you ever feel like you’re selling your creative soul for a measly paycheck in a “safe” job?

Maybe you never finished writing your book because you just knew you couldn’t pay the bills with it. Or you set aside playing that instrument when it came time to start really making a living. You think you could have gone farther with your photography, but you know that you’d just end up investing way more money on the equipment than you’d ever make from it.

Most of us have a story like this.

After all, art is a lot of work. It requires putting yourself out there and being open to criticism. Why go through all that hassle when (conventional wisdom says) artists are always poor and struggling?

My Unexpected Quest

I thought the same things many years ago, when I started learning music as an adult. I knew in my gut my job wasn’t the best fit, but it was pretty good and I thought it was too late to change careers. I immersed myself in music simply because I loved it. Honestly, I didn’t expect any returns at all and certainly not financial ones.

I’m happy to say I was pleasantly surprised.