Now, I didn’t have the worst gig that you could imagine. I wasn’t cleaning elephant poop at a zoo or anything of that nature. I actually had a pretty comfy office job. I was an HR assistant and some would argue that I made a decent amount of money for the tasks that I performed. My days were pretty routine: punch in, file, respond to emails, sit in a meeting discussing things that I had no interest in, daydream about being on stage somewhere, head to another meeting, provide tech support for some HR system, then head home for the evening. Exhilarating!
I’d been working in the field for six years, and although I had an awesome boss who did his best to work with my schedule and allow me the opportunity to do what I loved… it just wasn’t enough. I am a performer, a hip hop soul artist with a passion for music and a purpose to connect with and push people closer to their dreams. I didn’t want a work/life balance. I wanted to live a life that allowed me to do what I loved, when I wanted to do it. Not on lunch breaks, not on three day weekends and not with a required month’s notice. I wanted to be the captain of my own ship. I had a pull, a tugging on my heart, calling me to do something greater. But how?
I like living indoors. I like choosing what to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and let’s not forget snacks. I enjoy being able to go where I please, knowing that my bank account will support me in my endeavors. I don’t like uncertainty. The unknown kept me stagnant. But the pull wouldn’t let up, something kept telling me to leap. Now, outside of my 9-to-5, I had managed to build a relatively successful life doing what I love…part time. I had toured internationally seven or eight times, I had songs which featured legendary artists and I had built a name for myself in my industry. Aside from that, I managed to connect with awesome women who were also finding their way and who were committed to living their dreams. Between my own internal chatter, the proof that I was indeed capable of doing the things that I wanted to do and the influence of the “doers” in my circle, my call to action was becoming increasingly louder. It was time to start planning.
I started saving and seeking. I began putting money to the side and looking for opportunities to create revenue doing what I love. How could I use my gifts to bring money through the door? We live in a do-it-yourself society. Being an indie artist requires a lot of work and commitment, often times requiring you to be your own manager, PR rep, booking agent and more. I get exhausted at the thought of it and I surely wasn’t effectively handling these responsibilities and working a 9 to 5. Something had to give.
I knew that the time was coming for me to make a change. I started house shopping and found something in my budget. I ended up with a mortgage payment that was less than my monthly rent. I became a natural hairstylist. I’ve had locs for fifteen years, that paired with my artistic flair presented an opportunity to use my creativity to generate income on my schedule. I started taking steps toward my personal freedom while I was still working for someone else. I had a desire to leap, but I also had a desire to eat…and sleep indoors. This was the application of one of the oldest lessons in the book, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
I sought new opportunities. I went to networking events, I engaged in meaningful conversations, I simply showed up. At one networking event with my sister, Shelley, the super networker, we met a woman who worked at one of the local colleges. One conversation led to a meeting which ultimately led to me running a camp with the college, combining my musical abilities and my love for youth. I got the call during the week that I decided to quit my day job. Another lesson – when you truly go for it the universe will conspire to make your dreams come true. The lessons just kept coming.
Each day I commit to doing something, even if it’s just one thing, to get me closer to my goals. I want to travel more. I want new opportunities to do work that matters to me. I still send emails. I still have a system to follow. There are occasional meetings and lots of daydreaming. Is everything perfect? Surely not. Is it challenging and downright frustrating at times? Yes and yes! Am I growing and creating a life that I love? Most definitely. Following the call of your heart won’t be easy but it will surely be worth it. Once you realize that you have been purposed for something greater than your “now”, you will figure out the “how”, but only when you find the willingness within to leap!