In late 2011, one of my best friends invited me to join a business. It was a start up based on a successful worldwide retail company that was turning direct marketing, and it was the very, very beginning. I had researched direct marketing before, the idea seemed simple enough and it came from one of my best friends… nevertheless at that point I wanted to focus on my art, so I said no thanks.
A few months later, my partner decided to go full on with this business, she invested $2,000 on a kit with all the product and she did a couple of demonstrations with little success. A few days later, she handed me one of their products to use for a skin condition I’ve had for a while and to my surprise it worked great. In a couple of days of using it I could see substantial difference so I got really excited and thought: “Well maybe I can make this work” (even though this didn’t excited me 10% of what art does). To not make the story long, I joined in and gave it full force. I decided to go to every weekly meeting, to do the presentations, even when all of this was waaaay out of my comfort zone. I went on a road trip to a convention, got all pumped up. It was a great experience but after 8 months or so I wasn’t advancing at the same pace as the people with which I had started and they were all changing as people. So I realized what I had to do: I had to change in order to succeed in this. The thing is that I didn’t like who I had to become in order to succeed in this. I saw it clearly, I had to become something I didn’t want to be. I had to become a leader of people by using their system.
I had no problem in becoming a leader, the problem was that I had to become a leader of people based on someone else’s rules, in someone else’s reality construct. It wasn’t a bad place, there were good people and everyone was trying to do their best and many other things that I value. The problem was that I realized that being a leader meant complete commitment, complete surrender to the cause …it had to become mine first.
I realized that if you’re going to lead people, you have to believe with all your being in what you’re doing, you have to know that what you’re doing is the best for everyone and I didn’t know that. The truth is that I didn’t really believe in this thing and that’s when it hit me: “I’m not going to succeed in this. I know what I want and it’s not this”, this is when I knew I had to leave. I had to make my own way.
When I realized this, I was scared, because I had talked to so many people about this. I had told them that this was it, this was the game changer… what would they think of me?, who would I be if I don’t have this dream of freedom that I share with these people and these people that support me?… but I stuck to my guns because I knew in my heart that a new door would open… and it did, and not only one, but many! and here is the most important part of this whole experience, it’s something that I’m immensely grateful for:
Because of this experience, I realized that the good life, the one we all want, with all those nice things and experiences, meeting great people and everything… it can only happen when we are truly devoted to living.
When we don’t just get up to make money to pay the bills, but when we are willing to live, to fully live life, and I’m not talking about sacrifice and all of that crap, because that is crap too: motivation, sacrifice, pain, struggle all of that is crap, they’re all illusions. What I’m talking about is the life that YOU want to live, your life, the real life… like when you see a child experience a ladybug for the first time, she takes her time, there’s no hurry, there isn’t anything else in the world at that moment, there is just the ladybug. It is us who rush her to move at our pace because we’re in a hurry to get there. When we don’t understand life, we use others and trample them under our feet in our hurry because we want to get there fast, fast, fast… but it’s all an illusion.
This experience taught me that there is no one more qualified to lead my life than me. People will come and tell you they know the way and they will swear by it but if at some point you feel something’s off, listen to your intuition, this is your truth, this is your way. Now, I’m not saying that it’s not Ok to follow those with more expertise than you. If you’re in the jungle, you do want a guide but always listen carefully, and only follow those aspects that resonate with you. I believe that we’re all leaders and followers at different times in different subjects and we all have and seek different answers, so we exchange information. This is healthy.
“…the most important thing I learned: is that I already knew what I wanted, what I didn’t know is what commitment means.”
During my experience with this business I learned so much about so many things, but the most important thing I learned is that I already knew what I wanted, what I didn’t know is what commitment means. I had to decide that I really was going to go for it the whole way. It took deciding to go for something else the whole way and halfway realizing that I didn’t really want that. I took a taste of the real life and I loved it, only I was living someone else’s real life… not mine.
This for me was huge! This experience helped me to see that I can actually have my cake and eat it too. That I can have the life I want, all I have to do is decide that it’s happening and then travel the whole road while figuring out all the bumps and growing the whole way, only that now I’m doing it in my life, for my dream, not for someone else’s.
So really what I’m talking about here is that even though we are living, many of us have not committed to life. But what is this commitment? …It is to take responsibility for our own dreams. I’ve heard it so many times: “but what If I don’t know what I want!”. The truth is that to say that you don’t’ know what you want, is really saying that you don’t want to take responsibility for your own dreams.
You do know what you want, you know what brings you joy, what makes sense, those moments when life makes sense. You might not know how to turn those moments into endeavors that make you money or that work with your life, family, values, time…etc, or you might not have the confidence to believe that it can happen for you, but all of those are the pieces of the puzzle, the bumps on the road, the treasures that you discover once you embark on the journey…
If you’re considering giving your true dreams a new shot, I want to share with you two little quotes that have made the world of difference in my life:
“The money isn’t the means to the happy life, the happy life is the means to the money.” -Abraham-Hicks
“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” -Goethe
It might take you 20, 40, 60 years of slaving for a system that has never felt right to wake up and realize that all the while, what you really wanted to do, was to sail the Mediterranean sea and write poetry. The truth is that it is impossible to fail if you take the time equation out of the picture… if your true goal is just to fully experience that ladybug…