Staring blankly at my computer screen as I sat at my desk, the prominent thought in my mind was “I can’t do this for thirty more years.”
I was working on Wall Street, a dream job for many. I made a “healthy” salary that afforded me a comfortable living in NYC. Some would say I should have been grateful, that I was crazy for walking away from the paycheck.
But that’s what I did. I left Wall Street because I no longer found it fulfilling. And at 34, I felt I had too much life left to continue to do what was expected of me day in and day out without passion. I needed to create. I needed to feel like I was doing something, not just making rich people richer.
Working in finance had been fantastic — it laid down the foundation that later helped me build something from scratch — and it’s a great career for many. But it had run its course for me. I took some time off and thought and prayed on what to do next.
Six years later, being the editor-in-chief of a website that seeks to empower women and further equality has brought me more joy and fulfillment than a paycheck ever has. I’ve devoted my days to empowering, equipping, and encouraging women to be the badasses they’re created to be.
I love my job. It’s rewarding. I found my passion and drive, and I hope this story makes you think about your own future as well or at least pushes you in that direction.
What’s your passion? What were you born to do?
You likely have recurring thoughts of a great idea that no one has implemented yet. Maybe it’s more than an idea. Maybe it’s a dream in your heart that you allow yourself to fantasize about every now and then. But dreaming is as far as you go. You might stop yourself from pursuing your idea or dream with this simple, immobilizing statement: “I can’t do that.”
You construct evidence to back it up: you don’t have the resources to pursue your dream. You don’t have the experience. You wouldn’t even know where to start. Your parents/friends/partner would discourage you if they knew. You don’t have the education. You’re too young. The list goes on…
I also had a list of why I couldn’t/shouldn’t take a leap of faith. But eventually, I realized I would rather try and fall flat on my face than look back, years later, and wonder if I had missed an opportunity that would never present itself again.
I’d like to appeal to you with the case for passion. Your passion is valuable. Your passion is intentional. Your passion is your calling.
The world needs YOU. We need the way you think, the way you process, the way you dream. We need your uniqueness, your outlook, and, most importantly, your passion.
To help stoke your fire, here’s some advice I wish I had along the way.
Each one of us needs to define what success is for ourselves
But you’ll only reach success when you marry your passion with action. Experience comes by doing, not by dreaming. So you have to do! Resources aren’t just handed out; they’re sought. So get to work! You can’t know for sure that you can’t do something until you try it. And when you try, try with all your might.
Your dream starts with one step
One single step. That first step may be research. It may be finding someone you consider more experienced and workshopping your idea with them. It may be just telling another person whom you trust to be supportive and honest about your dream. Be confident enough to take your dream step by step. Don’t worry about your destination just yet. As you start taking steps, the next one will make more sense and become more visible.
Don’t waste your time worrying about what hasn’t happened
I wasted too much time worrying about what could go wrong, about what I didn’t know, about failing, about succeeding. I now wish I had spent that time defining my passion and coming up with a game plan instead of playing it safe. I didn’t even dare make New York Minute Magazine what I truly wanted it to be until I was three and a half years in. I finally realized my calling is to help make our world better for women. Has it been hard? Absolutely!
Embrace a winding road
After all these years, I’m still learning and adjusting to new challenges. I’m still experimenting. I don’t know what’s next, but I’m ready for the ride. Along the way, I’ve had to assess what I value, what I want, and what I’m passionate about several times. That’s OK.
Don’t compare yourself to anyone else
Your story is your own. Others probably could have done what I did better, smarter, quicker, and more effectively. But I can’t get bogged down with comparison. I can only do my best with all my heart. I spend my days trying to empower people to fight the inequality in our world. I read about atrocities around the globe that stem from the ideology that women don’t deserve equality. Sometimes it’s daunting; sometimes it feels like we’ll never make a dent. But as year by year passes, my passion grows. That is my fuel. That is my fire.
Finally, I don’t know how old you are, but let me assure you, you aren’t supposed to have your entire life figured out. Look forward. Be hopeful for your future. Have a perpetual outlook of “The best is yet to come.”
What are you waiting for? Go get started!
More advice from successful entrepreneurs here:
- How This Entrepreneur Risked Everything to Rebuild Her Career From Scratch and Make Her Dreams Come True
- 7 Unlikely Lessons I’ve Learned from Former Monks Turned Entrepreneurs
- 5 Things Successful Entrepreneurs Don’t Like to Admit About Success
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