I remember the event like it was yesterday.
I had just worked my ass off, grinding away as a server in a high end restaurant in Los Angeles, California. I had been a member of the opening team of the restaurant. We had just surpassed our highest record in both sales and covers served in the restaurant.
It was a Saturday night.
I personally, had the pleasure of serving Joe Rogan, someone I look up to and admire. We had comp’d (paid for)the whole bill for him and his wife. He waved me over after his meal and said,
“Hey man, thanks a lot of serving me tonight. They’re not letting me pay. This is for you.”
He handed me two $100 bills and shook my hand.
I was on cloud nine.
After all the guests had left the restaurant, our General Manager bought everyone a round of beers. He was proud of us and told us so.
We all went home and retired to sleep.
When I woke up the next morning, my life had changed forever.
I woke up to a plethora of missed calls and texts. I had to read the text messages to myself in reverse order and slowly made up what all the hullabaloo was about.
The restaurant had caught fire and burned to the ground.
Everything that I had worked towards to in that moment, was gone in the blink of an eye. I had recently moved all the way across the country (Boston to Los Angeles) in search of a new start. I left a extremely nurturing community for a new land. I left a well paying and secure job for a new opportunity. I sacrificed so much to make it to this point and it was gone.
Through the turmoil I fell into a deep depression. I was drinking every night. Smoking cigarettes. I wasn’t eating. I was in a bad spot.
As time went on, I began to turn myself around. I remember the first day after the event, I bought a domain name and began to write about the experience.
I wrote in hopes that someone was listening and would help me get through it. Of course no one did- and no one to this day has seen the post.
But it fostered a deep down passion that I had been silencing for years- my love to write.
I have always loved to write. Whether it was for school, for a short story, or a poem. I didn’t matter.
When I had lost it all, overnight, I thought to myself, I don’t really have that much to lose. I also understood the fragility of all the things we hold dear and how that can disappear overnight.
I kept writing. I told myself that I was going to write something for the world to see, every. Damn. Day.
It didn’t matter to me much anymore. Through that decision, which I’ve stuck to for over a year now, I have amassed a viral viewership, a online business supported by my writing, a community of people who interact with me (and I with them) fostering a conversation of personal growth and transformation.
It has really changed my life and I have learned a handful of lessons that helped form finding my passion:
I learned that you don’t have that much time.
“You can fail at what you don’t want so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.” -Jim Carrey
Things can change in the blink of an eye. Fortunately, no one was hurt or killed in the accident.
However, the comfortable, guided life that I was living was changed in an instant. We as humans feel we have more time then we actually do. We don’t have that much time to work towards what we love. You might as well take the chance to try.
I learned that your passion is going to take an immense amount of hard work.
When you work towards something you love.
The beginning is going to be great. You may think to yourself that this is incredible- this feeling of working on a passion. As time goes on, however, you will plateau. You won’t make the same progress you did in the beginning.
This may cause you to falter. Don’t. You’re life depends on the work you’re doing. As time goes on, if you stick to it, you will grow in your experience and understanding of your passion.
I learned that following your passion will scare a lot of people.
Since working on my passion, I haven’t heard the end of the “you won’t be able to’s”and the “are you crazy’s?”
They aren’t few and far between.
You will hear those comments and questions from at least one different person a day. When you dig deep and listen to that voice in the back of that head, however, what is it telling you? You should probably listen. It isn’t ever going away.
I learned you’re going to have to make sacrifices in pursuit of your passion.
We’ve all heard about people illustrating the power of saying “no.”
This holds true if you are going to follow the pursuit of your passion. It makes you selfish in a good way. You are listening to the voice in your head over the voice of other people. When you stop listening to others, you path is revealed. Follow that path.
I learned you need to struggle in order to find fulfillment.
Maybe this is contingent on the individual. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. By definition, you cannot have good without bad. With that, I feel you cannot have fulfillment without struggle.
You cannot have found your passion without trying things that you’re un-passionate about. I used to think I wanted to act. I moved to LA and within 2 weeks I realized how much I hated the industry and it wasn’t for me.
I wouldn’t have realized that and went back to my roots of writing had it not been for uncovering that.
I learned talking about it alone means nothing.
Do you have the friend that always talks about what they’re going to do but never does anything about it?
Talk is cheap.
Sometimes it’s hard when you’re that friend. You don’t realize all the talking and planning you’re doing and none of the actual execution that is necessary for progression. Stop with the posting online, stop with the talking about it in conversation. Rather, put your head down, put in the hours and do the damn work.
Finding your passion may come easy for you. Finding your passion may be one of the toughest soul searching endeavors you’ve ever undertaken. Truth be told, I think the majority of people will not follow their passion.
They will use external measures to help “cover up” that unfulfilled void.
They might dwell in misery.
They might subject themselves to unhealthy relationships.
They might indulge in drugs and alcohol.
For the few that do listen to that voice, it’s going to be the most enlightening and powerful journey you can undertake. and to that, I say
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