Some of our decisions have an enormous impact on our lives and our family’s lives and when new opportunities appear, or when we feel like it’s time to do something else, the gravity of these choices and ideas ultimately leads to two things: fear or faith.
I’ve worked in quite a few different industries and have met lots of different types of people: some are insanely driven, some are just happy where they are, but most are, in one way or another, discontent. It doesn’t matter if you work in software or in education, the same difficult question is asked of all:
‘Are you, in this exact moment, precisely where you’re meant to be, or are you working towards it’?
This is a powerful question. Can anyone actually be fully content in their life and work? Yes they can and they must.
Fear or Faith
Whenever you’re about to go through a transformation in your life, a new job, your first child, a new home, you will feel a certain level of discontent with where you are currently. You’ll experience a deep yearning for greater things and you ‘know’ you will have to take that step one day. When this happens the battle will be won by fear or faith. I think a lot of people aren’t particularly sensitive to this experience. They see so many others unhappy in their work that they genuinely believe that it’s normal to not enjoy your job to the point that it almost seems a bit cheeky to even think that they can be different: ‘what makes me so special that I should be happy’?
If you continue in fear to say where you are, to pass up on those opportunities or to put yourself out there you’ll feel it. You absolutely will know that you could be doing that thing you should be doing, but the longer you leave it the easier it is to stay put. Conversely if you put yourself on the line you’ll experience some rejection, you’ll become friendly with the unknown, but you’ll grow and you’ll grow exponentially. You stop caring about what others think about you, trust me they’ll have doubts for you about what you’re doing if you ask them for their approval, and you’ll start living the life you were meant to live.
When I was studying music, Piano was quite literally my life: I practiced hours and hours every day on top of my university studies and I could never get enough. Then I unfortunately injured my hand and was faced with a crisis: what do I do? How can I ever find something like this again? This harsh situation where a musician had to wander about like a vagabond in a world where most careers didn’t seem anywhere as exciting or creative at the time forced me to get out of my situation and seek another calling; something I could devote my life to.
Most people won’t find themselves in quite as dramatic circumstances as this, but if you don’t have something that makes you change in your life, and you haven’t tried other careers or jobs, how can you really ever know that you’re doing what you’re called to do?
I spent my 20s searching: I became a school teacher, became a photographer, started my own businesses, studied foreign languages and lots in between. It’s amazing what you can achieve when you’re hungry to find that beautiful struggle in your life. Then I found it. I was in a cafe, I was messing around with code, and I stumbled upon a simple problem. I read the code in front of me, as extremely simple as it was, but I realised it was doing something and it took me into a level of concentration I hadn’t experienced since working with music: ‘the zone’.
I had found a career which required a lifetime of commitment to learning at a level that was as intense as I could handle. I found something that allowed me to compose and create every day and something that could benefit others at the same time. I was converted on the spot and despite knowing very little I went on to change my career and life.
I knew what I wanted to do and where I wanted to be: I should have been grateful to have a web development job, but my absolute passion was mobile development and I would not stop until I got there.
If you’re not doing the exact thing that you know you should be doing and want to do, do not stop. Don’t stop until you’re there.
Would I have found my absolute calling if I didn’t experiment in lots of other fields and jobs? It’s hard to say, but what is for certain is that I would not be the man I am today if it wasn’t for all the tough decisions I had to make throughout the whole process. Decisions like: ‘I have a wife and children, I have a steady income but I know there’s something greater out there than this. Should I quit my job?’ Quit I did!
If I can say one thing to you today it’s not to live in fear, instead practice faith. Let’s be honest, all this positive talk doesn’t go down well in the UK, except when you just keep doing it anyway and people’s lives are literally changed! How can you start making these kinds of great decisions? Start small! Practice believing that you can do little things, do them and you’re faith will grow.
You want to start your own business? Great, start by building a brand, a website, call a recruiter and tell them your intentions. You’ll feel the threat of change and you’ll face it and the more you do this, your little steps of faith grow until you believe you can just about do anything. Others will mock you who are more qualified, they’ll maybe even tell you to ‘get back in line’, but if you persist they will eventually relent as they see you fly past.
The best part is you’ll face these decisions and because you’re not doing things, or nothing, based on fear, you’re family will benefit, you’ll benefit and others will benefit. Be generous with your faith and encourage others. There is so much anxiety and doubt around that someone who’s grow in belief can transform someone’s situation right there and then for the better.
I’ll finish with this old saying:
‘Whether you believe you can, or you can’t, you’re right’