We all have that ‘thing’ that we have always wanted to do. You know what I am talking about. It is the I’ve always wanted to, but thing. The if I only could thing. The one day I’d love to thing.
When I left corporate law, everyone thought I was crazy. I had snagged a coveted, high paying job in New York City right out of law school, which wasn’t so easy for a wee ol’ Canadian from the left coast. It was supposed to be what everyone wanted. I was grateful for the opportunity and I loved it, but as soon as I had the chance to get out, I took it. My plan was to pursue a career in human rights, and all the money in the world wouldn’t have changed that. It was a no brainer for me, but nearly everyone told me I was insane – why would I give up my amazing corner apartment in Manhattan for a shipping container in an armed compound in Afghanistan? Why would I work from a tent in South Sudan on a salary that was just 20% of what I earned in New York? Even if it was what I eventually wanted to do, wouldn’t it be smarter to wait? Build up my savings? Gain some experience? Rethink my options?
Sure, there are always reasons to put off your dreams. Timing doesn’t feel right, you want to save more money, you don’t feel ready, blah blah blah… there is never a perfect time for anything. If you wait until there is, you might miss your chance. No doubt, everyone faces challenges and barriers, some more real than others. But you will never know what you can achieve until you try. Worst thing that can happen is you end up achieving something different, even if that is just a learning experience from not getting the specific thing you were originally striving for. Think about it: when was the last time you heard someone say “I wish I hadn’t left my desk job” or “I wish I had waited longer to follow my dreams”. Never. Right?
Our dreams don’t have to make sense. They don’t have to be reasonable. They just have to be worth pursuing in our own minds.
I recently gave a TEDx talk in Lausanne on this topic, which I wanted to share with you. Whether you’re a runner or not, it doesn’t really matter – there is a bit of crazy and impossible in all of us.
Any feedback welcome! These things are a bit terrifying to do on stage. Just glad they cut out the beginning part when the microphone fell down into my butt crack and I had to run off-stage to get it re-attached to my bra 🙂