I gave up my dream, but I am not a quitter! What was the dream? Did I want to be on Broadway or become a movie actor? No, performing on stage or playing someone else is just too scary! Besides, I am not that creative or skilled to be good at it. You have to want it more than life and willing to work at anything until you make it. Besides constant rejection is not appealing to me! So what changed?
Everything and nothing! College and business school raise your goals. I remember creating an organization chart when I was in my twenties with five (5) divisions. I think in those days, we called this organization a conglomerate. Each division had separate goals, products or services and its own business plan. Was I just setting a strategy or really setting goals? Did I have the experience and knowledge to make these goals a reality?
Goals are not enough
Simply setting goals and creating a plan to achieve them is sometimes not enough. You need knowledge or the people who have the knowledge to help achieve the goals. Skills and knowledge are just as important as the vision to get you there. Steve Jobs had the marketing skills and vision, but he needed Steve Wozniak for the knowledge and technical skills. Few individuals have all the skills necessary to achieve all their dreams.
In school, you experiment or try things with little consequence. In real life, you can waste a lot of time looking for things that ignite your passion and never find them. As you get older, you realize that time is the most important commodity you have. So I wasted a lot of time looking for the things I thought I wanted. What did I do? I started looking in a different direction! I met an entrepreneur who changed my goals.
He owned an apartment building and I learned about income property. He taught me what I needed to know and I took to it like a duck to water. It had all the intrigue of a good mystery and I felt comfortable with it. I went to “school” and absorbed the information like a sponge. I found my passion! Was I ready for this opportunity? I don’t know, but I started to learn and became ready as fast as I could. Was I giving up on my dream or just changing course? I think it was my passion helping my dream.
As a much older person, I reflect on the changes in my life differently now. Knowledge and experience helped me recognize an opportunity, although I did not have the experience in that industry. I wasn’t going to let a little thing like experience stop me! I spent hours/days/weeks/months learning and loved it. It is that simple, you find something you love to do and you will be good at it. After all, I found my passion!
It sounds so easy, but I spent years looking for it! I looked everywhere from friends to family, but nothing seem to make sense. I read lots of biographies of famous successful people, but I wasn’t starting a billion dollar company. I wasn’t a builder so I would have to do it another way. I decided to find the people I needed and let them help me find what I wanted. It helps to ask really good questions!
Most important skill
Maybe that was my most important single skill! Asking good questions usually gets good answers. It is amazing how helpful everyone is when you ask questions. Lots of people contributed to my success by just being helpful. I talked to everyone from property owners to real estate agents. I interviewed many agents until I could find one I could work with. Read everything I could get my hands on and more. I found my passion and learned what I needed to succeed.
I always thought I knew what I wanted to do, except I lacked the specifics. Finding my passion was circuitous and I don’t think I was in control until I found it. Exploring the things I thought I wanted to do was as important as crossing off the things I didn’t. When the best opportunity presented itself I was ready to adapt. Although the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, you need to know the points first. Start early, so you don’t waste time. Did I give up my dream, or did I just change it?
Photo by: Melody Campbell