Thursday, August 1, 2013

'Possible' doesn't mean 'easy'

My dad sent me the link to Mr. MoneyMustache's genius money saving/making blog after a discussion about budgeting. Mr. MoneyMustache is a man after my own heart. He, like many bloggers I follow, admire and aspire to emulate, has a solid head on his shoulders and an ambitious outlook. He embraces the fact that life really truly is what you make it.

Recently he posted the first part of what will probably prove to be a very long series of blogs of the top 50 jobs you can get/make for yourself that will pay $50,000+. He had a lot of praise and back-up to what he put out there but he also had a lot of outrage. A lot of people saying he was a fool who had no idea what he was talking about and that many of his suggestions were fanciful or ridiculous.

People are complex creatures so there are many, many reasons for this sort of reaction.

A) A lot of people find it easier to tear someone down than to build themselves up. 

B) Some people interpreted what he posted as 'easy' ways to make money - despite the fact that he made no such utterance. 

C) Envy is a strange beast that, when let run wild, will reduce people to name calling because they don't recognise it as telling them to do their own work to finally do something different with their lives instead of just letting life happen to them all the time. 

Now, I'm not claiming to be an expert and all of this is based on my personal experience of the world so I am aware that my view is narrow and limited to me and me alone. People are like snowflakes. No two are alike. If that's a true thing about snowflakes, which I doubt.

I digress. 

Last year I was working on setting myself up as a life coach. Why? Because I wanted to have a successful, well-paid career doing something I actually love and care about. I was working as an administrator for a charity at the time and though I'm wickedly good at organising things, filling in databases, and sorting post - I don't enjoy it. I garner no satisfaction outside of the general sense of smugness that comes from making something work effectively.

It does not sustain me and so I began looking for something that does. The first thing I touched upon was life coaching. This was because I love helping people.

I love when I have a conversation with someone and afterwards they tell me:

"Because of you I have started painting again" 
"Because of you I've decided to move to another country and finally do all the travelling I didn't do when I was younger because I felt pressured into getting a degree I didn't want" 
"Because of you I have decided to start-up my own small business on the side and even if it doesn't go anywhere at least I can try and find out instead of wondering all the time." 

The problem with trying to 'sell' this skill was that I loved giving it away for free. I loved giving it away so much that I found myself stifled when I couldn't and wouldn't on the principle that I was 'trying to make a living'. There are a lot of life coaches out there and they make shedloads of money and have incredible careers of which I am envious. They all have a niche and their niche makes them saleable.

If I were to pick a niche my niche would be artists. Creative polymaths like myself. Writers, musicians, painters, sculptors, designers - trapped in retail or administration or something similar that does nothing to feed their creative soul.

The problem with this niche is that Creative polymaths don't recognise that's what they are and if you don't know what you are how can you seek someone to coach you in being that person? Well, you can't.

So I went back to the drawing board and thankfully, because of an incredible manager who knew exactly what being a manager is all about, I had all these design programmes on my computer and had been dabbling in design for months. And I love my artwork and I'm totally comfortable with selling it (Although I do sometimes like to give it away) and it's definitely something I'm well-suited to as a professional because I get great satisfaction in creating something with someone in mind, rather than creating what I'd like to make. Or rather, I like making the ideas of others a reality.

So six months ago I made a career switch. I quit a job and gave up all the security that comes with that to step off into the abyss and try my hand at freelance design. Within a month I had landed a steady three day a week, six month long contract as an in-house designer. And voila - I no longer dread being asked what I do for a living.

And here's the thing. One of my co-workers where I have this contract said, "I'd love to do what you're doing but you have to train for that."

"No," I said, giving her some totally free life coaching, "You don't. I'm totally self-taught. I use online courses through and I fund all my supplies myself. I wanted to be a designer so I made it happen."

Me doing an abseil earlier this year. Because I can. 
It's not been easy. It still isn't. I'm starting out in an extremely competitive market. I'm starting out in a world that, despite the possibility to make a career without a degree, still puts immense value on post-secondary qualifications regardless of whether they're even relevant to the role. I know there is a lot of work ahead of me and that it will be slow-going at times and there will be hurdles and growing-pains and so on.

But the point is, life is for living and living is the journey because the destination is death. Death is inevitable but when it's gonna happen is the unknown factor. Knowing that I could be dead tomorrow I simply ask myself what matters the most right here and right now.

Which is why I self-published and why I quit a job without having another one lined up and why I invest in a membership and make a point of completing two to four courses a month and why I've got the Creative Cloud and will switch to whatever might be the industry standard in the future to ensure I'm keeping up.

Anything is possible and it's true that there are an abundance of jobs out there that don't require four or even just two years of schooling for. There are jobs out there that don't require any schooling what-so-ever. But that doesn't mean getting them isn't going to be difficult. Not needing a degree to do something doesn't mean it will be 'easy'. If anything the work you have to put in is going to be that much more because you have to really prove your capabilities. You have to fight extra hard to do something for the love of it. 

But it's worth it. It is. Because at the end of the day I am able to say I am a published author and a graphic designer. I am an artist who paints, sculpts and makes costumes. I am an animator.

Which is saying, "I do not limit myself" 

Don't limit yourself and don't let anyone else limit you either. Be your own best friend. If you want it you will make it happen. 
Cheesy representation:
The Sky's the Limit! 

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