Several years ago a friend who was an assistant principal asked me to make a presentation to his after-school groups at a local private school.
The groups were separated by interests, one being sports and the other computers. He thought that given my chosen occupation that my story might be of interest to both groups.
The kids ranged from 11-13 years of age so I initially thought that it could be a challenge maintaining their interest. To my surprise, they seemed to cling to every word and today, when I think back, I wonder why I haven’t visited with more kids like these.
As I prepared for the presentation, I thought long and hard about what to say. And then it dawned on me, why not share with them the same concept I regularly share with my children – “Do what you love, love what you do.”
What is now a personal mantra of mine is really the byproduct of a question my daughter innocently asked one day as a youngster. It was a beautiful Monday morning with a summer-like feel towards the end of a school year.
“Dad, why do we have to go to school?”
I suppose I was feeling a bit philosophical.
“Your education gives you options in life”, I replied.
“But when you finish your education, do something you love so much that you’d do it for free. Then you’ll never feel like you’ve worked a day in your life.”
I have no idea where that came from or why I would lay something so heavy on an 8-year old child. Perhaps the inner voice was directed at the man in the mirror.
Practically ignoring my inspirational nugget, Tori then asked if we could stop at Krispy Kreme on the way to school.
Nevertheless I’ve repeated this mantra to the kids repeatedly over the years and I thought the message would be good for the kids of my friend’s elementary school.
After an explanation of what I do and why I decided to follow my own advice, despite bills that suggested otherwise, the kids at that school bought in.
When I said, “Get your education…” they’d respond, “Because it gives you options!”
When I said, “Do what you love…” they’d respond, “Love what you do.”
What a rewarding experience it was.
Right about now you’re probably wondering what in the world this has to do with the Ravens, the NFL or sports, right?
Well, the truth be told I’m a bit of a mushball. At least that’s what my wife tells me.
I’ve watched my favorite movie Gladiator probably 35 times. Of those 35 times I was all misty at the end 33 times. The other two times I fell asleep. Emotion comes naturally given my heritage.
But really the point of bringing this up is that if you’ve read this far, you are a fan of the site or a fan of my blog (heaven help you) or both and just maybe the message here strikes a chord in your life.
I can tell you that I had a rewarding career in commercial finance for quite a while until like many industries, things changed that negatively affected my livelihood. I could have stayed, fought through it and hoped it would change (it never did…it only worsened) or I could try something new.
And that’s when the mantra reared its pretty little head again.
Could I practice what I preached to the kids?
Was it too late for me to take a hobby and a website that I started in 2003 and turn it into a business in 2005?
Today I enjoy a job that never feels like one. I work at this all of the time yet it never feels like work.
Please don’t think this is about me – it’s not. It’s about you or someone you know.
It really is possible to take a job you love so much that you’d do it for free. But if you can do it and figure out a way to make a living doing it, it can change your life in a dramatically positive way.
I’m living proof and I hope one day you or someone you love can experience a journey that takes you or them to places you never thought were possible. Before you agree to assume the debt and the bills give it a try.
Do something you love so much you would do it for free.