At the dinner table the other the night, The Wife and I were discussing a big federal trial that had just wrapped up here in Detroit after five months. After having lived the jury experience for about a week a few years ago, she said, “I can’t even imagine having to sit on a jury for five months. Not only the trial itself, but how weird would it be to be away from your job for five months and then be expected to go back? I mean, who could just not work for five months.”
Without missing a beat or lifting her head up from her dinner, my lovely 13-year-old said, “Dad could. He doesn’t work now.”
Though she attempted to control a smile, The Wife quickly jumped to my “defense” explaining that “Daddy is a writer” and he’s “getting his new career started.”
“Well…yeah… but he doesn’t work… work….” she quickly volleyed back, her eyes never venturing north of her plate.
At that point I was half expecting her to drop the mic and strut off stage.
I’ll be honest, it stung for a minute. It’s been months since I went “all in” and, I’m blessed to say that I’m actually moving the needle a little. New opportunities are starting to materialize. I’m gaining real momentum in this venture. So, how could she think that I’m watching Soaps and eating bon bons all day?
I think there is this weird part of human nature where we feel guilty when we go against the grain. Even if it’s something as logical as following your passion, there’s a strange instinct to downplay it. We’re almost afraid to put our dream in someone else’s face. Like it’s some weird touchdown dance because we’re going for it and they’re not.
You bump into an old friend on the street who you haven’t seen in years. When the catching-up reaches the inevitable “what are you doing these days?” - how do you respond?
“Oh… you know…just trying the whole writing thing… no big deal.”
Maybe look at the ground… kick a little dirt.
Then, the weird part is, you’re actually hurt when you get back from the other person exactly what you put into it.
“Writing, huh? Hmmmm…well good luck with that.”
We convince ourselves that somehow “society” is against those of us who chase a dream. That the world thinks we’re crazy and they may just be right. That you should be almost embarrassed to want to do something that makes you happy. So we downplay it. We start to make excuses or try to play it off like it’s not a big deal. For some bizarre reason, we actually talk ourselves into feeling guilty or embarrassed about it.
That’s not passion… and that’s not right.
When you’ve found it. When you’ve found that thing that’s right, you’re going to want to tell everyone. You’re going to want to shout it. You’re going to want to tell everyone everything. And, more importantly, they’ll want to hear it.
They want to know that chasing a dream is an option.
They need to see that it’s not so crazy to go “all in”.
They want to see your passion so that they know that being passionate about something is real and worthwhile.
When we’re chasing our dreams, we often skip that very important step. Tell everyone! My daughter thinks that I don’t work. She doesn’t know what my dream looks like because I’m not sharing my passion with her. I’m not showing her how excited I am about this chapter in my life. I’m not using this opportunity to teach her that finding your voice should not be optional.
Don’t be afraid to tell the world…because they just might join you.