A Letter to Jerry
A Letter to Jerry
The only way to take control of your life, raise your standard of living and move beyond merely surviving is to create your own unique product or service that you offer to increasing numbers of people in exchange for the things of value that you desire. This simple formula applies to countries as well as people. A self-sufficient economy has its own products or services of value to export to the world. Similarly, a self-sufficient individual has something of value to exchange in the global marketplace. That thing of value is based on your natural talent, skill, or interest—in other words, your passion!
A reader asks the most important question about turning passion into profit! And receives a special reply.
I purchased your book, Turn Your Passion Into Profit, as well as your Hip Hop Entrepreneur List. I have been in the U.S. Army for 16 active duty years. I have four to retire. I have been married for 12 of those years. With two young kids, I’ve stayed in the military for the obvious financial benefits, free medical and so on.
However, my true passion is putting rhythms and melodies together to form what will be my greatest contribution to life here on earth and in our spiritual existence: music. I remember clearly some 17 years ago. I and my mom lived in Jacksonville, FL, and she wanted to go back to our hometown of Dallas, TX. A friend who saw my talent before I did offered to let me sleep in this warehouse which had a recording studio in it. [I didn't take him up on it] Had I known what I know now-well you know the rest!
Now with four years left to retire, it wouldn’t matter if I had only six months, I’d step out [on my own] if it meant I could take one song after another and pay for my children’s dental care, or not have to be concerned about paying my mortgage or car payments. I feel like I’m losing 20 years of my life to the military for not following what should have been my true course in life. And only a few know exactly what I mean.
I’ve been building on my "passion’s profit" for 10 years. To my wife, after years of arguing and the financial struggles I’ve put us in, she finally sees my passion. (Truth is, she’s somewhat jealous because she wished she had as much passion for something as I do). You see, every time I spent money building on my passion, she [was the one who] managed to bail me/us out of debt. She works for a bank and is really good with money. I’ve always thought I would have her as a partner to help run the business but she gets lost in the music industry jargon and quickly gets disinterested and reminds me of how much money we’ve already lost, or in her mind, wasted.
She’s a good woman, an angel, and I owe her. She believes I should finish the four years in the military, and supports me working to some degree on my passion profit. If there were one spark of light to show her that I could make more if I did it full time, this wouldn’t be a problem. Does this mean that I’m not as passionate about my music as I should be?-Jerry
Your e-mail really touched me because in many ways, I can fully relate to the situation you’re in. While I consider myself fortunate to have walked away from corporate employment after seven years as a civil engineer, I sometimes wish that I had had the courage to leave six years and 364 days earlier! I've come to know, however, that everything happens in perfect order in my life, so I don’t sweat with regret.
Now, having said that, I’m going to share with you a few things that I tell my coaching clients and PassionProfit workshop participants. First, however, a disclaimer: Those individuals who are still unsure of the true value of their talents, and individuals who make decisions in life based on their perception of safety and security as the primary factor will consider what I’m about to say, foolhardy and unnecessarily risky.
1. FIRST of all: Whether your venture into turning your passion into profit is successful in the short term is not as important as your commitment to make it so in the long term. In other words, stumbling, missed shots, and "failure" are all part of the journey. So you’ve got to be willing to ride out the journey with all the ups and downs that will come.
As I often mention in my talks, I’ve had my lights turned off, phone service disconnected, and have been evicted twice in my journey from passion to profit. At no time, however, did I ever consider turning back. I know those people with children will say that my status as a single man makes such decisions easier. That may be true. But I also know the true story of one woman (profiled on Oprah, and whom I mention in my book) who risked it all, quit her job, and ended up in a homeless shelter until her determination and persistence was rewarded with a six-figure writing contract. How is this relevant? Well, she had FOUR children, AND a husband she was supporting who all ended up homeless along with her in the pursuit of mommy’s dream. Don’t let the reason for pursuing your passion (your kids’ welfare), be the very thing that stops you from doing it.
Remember, Jerry, that what determines your success is your decision to stick it out until you create the life of your dreams.
2. SECOND. "I die every day. A little piece at a time." That statement pretty much sums up how I felt every single day of that seven years I showed up at a job that I hated and that hated me. Four years is a long time to have something eat away at your soul, my friend. Yes, we all make sacrifices. But it won’t make your life any more satisfying, or your children more prepared for their own future to come home every day to see a father who submerges his dream out of fear of failing.
I believe that there is no security (pension, benefits) that a job can provide you that you can’t provide for yourself with the right level of commitment. It may not be easy, but it is possible. Your belief level in the previous statement is in direct proportion to your belief level in yourself and your ability to commit, follow through, and produce results.
There’s no such thing as “the future.” Only “the now.”
3. THIRD. Now comes the tough love part. :-) Jerry, I don’t know you personally. Nor can I ever really relate to your "married with children" reality. But, I believe that the Army’s free medical and benefits have made you soft. Let me put this in perspective for you. You’re telling me that you’re working now, unhappy with your choices and the day-to-day grind, and you still can’t find the motivation and guts to do what you really want to do with your life’s passion, and, as you yourself say: "What will be my greatest contribution to life here on earth and in our spiritual existence: Music."
When will this “great contribution” start? Are you suddenly going to get magically committed to your dream and make it happen four years from now when you won’t even have to work to make a pension? Four years from now, you’ll be more comfortable, Jerry, and you’ll even have a "back door fallback." In other words, you won’t HAVE TO make the music thing work, because the pension checks will be coming in regardless. I don’t see sufficient motivation there, my friend. (In my own experience, it was the fact that I put my back up against the wall-quitting my job with nothing saved and with no fallback option-that pushed me to do what I needed to do!) I’m a "bridge burner." That’s just my style.
Sure, you think you’ll have more time four years from now. But, you won’t ever get these next four back, Jerry. And “time,” in addition to not being the real issue here, is also the most important issue as well. Will the bitterness you may develop at having wasted 20 years of your life make you more creative and more passionate about life and your music? Will it somehow inspire you to do what you really want to do at this moment? Life is not lived in the future, my friend. Life is lived in the now.
So, I’m not saying you have to quit your job in order to find the motivation to succeed. But it’s possible you’re not motivated enough at present, for whatever reason.
4. FOURTH. You said, "I feel like I’m losing 20 years of my life to the military..." Does that mean you’ve already decided to make it 20? If so, then you really don’t want my advice, do you? If, on the other hand, you’re really ready to do something different, then consider the following suggestions:
a) Take a transformational course/workshop like the Landmark Forum (www.landmarkeducation.com) or a Tony Robbins weekend or purchase some motivational tapes and CDs to inject some new beliefs into your mind.
b)Talk to people who are doing what you want to do. I’ve heard it said that the simple secret to success is simply having someone tell you "you can do it!" Think about that. How would that make you feel if every day of your life, someone you loved and cared about said, "Go for it, Jerry! Life is short and I know people less talented than you who are living their dreams! I believe you can do it. You’re a winner! You’re a champion!"
c) Find a mentor, or support network. As you may have read in Passion, my mindshift occurred at a training session for the network marketing company I joined a few years ago. I’m no longer doing it actively, but had I not been surrounded by positive people urging me to be, do and have more, I may not have found the courage to do what I now do.
5. FIFTH, Jerry, here’s where I heard something very telling in your letter (which, by the way, is exceptionally well articulated). You said: "If there were one spark of light to show her that I could make more if I did it full time, this wouldn’t be a problem."
The challenge with buying into that statement is two-fold. First, the reason you can’t seem to find the sign you’re looking for to determine whether you should take the risk, is because you’re looking in the wrong place. Success has absolutely nothing to do with anything other than your commitment to make it happen! In other words, she’s not the one who needs convincing, Jerry. You are.
Second, you need to create the spark. Find the light of faith in your heart first. And then it will shine forth in your eyes as determination, and resonate in your voice as conviction, and come through in your tracks as platinum-selling music when you share your gift with the world.
The fact is, Jerry, you and you alone are your own guarantee that you can make it! This isn’t about anyone else but you, my friend. It never is.
FINALLY. So to answer your original question. I sense your passion is there. What’s needed is some definite action that brings it to life in a real way. That type of action may require a resurrected belief level and faith that can be aided by letting in some new thoughts.
I hope this helps you in some way. Here’s a final "life rhyme" thought
Got a Light?
No spark, no beam, no ray of light
that from the outside shines
Can find you when you’re lost
or on the wrong path seeking signs
What matters more for guidance
through the darkness of your doubt?
The light of faith and hope within
that shines to those without
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CNMI New Blogger Update:
Quite a few people have been jumping on the "blog your way to better times" bandwagon:
- Rep Cinta Kaipat (www.cnmiblog.com)
- CAMI-CNMI-The mental health care organization (cami-cnmi.blogspot.com)
- NMC’s marine biology class (www.nmcmarinebiology.blogspot.com)
- Garapan Elementary School (www.mallardpond.blogspot.com)
- Joan Taitano (www.annethedreamer.blogspot.com)
- Harry Blalock (www.kzmifoodforthought.blogspot.com)
- "Saipan Writer" (http://saipanwriter.blogspot.com/index.html
- Brad Ruszala (www.beachboyinparadise.blogspot.com/
- and Captain Carl not only has a blog (www.captaincarlsblog.com) but also a money-making website! (www.handyman101guide.com)
Special Event: The WeLoveSaipan Network is having its first-ever Blogger Meetup today at 7pm at Java Joe’s! If you have a blog, or want to start one, bring your laptop and we’ll see you there!
And for those of you who follow such things: WeLoveSaipan.com is now coming in at position #43 on a google search for "saipan" and just this week achieved a PR4 Pagerank!
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Until next time, remember, success is a journey, not a destination!-Walt
Breaking News from Walt:
A few weeks ago, a former workshop attendee and coaching client revealed that she nominated me to be considered for this year’s Governor’s Humanities Award here on Saipan. I thanked her, but I didn’t really believe I qualified because...(read why at www.jamaicaninchina.com/humanities-award)