A Passionate Pursuit, following a calling
By- Rick A. Griffith
Sitting here in Mendoza, Argentina, I’m reflecting on the sequence of events that brought me here. I was graciously invited to guest post and accepted as this blog is one I follow and enjoy. “Maybe something inspirational” was the direction given, perfect. My goal since I started blogging has been mainly to help and inspire others. With the freedom to write what I wanted I got quite excited.
Growing up, like many of us, I struggled to discover just what I wanted to do with my life. I excelled in sports at a young age, so naturally I believed I’d be a professional athlete. Unfortunately at age 12, I stopped growing, vertically that is. At 6 ft tall I was able to dominate the smaller lads in basketball and baseball.
Of course by around the time I was a Sophomore in high school, I was beginning to realize that I had better come up with a new plan. I had been passed up by the late bloomers physically and professional sports appeared to be a very unlikely profession.
I remember sitting in our high schools career center, browsing the possible professions, basing my future around average yearly salaries and the amount of additional schooling needed. Growing up in the US, the culture teaches you that the more money you make, the more important you are. Through countless exercises and endless brainstorming my career path remained undecided.
Senior year came and things were becoming clearer. I had lost 65 lbs the summer before my senior year and learned to eat right. Working out had become an everyday habit and opportunities were opening up. I had begun personal training for friends and family who were impressed with my progress.
It was around this time that I attended a class on real estate investment with my parents, taught by local guru Greg Pinneo. I was told that he was a smart successful guy and my mom thought it’d be good to hear his message.
Sitting at the Willows lodge nestled into the countryside in Woodinville, WA, my hand cramped from the 8 pages of copious notes that sat in front of me. The intense two day seminar was about to conclude and I felt inspired, informed and ready to conquer Seattle’s real estate market. My personal training would have to take a backseat for now.
I was always nervous whenever Mr. Lowery would hand back our essays. I always knew that I had done pretty well, but feared that I had made so many grammatical errors that my thesis was irrelevant. I was in my junior year then and had seen my writing abilities really start to take off. My mom and Mr. lowery took notice complimenting my talent and encouraging me to pursue it.
This period in my life was quite a crossroads as it is for so many young people trying to decide their lives’ path. I had the opportunity to become a real estate agent at a local company and it seemed like the hot profession at the moment.
Personal training kept me in the gym, staying in shape and seemed like a meaningful profession, but I knew the money likely wouldn’t be great. Becoming a writer was something I I was very interested in, but would require years of studying at a major university and even then nothing was promised.
I made the decision to go where the money was and take the real estate route. The coming 4 years, I would do very well for myself financially; however I would come to realize that no amount of money can create happiness.
Two new condos, a Mercedes CLK coupe and an expensive blond girlfriend provided me more frustration than happiness. I thought I had the things that I had always wanted and yet I was miserable.
In the coming year I would lose everything I had, but I would gain something much more valuable than any material possession, happiness.
Thanks to the huge financial crises of 2008-2009, my income as a realtor basically evaporated overnight. I took a job as a part time bartender and struggled to get by. What a shock to this “fairy-tale” life. I guess reality has to catch up to all of us at some point.
The waterfront condo? Gone. The Benz? Yup that too. And of course the girlfriend jumped ship as well. I won’t lie, I didn’t spring to action and turn it all around. I fell into a deep depression. I had dated this girl 2 and a half years and was 2 payments into an engagement ring purchase. While the signs of an impending break up were obvious, I tried to press through, after all nothing is perfect. The, “Your better off” comments failed to brighten my spirits much.
On my 23rd birthday I remember staring at myself in the mirror, tears running down my face. I didn’t even recognize the person in the mirror. The night before I had found out my ex had found a new romance, quite the birthday gift. I had ballooned up and was terribly overweight and unhappy.
I guess we all need a breaking point and this was mine. I remember saying to myself right then,”It’s time I lived my life for me and pursue what makes me happy.”. I had turned to writing as a way to vent my emotions in this time of peril. I started writing a blog, a new nutrition and exercise program and planned my trip to Argentina.
With all the losses I had accrued in the preceding weeks I realized that cutting these ties and obligations enabled me to gain freedom to pursue what I was passionate about, travel, writing and getting in shape.
In late October of 2009 I started LivingBueno.com, spreading the message that following your passion and pursuing happiness was way more important than the number in your bank account. Thus far the site has been a tremendous success growing at least 30% in traffic each and every month since its inception. More importantly it has helped me tell my story and encourage others to life a more fulfilling life.
My dreams are being realized and things are going amazing. On January 13th I left for the voyage through South America, I’d been planning for so long. 7,000 miles, 5 cities and 64 hours of bus travel later, I’m chilling writing to you from Mendoza, Argentina. I find myself one day away from Buenos Aires where I will live for a few months, settling into a new city and a new culture. I’m happier than ever, having lost 70 lbs and starting my writing career.
My message to you all is that if you want something, don’t second guess yourself. Know exactly what you want, write it down, work harder than anyone else and just go do it. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful. It won’t be easy, it’ll likely be the hardest thing you will ever do. You will work long hours, question whether your crazy and deal with others doubting you on a daily basis. But if you persevere through these tough times, I promise you, you will win. Only put out your best product, network and hustle consistently and success is inevitable.
“Many a false steps have been made by standing still”
Get up and stop whining. Life can be amazing, if you stop waiting for things to happen and make them happen. Start realizing your dreams today, tomorrow isn’t promised.