This morning I woke up, panicked. As my eyes opened, I couldn’t help but think to myself, what am I doing and how did I get here? I took a quick inventory of my current situation and my stomach dropped. This definitely isn’t the glamorous life I see on social media every day – heck, it’s not even the life that we tend to portray on our Instagram.
This can’t be what following your dreams looks like and it’s certainly not the image of success.
Honestly, how could I feel successful while looking at my life in this moment? I am 34 years old and “homeless”. I live out of a suitcase while bouncing back and forth between my parent’s basement and my mother-in-law’s guest room. I am unemployed. And, I’m a “traveler” who is not traveling. Basically, from the perspective of pretty much anyone other than my wife, from the outside looking in, it would appear that things aren’t going well for me.
But, you know what… things are actually going great.
Appearances can be deceiving
After giving myself a pep talk and telling myself that success is not defined by what other people think, I quickly got back on track and remembered how grateful I am to be doing exactly what I am doing.
You see, a few months ago, I quit my full-time, remote, high-paying job so that we could focus 100% on building our online businesses. For the first time, I am finally pursuing something that I have wanted for years, but I’ve never had the courage to make a reality. Since I studied abroad in college, I knew how important traveling was to me and that I wanted to build a lifestyle that would allow me to travel when, and wherever, I wanted.
I spent the last decade, however, letting my fears stop me from going after my dream. I focused on doing the “smart, responsible” thing rather than what I was missing out on by playing it safe. I worried about what people thought or said about me and spent a lot of time letting other people’s definition of success shape my own, rather than blazing my own path and believing in myself.
I’m pretty sure those days are gone. No matter what happens with our business, I am so proud of myself for having the courage to say yes to my dream, and I know that no matter what, it was the right decision. I want that for you, too.
After my mini panic attack this morning, I knew I had to write this post. I simply want to remind you that chasing your dream may not look the way you think it should, but it is worth it. I want to encourage you to stay focused, to keep believing in yourself, and to continue striving towards your goal.
Your current situation is all about perspective. I had to switch mine this morning to get myself from feeling like a complete loser – back to a person that is blessed and actively taking steps to live their dream life.
Let’s take a look at my situation from a different perspective:
I am homeless.
I am homeless because I have chosen a lifestyle full of travel and adventure. I’ve made the choice to live for experiences rather than possessions. I’m not homeless, I just have a home on wheels.
I live in my parent’s basement.
I have the opportunity to save money and visit family while at home. How blessed am I that I have such caring parents and in-laws that they allow us to stay with them? Staying with family allows us to focus on building our dream life without the financial pressure.
I am unemployed.
I am unemployed because I made the decision to be. We’ve worked hard and saved enough money to be able to take this leap of faith without stressing about every dollar. How incredibly blessed am I?
I am a “traveler” that’s not traveling.
Although we love traveling and it’s a major part of our life, we feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to be home with family during tough times. I’m not traveling because I am exactly where I need to be.
Perspective is everything.
So you see, perspective is everything. There’s a few more things I want to remind you (and me) of so you can stay motivated and encouraged to follow your dream. And, if you’re not pursuing your dream, perhaps this is what you need to hear in order to start!
Every success story has humble beginnings.
As a culture, we love to admire peoples’ successes and celebrate their humble beginnings. I’m sure you’ve seen that picture of Jeff Bezos at his desk during the very early days of Amazon or the garage that Steve Job’s launched Apple from circulating the internet. We are suckers for the rags-to-riches stories.
Unless that story is our own.
If you’re anything like me, you find it very difficult to give yourself grace and to continue to trust in yourself on your journey. Choosing to stay the course with unwavering determination, instead of allowing fear to talk you back into your comfort zone, is a daily struggle. If you are also in the midst of making your dreams a reality, remember that it takes time and doesn’t happen without many ups and downs.
Don’t let other peoples’ opinions stop you.
When you decide to pursue your dreams and push past your fear, in many cases, people are going to think you’re nuts. They will have a hard time understanding your decision and might actually encourage or “advise” you to stop. Just like most “normal” people would view my current situation as a negative, you don’t have to be “normal”. In fact, the more nuts people think you are, the more you’re probably doing right.
Once someone is really successful, we tend to forget how “crazy” they must have seemed during their journey. If you were Elon Musk’s friend, try to imagine what you would have said to him when you found out he was forcing himself to live on a $1/day food budget so that he could prove to himself that he could survive. Would you have been worried when you learned he only ate hot dogs and oranges? Wouldn’t you have tried to get him to stop acting like a crazy person?
Never, ever let other people’s opinions or actions stop you from pursuing your dream. Keep fighting, keep trying and keep believing in your dream and that you have everything you need to achieve it. Even if you have to remind yourself every single day when you wake up, like I do, you are on the right path!
Want to read more posts like this one?
- Why Quitting My Dream Job Was a Part of Following My Detour
- 3 Quotes About Courage to Help You Go After Your Dreams
- These Strategies will Help You Actually Achieve Your Goals
- 6 Books That Will Inspire You to Change Your Life
- Are You Living Your Dash?
- The Most Powerful Lesson I Learned Last Year and How it Changed My Life
- Our Story: From a Dead End to a Detour
Hey, man. If every porkchop was perfect, we wouldn’t have hot dogs!
yep. you’re blessed to be a millennial.
Congrats Dan. I can’t wait to see what 2019 has in store for you. And trust me, you’re far from homeless.
Thanks Liz. Really looking forward to seeing what 2019 looks like for you as well – big things Im sure!
This was soooo helpful for me to read 🙂 I, too, am 30, unemployed, and “homeless” staying with family. After FT RVing for 1.5 years with my girlfriend of 3 years, we split up and sold the RV. I have moved onto a smaller camper to hit the road solo, but lots of preparation has to happen before that point… one of them is getting a better handle on the growth of my business. Most days I wake up ridiculously grateful, ambitious and motivated, but I still have the occasional “holy crap how did I get here and wtf am… Read more »
Thank you so much for you nice words and I am so glad that you found this post a little helpful. You’re story is really interesting and you should be so proud that you have the courage to follow your next detour. Good luck with growing your business and hitting the road solo!
Great article, especially the illustration with the straight and squiggly lines, when starting something that you’ve not done before it’s never a straight line. I have encountered many squiggly lines in endeavors of mine.
Thank you, George! I wish I could take credit for the illustration, but you’re totally right – nothing in life ever is a straight line! Half of my squiggles are going backwards!
Wow, what a great article, this has SO much truth and wisdom in it!! Sincerely, thank you for the reminder, Dan. You’re doing great!!
Thank you Tracy!