A little over a year ago I wrote a blog post titled “My life sucks and what I’m doing about it“. (Please read it if you haven’t already, I’ll wait…)
I wasn’t forced to make those difficult decisions. I had a great job, we weren’t behind on our bills, our marriage was strong, the family was healthy. Yet I felt compelled to make some dramatic changes. I didn’t fully know why. I was not pursuing a vision or dream. I was not following a plan. I just knew that change was needed. I could not abide the status quo.
So with my wife’s full support and encouragement we began to eliminate many of the things that sucked precious time, money and energy from our lives. We didn’t know where it would lead, we just did it.
We moved into our new home (still large by the world’s standards but much smaller than most in Texas) in November of 2011. We sold our boat, truck and much of our furniture. With the proceeds from the sale of our home we paid off all of our other debts. All that was left was a modest mortgage payment. The simplicity of our new home and extra expendable income was an awesome feeling!
I began to chart our new budget and was making plans for the extra income we now had available. I would save some for our kid’s college fund, some for retirement and some for traveling with my wife. It would be wondrous!
Then the phone rang
After just a few weeks of enjoying our new budget the phone rang. It was my friend Trey Ratcliff. Trey and I had worked together back in 1995 as software programmers and became close friends. We had gone our separate ways, pursued other interests, but kept in touch. I was aware that over the last few years, Trey had exploded onto the photography scene and become one of the best and most followed photographers in the world. The reason for his call? His photography business was growing exponentially and he needed someone to run the business side for him while he focused on what he does best… create amazing art. Trey asked me to fill that role.
I was honored of course. But I had no idea what that would mean for my career. I was a Marketing Director at a $300M publicly traded company. However, I wasn’t enjoying the role and wanted to pursue something that truly interested me. The opportunity to work with an old friend, to be in a creative field like photography and to help build a business from the ground up was compelling. The problem was that although Trey’s business was growing fast it was still in its infancy so he couldn’t pay much. My existing salary was certainly out of the question. His offer was equivalent to what I made a decade earlier.
Now here’s the cool part
Eight months prior to receiving Trey’s call I felt compelled to make dramatic changes that realigned our monthly expenses. I had no idea Trey’s business was doing so well. I had no intuition that he might call just 30 days after we moved into our new home. The seemingly unrelated big and little decisions we made along the way had placed us into a position of possibility. If we had not made those changes I would have been forced to turn down Trey’s exciting offer. But we had made changes. We were in a place that I could make a hard left turn in my career and comfortably accept a significant reduction in salary.
One year ago I was climbing the corporate ladder at a large company. We had repositioned ourselves for change but had no idea what the future held. Now, a year later, I can look back with clarity at how the scenery has changed. I work from home leading a small but growing business for a close friend and amazing artist. I’ve been to San Francisco, the Virgin Gorda, Colorado, Paris, France and will be in New Zealand in the near future. I’ve met billionaires, astronauts, entrepreneurs, authors and artists. I’ve made hundreds of new friends from around the globe. I’ve learned new skills that I never thought I would need. It has been a most amazing year!
A few weeks ago I was walking down the stairs of the Château de Champlâtreux holding a stuffed antelope head in one hand and a 16th century bust in the other on my way to stage a room for two beautiful models. I laughed to myself and thought … “Just how did I get here?” I really don’t know the answer. I just know that my life sucks a little less than it did a year ago.
What changes do you need to make to put yourself into a position of possibility?