Each of us has a unique gift to bring into the world, no matter what our skill level or education.
The question is: Will we step up and fill that spot in the universe to make the most out of the few years we have on this Earth and help as many people as possible in the process?
I learned that my work — drilling holes — had a higher calling when I woke up one morning in August 2010 to the news that 33 miners were trapped in Chile. The leading rescue plan suggested a four-month timeline. In my heart I knew it could be done faster. Our “Plan B” rescue borehole took only 33 days to drill, and succeeded in pulling off one of the greatest mine rescues in history.
This was an “a-ha moment” for me where I realized that work has a higher calling. I now want to dedicate the rest of my professional life to inspiring others to make the biggest effect they can through their work.
That starts with pursuing your passion. There’s an old cliche that no one sits on their death bed wishing they spent more days at the office. This may be true, but I’d venture to say that there are more people who sit on their death beds thinking of what might have been if they followed their inner voice to pursue their passion.
These are the accountants who never pursued their dream of entrepreneurship; the servers who never tried to run their own restaurant; the middle-managers who never struck out on their own to form a sole-proprietorship; and the public relations, ad agency and communications professionals who never used their talents to do what’s right and good.
The downside of pursuing your passion is capped, but the upside is infinite. Financiers refer to such trades as “no-lose options.”
Where to begin? Right now, almost any industry you could dream of working in is looking for entry-level employees. And if you bring your passion to the job, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you rise through the ranks.
Not sure what you want to do? That’s OK. Just start moving in the direction your heart tells you is right. You don’t have to quit your day job right away.
As Steve Jobs explained in his famous 2005 Stanford commencement address, you don’t need to know how your decisions to pursue your passion will result in financial and professional success beforehand. Jobs didn’t know in college he was going to revolutionize personal computing. But he knew he was interested in calligraphy. At the time it was hard to think of a skill less practical than that. But as he explained:
“I learned about serif and sans serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. … None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But 10 years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. … It was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backward 10 years later.”
Did I know that my skill of drilling holes would end up saving 33 lives and set me up to become a motivational speaker? Of course not. But looking back on it, I too can connect the dots.
Recent small business tax cuts, the best economy in a generation, and historically low unemployment make now the best time to act on that dream that keeps you up at night. Stop waiting for the perfect time. And seize this time.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life,” Jobs concluded in his Stanford speech. “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
Bill Maloney is the co-founder of North American Drillers and a motivational speaker. He wrote this for InsideSources.com.