On a long journey towards a impossible goal
“I’m going to become a famous screenwriter.” This is my bold statement to my closest friend.
“Erm OK. Do you have a backup plan?” he asks.
No I don’t!
I’m 35 and like most people my age, I went blindly into a job after uni, built a career and once I got there I dreaded going into work everyday. I always knew deep down that I could do anything if I set my mind to it. I just had no idea what it was that I wanted to do.
So after ten years of climbing the ladder, I did the only sensible thing. Quit my job and went travelling around South America for four months. On my travels I thought I would have a light bulb moment. I would wake up one day and know what it was I wanted to do. Right?
I came home and ended up working for a large corporate company. The same company I had quit three years earlier because I didn’t quite fit in. But this time it would be different. I would be freelance, working for myself. My business. I would care less and achieve a work life balance.
It took me the best part of two weeks before I fell into old habits. Working late, using corporate buzzwords and dressing sensibly.
I was making the same mistakes again and it was taking its toll. And the question never went away — “what do I want to do?”
It was at this point I got desperate. So desperate in fact that I almost spent £1,500 I didn’t have to take a ‘careers advice’ course. A remote, online, life changing course with mentors to support me on my journey. I attended the first conference call;
“So what’s your passion?”
I have no idea what my passion is, that’s why I’m on this call.
When you’re desperate it’s easy to look to others to make decisions for you. I was so close to signing up and throwing money at my problems. Could they really help me find my passion? Probably not. I got stuck into work.
Three years after quitting my job I was no further forward. I was commuting on a dangerous road and working long hours on stuff that didn’t make a difference. The final straw came when I worked the weekend to hit a deadline and the piece of work, I busted a gut to complete, sat on a senior manager’s desk for a week. And then two weeks. When I finally got feedback, it was clear he hadn’t read the document properly and was stalling for time by making me run around in circles. I was furious.
A friend spotted my rage and dragged me out of the office for a walk around the business park.
That walk changed everything.
Einstein said the definition of insanity was “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.
On that walk in the pouring rain, I realised that’s exactly what I had been doing for the last three years.
I decided to stop waiting for my passion to find me and to start experimenting. I quite liked writing. It wasn’t a passion and writing is not a ‘proper’ job, but it didn’t matter. It would be a start.
I explained all this to my friend and she made me go back into the office and book an evening class — creative writing was full so screenwriting it was. I took the course and I was hooked.
This one action of ‘doing’ led to another and another and another.
On the surface it looks like nothing has changed. I still work in marketing, my commute is more ridiculous than ever and I work long hours. But below the surface everything has changed.
I may never become a famous screenwriter but I have found my purpose and it is having a profound effect on the rest of my life.
In one year, I wrote the first draft of a film, completed a short film script, set up a writing group, took a course at a top film school and I even got my first paid writing job.
My ambition for the year ahead is to work four days a week so I can write more and make a short film. Small steps on a long journey towards an impossible goal.
I’m no adventurer, inventor or entrepreneur. In fact I’m pretty lazy. I procrastinate and daydream far too much. But I ‘do’ doing and I believe in its contagious ability to change your life. It’s changing mine.
And one year from now who knows…..