I took a leap of faith opening my online doors on Juneteenth of 2020….at a time when a pandemic was raging and social unrest was at a peak. After years of carrying around designs and ideas in a notebook, I decided I was tired of standing on the edge of the cliff called, "What If". The winds of passion nudged me and I decided it was time to make a move; give it a try. If it failed, at least I would know and I could move on with a clear conscience knowing I had tried. Knowing one way or the other would be better than the frustration and stagnation of wondering. So with the support of my husband and the encouragement of my family, I closed my eyes and leapt.
I tell that story because as the new year arrived, I was enveloped with gratitude and began to think deeply about what breakthrough had occurred. And I realized something important. We cannot always wait for the perfect conditions to launch out into the deep. If we do, we may never move. If we wait for the perfect time to go back to school or the perfect time to start a side-hustle…or that business we've been dreaming of, the only thing we might get is older. Now, let me be clear, I'm not promoting recklessness. I'm not saying we should not count up the cost before proceeding into any endeavor, and not just monetary cost, but cost of time. Before moving forward in anything from relationships to business, we should take time to sit down and figure out what it's going to cost us and ask ourselves honestly whether we are willing to sacrifice and pay the fee. But while I encourage being sober-minded and mature, I also admonish you not to think of the perfect time to follow your dream as the perfect time.
I often like to read about (or watch) the biographies of successful people. And what I've learned is that everyone from artists to influencers and entrepreneurs- no matter how different, they all seem to have one thing in common: they did not wait until all the stars were perfectly aligned and every "t" was crossed to leap. Some relocated with little to nothing in their pocket…some lost jobs and found their way to entrepreneurship out of necessity…some pressed through rejection after rejection…some had to say no to college to say yes to opportunity. They all had an idea of how they wanted things to go; how they expected it to play out and they all were wrong. Their idealism did not meet their reality. Paulo Coelho was excited about his first book but devastated when it only sold two copies. After his contract with his first publisher ended, he faced rejection after rejection before finding another publisher. That book, The Alchemist, helped him achieve great renown and has now sold over 150 million copies worldwide. Debbie Allen thought her destiny would be fulfilled through acceptance into the North Carolina School of the Arts and after doing so well in her audition that she was asked to demonstrate the moves to the others, it looked as if that would be the case. But when she was rejected for not having "the right body type", her hopes seemed dashed. However, her future was far from over. For that rejection led her to attend Howard University, where she was "discovered" and now, she lists distinguished and elite dancer, choreographer, actress and director, among her many accolades. Tabitha Brown thought securing an acting gig after a move to LA would make her dreams come true when, in fact, it was an impromptu stop at Whole Foods and a review of a breakfast sandwich that propelled her to the forefront and made her a household name. De'Andre Salter, author of The Culture of Money, thought his greatest success would come from an incredible corporate job opportunity but a wrongful termination is what led him to establish the largest black-owned wholesale commercial insurance brokerage in the world.
There will never be a time when no odds or obstacles will be present…there is no external perfect time, but there is a time that is perfect internally. A time when everything may not be ready but you are. A time when you feel the winds of passion nudging you and you can no longer quiet your conscience. And even a pandemic can no longer keep you still.
(photo courtesy of Henry and Co.)