The following is a guest post by my friend Kevin Haggerty. He and his wife recently bought a house and made a baby, just before the school where he worked decided to let him go. Now he’s in transition. Check it out.
A couple of weeks ago, Shawn published a great post about his trepidation over advising someone to follow their dreams.
He talked about “a guy named Kevin.” I’m “that guy.”
Nice to meet you.
As Shawn disclosed in his post, I’m currently in a difficult situation in my life. I was recently given the news that my teaching contract would not be renewed for the approaching Fall, due to budget cuts being made by the school where I’ve taught for six years.
Additionally, I have a very pregnant wife and a house payment. Things are not neat and organized right now. In fact, they’re the furthest thing from that.
In all of this, it probably makes little to no sense to consider doing something dangerous. I should probably forward my resume to as many schools as possible and try to find another teaching job. That would be safe, right?
Only, that isn’t right.
I always thought that was safe, but as soon as enrollment went down, my job went away. It makes me ask: “Was my job ever really safe? And what does safe really mean?”
The two major points I’m currently weighing are:
1) I don’t want to entrust my financial salvation to another person or committee again. That is only as stable as this moment, which isn’t really all that stable at all. I want to work for myself. I’m sure of that.
2) There will never be a time in my life where following a dream won’t be dangerous. There will always be something to lose, people to disappoint and the possibility of failing.
It’s taken me my whole life to come to the conclusion that I am a writer. It’s as much a part of who I am as my height, my eye color and my Irish temper. I can’t divorce myself from that, and I won’t.
So now comes the scary part: How do I take a dream and a passion and turn that into something that pays my bills?
The truth is that I’m not sure yet.
I know. You probably were expecting something grander and more inspiring, but I’m still figuring it out. In the meantime, I’m reading at every opportunity. I’m talking to awesome friends like Shawn, Chad Gibbs and Leanne Shirtliffe, who have all been very gracious in giving up their time to be resources of wisdom for me.
I listen to podcasts. I continue to seek God’s answers and also the wisdom of those around me, like my parents and friends.
I’m trying to learn everything I can about working as a freelance writer. None of that is “safe,” but if I can make it work, it means I’ll have a freedom that I’ve long desired.
It’s a trade-off, but I think it will be worth it in the long run.
That’s really it. That’s where I am in my journey. I will still get paychecks from the school through the end of August. I have a retirement fund that should buy me two or three more months after that point.
It’s frightening. The worst case scenario is that the money will run out in a few months. I’ll have a wife, a newborn son and my house will be taken away.
So why post about that? That’s not encouraging at all, right?
First off, I just wanted to be honest. If you’re going through a similar situation, or you may be in the future, I’m doing you no favors by dressing it up. This is my burden. This is real.
Second, and more importantly, I’m sharing because I’ve come to an important realization that I hope will be helpful. Here it is:
My worst case scenario isn’t something I can’t come back from.
Do you get that? If I don’t find my dream source of income by the time the money runs out, I’ll do something. I’ll deliver pizza. I’ll rake leaves. I’ll do whatever I have to, and, you know what? I’ll survive.
If I lose my house, it will be heartrending, but there are other houses. If I have to sell things, I’ll have money again one day and can buy new things.
At the end of the day, we have family who will always take us in. It isn’t my preference, and we will do all we can to avoid that scenario, but this is the secret:
I’ve come face to face with my nightmare, looked it in the eye…and I didn’t blink. I didn’t wince. I didn’t run away.
I’m going to pursue my dream. I’m still figuring out what that means and how I’m going to do it. But I owe it to myself to at least try.
What’s standing in the way of YOU pursuing YOUR dream?