Multiple Passions - Multiple Careers
It's all about balancing passions that support your career(s) and remaining an individual with character and grace, no matter what you do for a living.
Is it possible for one individual to divide his or her time between passions?
In my opinion the answer is a resounding yes...and no!
To be more specific I will describe my personal experiences over the past 20 plus years of pursuing my passions weighed against the requirements of earning a living because it took both to form who and what I am today.
Passion 1 - Aviation
I cannot remember a day where I was not attracted to airplanes and all things aviation. It really started with my nose pressed against a fence at the airport in western Pennsylvania when I was five or six. A pilot loaded his private airplane, parked right in front of me, climbed in and started her up. The prop wash blasted me through the fence and I the smell of aviation exhaust was a smell I remember to this day. It was exciting to say the least and...I was there.
John Glenn's historic space flight was the next thing on my "aviation" list of accomplishments. The isn't enough space or enough time to detail all my memories from that night when he was aboard Friendship 7 on February 20, 1962. ...And I was there to experience it laying in a wheat field on my back waiting for his capsule to fly overhead. The "star-like" craft flew overhead for a few brief moments across the Pennsylvanian night sky and...I was there! From that night on I wanted to be an astronaut. I pursued it, applied and was considered...for thirty-seven days. (By U.S. Mail). That was the thirty-seven days between when they got my application and sent out the rejection notice! I didn't qualify because I didn't have the required education. Remember that, it will come up again.
From those experiences, and MANY more, I sought and achieved the ultimate in aviation accomplishments, a commercial pilots certificate a Multi-engine Flight Instructor certificate and the Coup De grâce...piloting a jet aircraft. And...been there, done that too! By the way...I accomplished that without a formal education.
Passion 2 - Academics
I also cannot remember a time when I was not completely taken by the opportunity to learn. In my quest for becoming a recognized academic, it took me many years, three decades to be exact, to appreciate having an education. Mostly because I was VERY fortunate to earn a spectacular and enviable living long before I had any formal education. I had the opportunity to study several disciplines as I sought to find the path for my and my aspiring youthfulness. The difficulty was that before I was twenty-three I was earning 10-times what the average guy was earning and doing a lot less for it. I educated myself, I made the choices and I either suffered the losses or accepted the gains!
There were a lot of both!
P.S. Remind me to tell you the story of how I was stopped by the Ft. Lauderdale police when I was only 20 years old. I was driving my brand new Cadillac Coup Deville. The officer cuffed me because he thought I was either a drug dealer or could only have STOLEN IT! Imagine his surprise when he discovered that I owned it (paid cash) and earned the money from real estate investments! Oh yeah....Gimme a wahoo.
It is detailed in my soon-to-be-released book, From Mess to Success."
As I matured, I came to discover that successfully earning a living did not equate to being successfully educated. I was disillusioned because my business afforded me the opportunity for world travel and the company of educated, successful and worldly people. Sort of the "cart before the horse" syndrome. However, my income and maturity gave me the ability to "learn how to learn and that would be critical to obtaining a formal education no matter the career I chose for myself."
Passion 3 - Real Estate
Back in 1974, when I was "finding" myself, I met a guy, Jerry, who was a few years older than I. He was into real estate. He asked me, "What I wanted to be" and I responded, "RICH!" He said, no I mean "Who do you want to be?" Then I responded, "A RICH guy!" Seeing that he would get no farther than my misdirected focus, he applauded and agreed that he would teach me about real estate investing because, "there was no other way for me to achieve my goal without an education" in his opinion.
There , you see. Education comes up again..Lol.
Jerry and I studied the teachings of a book entitled, How to Wake Up the Financial Genius Inside You by Mark O. Haroldson.
I credit this book, and Jerry, with the investing success that helped build my family, my earnings potential, my real estate success and ultimately my life as an entrepreneur.
I have never seen Jerry since 1978 to give him credit for the more than 3-million dollars I earned from his guidance and direction and the offer of the book by Mark Haroldson.
Passion 4 - Entrepreneurship
Having tasted success from the time I was 19 that followed me until a few years ago, No-one could or can sway me from the benefits of entrepreneurship. I believe in it. I believe in the benefit of it. I believe in the reward of it and I believe in the challenges of it. I am today who I am today because of the opportunity of entrepreneurship with all of its fears, trials, challenges, roadblocks, losses, rewards and experiences. The direct challenge to maintain character and leadership is a direct result of my experience as an entrepreneur.
The question is...or are...Does that make me a better employee? Does that make me a better leader? Does that make me attractive to employers? Does that make me less attractive to employers? Does that make me a rogue in the corporate infrastructure? Does that make me a dynamic entity that any employer would want?
The answer is YES and NO again. An opportunity for balance.
Few employers align with employees who think for themselves, demonstrate independence, display leadership or abnormal confidence unless it is written in their job requirements. In sales perhaps. In consulting perhaps. Conversely, the ability to adapt, to be confident, to be a leader, to be an independent thinker are no greater skills for an entrepreneur than it is for an employee. Now are they? Yet employers fear the individualism born from entrepreneurship instead of embracing it as the ultimate reward of an experienced and educated life.
So...where's the balance. It lies in discretion. It lies in absolute loyalty. It lies in performance. It lies in character. It lies in the full-range life experience that balancing multiple passions with multiple careers. It lies in me. (And You).
At my age now, I am presented with more opportunities and choices. I'll make the decision as to the direction. However, like me or not, I will never compromise my character, my independence, my loyalty or my family for anything, no matter how much it pays.
Like Popeye says, 'I Yam whats I Yam!" toot toot.
Heads up, Chest out, Eyes Forward, Stay the course, charge on!
Make it happen.