We just had a pretty wicked awesome three day weekend driving around a celebrity, even though it rained every day! Living in Vancouver you can either embrace it, or curl up into the fetal position and succumb to the dreariness. But this past weekend we got to play Tour Guide for our sister-in-law and our TV star niece.
You see, our niece is somewhat of a minor celebrity here in Canada. And if you live in the Great White North, you’ve likely seen her work:
Yes, our niece is that cute curly-haired girl from the Royale Velour commercial – just one of several she’s done! And watch out America – she’s got another commercial coming out to be aired strictly in the USA!
Anyway, we got to drive them around Vancouver, showing them the numerous sights during their 4+ days here. And the reason for their Vancouver visit is even better; our niece was nominated for a Joey Award for her Royale commercial. The Joey Awards are for child actors up to 18 years old, and there’s a whole whack of categories. She was nominated for Best Actress in a Commercial; Ages 7-9. And guess what – she won!
Okay, enough about the kids accomplishments and the touring around Vancouver. Here’s what I really wanted to talk about.
Each time I see my niece I can’t help but notice how focused she seems to be on her goal. She wants to be an actor. She’s known this for – well – pretty much since the day she started talking! Sure, she likely has her moments where she doesn’t want to perform because, hey, she’s a kid! But I don’t see her passion and drive fading any time soon – and I hope it never does.
My childhood wasn’t exactly full of passion or drive. And when I think of the things I did as a kid, rather, the things I wanted to be when I grew up, I didn’t have one specific thing I wanted to focus on. It changed like the weather. One month it was a hockey player, the next a fireman, another year I wanted to be a baseball commentator, and like many other people who watched the movie Cocktail, I too wanted to tend bar…which I did. Yeah! Dream fulfilled!
It’s true though, I’ve wanted to “be” many different things in my life. And I’m okay with the paths I’ve taken. I’ve tried so many different things along the way, too. How do you know what stuff you like if you don’t try different stuff? I’ve said it before, I’d rather try 20 different jobs than do one job I hated my whole life.
But I still like to take small life lessons from my niece. Actually, they’re more like life reminders. I’m reminded that I need to focus on what I want in life. And that if you want to succeed, you need to stick with something. I’ve read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. I know the 10,000 hours “rule”. That if you put in 10,000 hours at something you’ll inherently become a master at it.
I’m not always chasing mastery though. And I’m definitely not chasing the almighty dollar anymore. Come to think of it, I don’t think I ever was. Climbing the corporate ladder was never a goal of mine, which made my life in the corporate world confusing. I’d put in my time, be offered promotions, but it was never satisfying. Ever.
I know why too. I wasn’t following a dream or a goal. I was following an outdated playbook. Go to school. Get a job. Get married. Buy a house. And so on. Many of us follow that playbook. And hey, if you’re happy with that playbook, good for you – I’m happy if you’re happy.
But a lot of people aren’t satisfied. And why would they be? We had dreams of being actors, athletes, veterinarians, writers, artists, monster truck drivers, explorers, lead singers of a hair-band, and more. And then something happens. You go to high school, where they like to shatter your dreams by saying things like ‘well, you’ll need something to fall back on…’.
The truth is, you don’t need a plan to fall back on, you need a plan to succeed at what it is you want to do. If that’s trying different jobs until you find one you enjoy – go for it. Or if you want to follow your dream of being an singer, dancer, or street mime stuck in a box, don’t let some guidance councilor stop you!
Don’t have the skill or athleticism to be the next Dallas Cowboys quarterback? What other things could you do that involve football? You could be a commentator, a ref, or one of the guys that moves the first down markers! There are options in every industry.
But our amazing niece is a reminder that if you focus and maintain your passion and drive, then you can accomplish anything you want to!
Now go sell all your stuff and follow your dreams!