What would you do if money was no object?
“What do you desire? What makes you itch? What sort of a situation would you like?”
I first listened to these words uttered by the inspiring Alan Watts a few years back, and they struck a chord within me. Finding out my mum had Huntington’s Disease at the age of 18, and learning I had a 50% chance of carrying the gene affected me in many ways. But if I were to pluck out the positives (as hard as it is to use that term in the same sentence as Huntingtons) it would be the fact that it opened my eyes to ‘the dash’.
The dash, is the line between the two dates that represent when you are born and when you die. I guess I learned not to focus on the end date, but in fact, the dash in between. To make sure that no matter how short my life may have been, that the dash in between would act as my motivation in life to fulfil at every opportunity. As a mother now, that’s all I hope to teach my son Freddie. To be proud of who he is, grab his dash by the balls and just do life.
Yesterday, I posted about a book/scheme of work I wrote for primary schools a few years back, and I was amazed at the amount of messages I received from so many of you, who have ideas of your own but are yet to run with them. It is always flattering to be told nice things about products and businesses you have developed, but I feel a fraud if I don’t tell you…. I have no qualifications to make me any more capable that you. I’m a regular Joe. The girl next door. There is nothing significant that makes me any more equipped than the next person. You have everything you need to do it too.
I think when tragedy strikes anyone’s life, there is an element of ‘f*ck it’ that arises within, that gives you the ability to throw caution to the wind a little more and know that nothing is going to beat you more than the tragedy you are living has. Perhaps that’s just my experience with it?
From a young age I was experimenting with business. I held a disco for the kids in my street, saving pocket money to hire the village hall and provided a killer set of DJ equipment by borrowing Sally down the road’s disco lights and boom box. I was always holding Blue Peter Bring & Buy sales, and at the age of 18 started a dance club at my secondary school whilst organising the logistics of taking part in the local street fayre. I must admit, I have always been confident in myself when it comes to taking the lead. (I was probably an utter wanker of a child for it!)
I think the biggest test professionally came when I decided after 6 years that my dance school needed to take the leap from village hall rent to leasing a premises. It would involve full renovation of an industrial unit, signing an 8 year contract and taking out a loan. The biggest gamble of my life at that point. After cost projecting and deciding that surviving year one by a whisker was safe enough for me, I signed a lease agreement, only to split from my then husband the following week. I was living on my parents sofa, suddenly undergoing a hefty financial court battle and left to sort the (2 week deadline that needed to be 6) renovation of a large industrial unit into a dance studio. My husband at the time was booked in to be my handyman and so I was what some call ‘up sh*t creek without a paddle’. A bit of DIY SOS from ‘Dance Dads’ and friends alike and we just got stuck in and made it happen. Community at its best.
It was testing to say the least. 300 eager dancers all awaiting the grand opening on 7th September, no spare cash in the bank and a whole pile of personal sh*t to deal with. I could have easily let fear and overwhelm consume me. Yet, for me personally, somehow, waking up at my parents sofa day and seeing Mum crack on in spite of everything she was facing just made the rest seem so trivial. Huntington’s Disease has been the most evil thing to enter my family, but in those moments, it has taught me everything about life, and the importance of that dash in between.
Was I willing to let fear become the boss of me? I couldn’t have let it if I wanted to. Because when Huntington’s Disease is looking you right in the eye; I mean literally, you’re looking down the barrel of a gun wondering if it’s loaded and when it’s going to fire, what is there really to be afraid of? Was I going to be afraid of life? Of a potential ‘oh well’ instead of ‘what if?’
I have found that by embracing the fear HD put in me, I have been able to channel a certain level of ‘fearlessness’ when it comes to my approach in business, and life in many respects. I am not reckless, and all my businesses are cost projected and well thought through, but I have found that by focusing on ‘the dash’ it has given me the courage to be bold; just feel the fear and do it anyway.
Isn’t life too short to be working in a job you don’t love? If that’s you, ask yourself, what would you do if money were no object? It’s the question I ask everyone when they are at a crossroads in their career. What do you desire? What makes you itch? What sort of a situation would you like?
Once you find something you love, you can and will become the master of it, and then you can charge a good fee because you will be worthy. You need no qualifications, just the will and the determination to do so. The road isn’t always easy, and business takes hard work, but living your life with passion is sometimes just the motivation you need to be happy, and happiness makes you richer than anything else in the world can.
Tell me, what would you do if money were no object?