Here’s a lesson that I only learned recently in life.
Find joy in where you’re at RIGHT NOW.
For far too long I put off happiness while in pursuit of my goals.
When I was in Law School, I completely put my life on hold.
I remember telling myself, “just put your head down and accept being miserable for three years. You can be happy after.”
So that’s what I did.
I focused all of my attention on my studies. In all fairness, Law School is extremely hard work and given my course load, a lot of my attitude was warranted. But I was constantly thinking about the future.
I NEEDED to graduate and pass the bar in order to start my life and be happy.
I actually performed well in Law School. Graduated with a 3.5 GPA. Passed the Maryland Bar on my first try. Despite this success, nothing changed.
I was still obsessed with the future.
I remember thinking…
How could I start my life when I don’t have the PERFECT job?
I couldn’t be “happy” until I was making at least six figures, right?
I never gave much thought to what I ACTUALLY WANTED TO DO – especially outside of the law.
So now officially in the working world, I put my head down and started to grind. I started with my father’s law firm, then at a judicial clerkship, then an investment bank, then another law firm, until finally two years later I circled back with my father’s firm.
Why did I jump around so much? Because I started to follow my gut.
I wasn’t happy in any of the jobs I had. I didn’t enjoy the work, the subject matter, none of it. Something just wasn’t right.
During my time practicing law, practicality ruled my life.
Leaving the law wasn’t an option. You can’t just casually walk away from a legal career after taking the LSATs, being admitted into Law School, spending three years studying, graduating, and then passing the bar – right?
It wasn’t until I started working at my father’s firm for the second time that I started to think about what I ACTUALLY wanted to do.
I’d always had a passion for film and entertainment.
I’d always wanted to be an actor.
I’d always wanted to write creatively.
But these passions had been suffocated by PRACTICALITY.
At this point, I had also just gone through a breakup.
Although difficult at the time, it helped me put things into perspective. It opened up my eyes and forced me to focus on myself. And that’s when I finally said fuck practicality…
I moved to Nashville and dramatically changed careers!!
Did anything change? Did I break my habit of putting happiness on hold until I reach some hypothetical goal?
When I first moved to Nashville, I set goals and put my happiness on hold until I achieved them.
I immediately signed up for acting and improv classed. I got headshots. I started auditioning.
After I gain success, I thought, only THEN will I allow myself to be happy.
And that’s how I lived my first six months in Nashville.
I was considerably in a better mental state, having made the career change. BUT something was still off.
It wasn’t until recently that I realized my mindset wasn’t conducive to the life I wanted.
I no longer wanted to put off happiness.
So I changed.
I didn’t stop setting goals. I didn’t work any less. But I did switch my mindset.
I started enjoying the little things. I started finding joy in my journey. I started finding joy in my study of acting, in my writing, in my side jobs, in my social life, in everything.
This tiny switch dramatically improved my well-being.
I now no longer feel as if my life is on hold. I’m more motivated to pursue my goals. I’m more focused than I’ve ever been. I am happier than I’ve ever been. Why?
Because even though I have BIG HAIRY AUDACIOUS goals, I understand that my happiness is not determined by whether or not I achieve them. Instead, my happiness is derived from whether or not I try.
Do yourself a favor and find joy in where you’re at RIGHT NOW – this second.
If you do that, I promise you, you’ll be infinitely happier because of it.