On Monday I talked about prioritizing your own happiness. The idea ties into one of the main themes for this blog: that we have to make the most of opportunities that arise. If a door opens and we’re not prepared or willing to walk through, the opportunity has been missed. Unfortunately, some opportunities may not come around again.
Considering all of this makes the story of Bryan Donaldson (via) all the more compelling. Donaldson was a modest IT guy in the midwest living the American Dream with his wife, child and big yard. His way of blowing off steam was to post one-liners on Twitter that were a bit too edgy to share in his professional corporate workplace. Over time he amassed more than 40,000 followers including Alex Baze, head writer for Late Night With Seth Meyers. When the time came to assemble a writing team for the yet-to-air show, Baze called Donaldson in for an interview that led to his first professional comedy writing gig.
Donaldson’s story is unique in that he wasn’t even trying to get a comedy writing job. He says himself that he never really took the Twitter posts or followers all that seriously. But when the opportunity came to get paid for something he clearly loved doing, his entire family helped him take the jump.
If a similar opportunity presented itself to you, would you have the courage to do as Donaldson did? Sometimes you can anticipate these opportunities and sometimes you can’t but you should never be surprised when good things happen to you.
Instead, be ready to walk through the door.
Hello again! Things have been a touch quiet on the site recently while a few exciting things took place behind the scenes. Chief among them was my graduation ceremony at the University of Technology, Sydney, where I received my Master of Business Administration degree in Sport Management and Marketing. My parents made the long trip to Australia for the occasion – their first journey down under – and so we all enjoyed some well-earned rest and relaxation during their stay.
I commenced my graduate studies in February 2012. Originally the program was to take me three years to complete while I worked full-time and studied part-time, but after my first three semesters I made the decision (with a little nudging from external forces beyond my control) to reverse those commitments to study full-time and work part-time. I was presented with a rare arrangement of circumstances that allowed me to make the choice that was right for me and it’s a decision that I’ve never regretted.
While working full-time I found that I would often be nodding off during my three-hour lectures. Something was fundamentally wrong with the situation: I had made the decision to return to school and I was paying for that privilege out of my own pocket, yet I was continuing to prioritize a job that I had long since stopped viewing as my career. When I made the decision to prioritize my studies – to get from them what I had envisioned when I first enrolled – everything changed. I was more alert in class, had time and energy to study my notes and readings, and was more available for group meetings with my classmates. I made the right decision for me, and the result was even better than I could have imagined it would be.
I’m sharing this story today because it showed me that I am truly the master of my own fate. I didn’t have to be content with “going with the flow” and you don’t have to be, either. Naturally, circumstances may not always be on your side. Bills must be paid, children looked after, responsibilities tended to. But where you can, give yourself the license to actually prioritize your priorities. I promise you’ll be happier for it and you’ll certainly reach new heights along the way.