Yesterday, I stumbled across Steve Harvey's episode of Oprah’s Master Class podcast. Aside from inspiring me to the point of tears at my desk (yes, my desk, and you’ve done it too), he dropped some major life keys. From his story, I learned that in the case of dreams, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
Steve left his job and home life at 27-ish to pursue his dream of being a comedian.
Now, I wouldn’t advise this, and he probably wouldn’t either considering how much it cost him. In that time, he missed out on birthdays, first days and many more things that he can never get back. He didn’t catch a real break until he was almost 40. He endured at least 12 years of thinking “This was stupid," “Should I go back home?” or “My family needs me.” It was a painful route, but it led him to happiness, fulfillment and a prime-time spot on every major TV network.
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Now let’s consider the alternative.
He could’ve stayed at the job he hated, raised his family on an average salary and, by now, probably been preparing to retire and sit at home — all while wondering what if. I imagine he wouldn’t have been the kindest person while he was nursing that broken dream, which would’ve inevitably affected the family. Some may call his decision reckless, but I wonder which road is better? Play it safe but live with regret, or struggle for a while and possibly achieve your greatest dreams?
I believe they both hurt.
Leaving your security for the slight chance of achieving your dream hurts. But burying your dream inside of you forever also really hurts. So, considering that both roads require a sacrifice, why not go down the road that will eventually bring you happiness? And if it doesn’t end in you achieving the dream, at least you have the satisfaction that you tried.
The more I read into the stories of my idols, the more I realize that they all have a “risk-it-all” moment. That means there is no safe way to achieve great success. It is often a rugged journey, and it will cost something. Maybe, hopefully, it doesn’t cost relationships and family time. But whatever it costs, realize that your happiness is worth it.
In one way or another, life will bring us all to a fork in the road. It is left to us to determine if we are brave enough to take the risk, or strong enough to deal with the "what ifs."